Playing with others

When you play on your own (either in a lesson or at home), unless you’re playing a piece that has been written for solo instrument (Bach solo suites for example), you will only be experiencing  one strand of the whole texture of the piece. Mostly a melody line without the counter melody, harmony or bass. So it’s only when you play with other people that you experience the music as a whole. This is why I believe it is so important to start playing with other people at a fairly early stage of learning the instrument. 

I create a number of different opportunities for this to happen, and you can find out more on this website:

Why viola?

The violin and viola are the two upper voices of the string family. Traditionally, the violin has been a popular choice – perhaps  because in an orchestra they’re most often the ones playing the melody. 

The viola is slightly bigger than the violin, and has a mellower and darker tone. In ensembles it very often provides the harmony, similar to the alto or tenor line in a choir. Maybe it’s for this sense of being in the middle of the harmony and texture that many of the great composers played viola, including Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak and more.

If you are considering playing the viola, (or switching to viola from violin) it’s a good idea to try out a few different instruments, as violas vary in size more than violins do.

Choosing an instrument

If you don’t already own an instrument, I can give advice on where to look for one. It’s possible to rent an instrument if you want to do that initially. 

Caswells Strings is a reliable local instrument shop: