I often get asked why I chose the viola and the answer is very simple: my elementary school strings teacher played the Star Wars theme on the viola when I was in fourth grade. Even the Jaws theme on the cello was not enough to win me over. No glamorous analysis or testing needed. I went home that night and told my parents I wanted to play the viola. They searched in the classifieds and found one at the local music shop selling for $80. And thus began my viola career. I didn’t reflect on my choice until many years later and have realized the viola was definitely the perfect instrument for me.
Why did you pick the viola? Comment below to let us know!
Why I’m Glad I Chose the Viola
The viola’s size is perfect for me for two reasons. Firstly, my 16″ viola fits my arm length and finger size comfortably. I also have a violin, but I often find that it feels too small. I constantly have to move my fingers on the fingerboard to accurately hit notes. I’m glad that the viola was able to grow with me during puberty instead of topping out at 14″ like a violin. Secondly, my viola is not too large to lug around to rehearsals in my car and fit perfectly in the high school bus seats. I am definitely glad I didn’t pick the bass!
Despite sounding like nails on a chalkboard the first few years of playing viola, my sound finally matured and now I thoroughly enjoy the sound of my viola. With the addition of my Josh Henry bow, my viola has an excellent mellow sound that I miss sometimes when I start playing the violin too often.
To be honest, one of the best parts about playing viola is the limited competition in orchestras. Most orchestras are pining for viola players making the auditions relatively low key. There are so many violinists in the world that competition is fierce and many do not get into top tier orchestras. The relative anonymity of violas gives them a unique advantage in auditions.
Why Did You Choose Viola?
Now that you know my story, tell us about yours! Use the comments section below to let us know why you chose viola 🙂