Happy Fourth of July weekend! Hope you all are enjoying time with your families or on grand adventures like I currently am. This week will kick off our bi-weekly summary of what is happening around the world and Internet regarding the beloved viola. We will keep you up-to-date on all things viola, from specific performances to viola mishaps or the latest viola joke.

An Imperfect Instrument by Jennifer Stumm

We first want to call attention to this wonderful TEDx talk about the viola. While slightly dated, Jennifer Stumm does a marvelous job describing the often underrated viola while performing various excerpts from famous viola pieces such as Brahms Op. 91 “Gestiltte Sehnsucht.” She even performs part of Romance Oubliee, a piece we love. You can watch the full video below:

Trying to Beat the Odds on Instagram – ThatViolaKid

Next up we have Drew Alexander Forde, aka ThatViolaKid, a Julliard graduate, who is trying to make the viola Instagram famous. He’s off to a great start with over 35,000 followers who are interested in his videos such as “How To Get Into Juilliard“, “How to Fake it in Orchestra“, and “I Suck at Viola.” Forde is testing the waters of the gig economy, trying to make it big on Youtube and Instagram so that he can pay back his $75,000 student debt. Best of luck Drew!

How to Play the Viola with Ease Using the Karen Tuttle Method

The late Karen Tuttle was beloved by her students because of how she transformed their playing. Using a technique she dubbed “Coordination,” students learned how to keep the body relaxed and mobile despite the potential for strain when playing what many consider to be a large and unwieldy instrument. Although many students had trouble grasping the concept initially, many, including Kim Kashkashian, learned how “to be in a relaxed and elastic state, emotionally and physically, in order to feel what you are doing.”

Some of Tuttle’s teaching included techniques such as:

  • Plant your feet so knees can spring
  • Loose neck, cuddle the instrument
  • Shoulders down
  • Heavy, loose upper right arm
  • Elbow level with wrist
  • Lead up-bow with elbow, to let back swing open
  • Loose, flexible wrist
  • General jazzy feeling in the body
  • Feel finger action from base joint
  • Loose belly

For more on Tuttle’s Coordination technique, check out the Violinist.com article.