Viola Learning Methods

The best way to learn the Viola

The ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Viola’ range was created to offer the best possible start with your newly purchased musical instrument. This article helps you figure out the best learning methods for you and your viola.

Viola Learning Methods

Most important types of Learning Methods for Viola

Humans learn in different ways. Some have photographic memories; some can speed read, while some can’t read at all. We are all unique, and for this reason, there isn’t one ‘correct’ technique of learning a musical instrument.

We have four very clear strategies for learning. They are:

  • Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one learning
  • Traditional, face-to-face, group lessons
  • Video Tutorials
  • Apps 
Whatever your very own circumstance, one of these four choices are going to be well suited for you.  We only need to discover which one…
Viola Learning Methods

Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one courses

If you think of viola lessons, the initial image is most likely something similar to this…

Getting personal, one-to-one lessons can be an incredible experience if you discover the right teacher. There really is no substitution for taking in all the knowledge of your teacher.

Our Founder, Robert Emery, was taught by Ruth Nye at the Royal College of Music. She really was one of the best professors on the planet, and the point that Robert could soak up her expertise in 4 years ended up being a precious gift.

There is a problem though:

Not every instructor has got the knowledge of Ruth Nye.

In fact, the frightening factor is the fact that to be a music instructor, you actually don’t require any accreditation in any way. Not a thing. Zip. As a complete newbie, you could be taking money from individuals and pass yourself off as a professional. And this, beloved viewer, could be the biggest downside to a conventional coach:

Quality control.

You will need to choose a really experienced teacher who you connect with. Who recognizes both you and your needs. Who makes you giggle. Whom you enjoy going to see every week. If you can find this person, you will have then achieved something the majority of people fail at. Becoming empowered by your coach is the magical dust that can keep you learning for years.

Of all the possibilities in this article, this is the most expensive.  But as usual with things in life, you tend to get what you pay for…

Viola Learning Methods

PROS

CONS

Conventional, face-to-face, Class classes

Viola Learning Methods

Dependant upon your geographical area, you might be able to discover group sessions.  The ethos is similar to one-to-one lessons, though the pricing is much lower because the teacher will have to divide their time between all of the students.

For orchestral musical instruments, for instance, violas, class lessons are quite a smart idea, to begin with.  Nearly all professional viola player, of course, find themselves as one of several violas inside an orchestra. 

PROS

CONS

Video Tutorials

Free Courses

Youtube Ted's List

YouTube is the most significant source of video clips on the globe. There is absolutely no better place than YouTube to find instructional information for viola. Due to the sheer volume of choices on the platform, it’s not possible to review them all.

Like a lot of things in daily life, 95% of the content material you’ll come across is rather terrible, with the other 5% being absolutely fantastic. The trick is to discover the 5%, and that can be easier said than done.

We can give you a head-start though.  We quite like String Life and Brittany Bergman.

One word of warning: If you want to learn classical viola, we would strongly recommend having real-life human teaching you, in the same room!  The reason? Classical viola is far more complicated than playing pop songs.  However, if you’re pop-tastic, then YouTube is a great option.

In case you don’t want to spend any money, and therefore are happy to spend enough time while seeking for high-quality content that drives you, then there is no superior place.

Paid Courses

Paid Video

With numerous paid courses online, it’s totally impossible to analyze all of them. Therefore we thought we would simply supply you with the widely used option:

 

Udemy Piano

Udemy has one viola specific course and lots of violin courses, so make sure you don’t purchase a violin course by mistake!

The viola course seems good; it has 2.5 hours of lessons, covers the absolute basics and (at the time of writing) costs just £13.99.

In the course, you’ll find out how to set up your viola, learn some pieces and scales along the way and get a solid foundation for your technique.

PROS

CONS

watch now
Music Tutorials
Amazing Viola Tutorials FOR YOU

Viola Apps

Viola Learning Methods

All of us learn best if the teaching is customized to our own particular requirements.  Apps undoubtedly are a hybrid between conventional training videos and a real-world coach.  They fine-tune their educating in relation to your reaction on the app.  For this reason, if you aren’t able to have face to face classes, we would always recommend specialized apps over generic YouTube video tutorials.  There are many, many apps to choose from.  Those we highly recommend are:

Viola Learning Methods

LEARN VIOLA BY MUSIC LIFEBOAT

This is an app featuring 25 lessons with Michael Larco, a violist with the L.A. Philharmonic. It ranges from beginner lessons to more advanced techniques  and is free to download, with in-app purchases normally less than $3. We think this is a good bet for beginners in particular, with plenty of content for free.

Viola Learning Methods

TADADAA INSTRUMENT GAMES

This is an app designed for beginners who want to learn how to play songs on the viola. You’ll need to know how to hold the viola before you start, but the app has a built-in tuner to keep you in tune and gives you feedback after each exercise.

The app is free to download and features different levels, from open strings and basic rhythms to scales and classical favourites. We like this app because you can vary the speed and difficulty of what you need to play, so it is useful for those wanting to progress quickly and start playing basic pieces as soon as possible.

Viola Learning Methods

PLAYALONG VIOLA

This is a good app aimed mainly at those wanting to play songs as soon as possible. Again, you’ll need a basic understanding of how to hold the viola but the app is free to download (although some extra features can be purchased in-app). 

The app features over 250 pieces and scales and you can modify speeds to vary the difficulty. Feedback is given based on how many notes you played correctly and you can send recordings of your playing to friends and family.

Whilst this is a good app, it’s best for those wanting to play pop songs and not those wanting to become professional classical violists.

PROS

CONS

Bonus Courses...

Itzhak Perlman Teaches Violin

Masterclass is a great bet for anyone wanting to get some input from violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. Yes, we know he’s not a viola player but his course is based around general technical and performances issues, which are of course relevant to the viola.

At £14.17 per month, it’s a good price and you have access to 19 lessons. The topics covered include Intonation, Vibrato, Comfort and Posture, devising a Three Hour Practice Schedule and a lesson on A Career in Music, plus many more.

Of course, these lessons won’t necessarily make you an instant viola playing genius, but they will give you many new ideas for your playing – and who better to teach you than one of the greatest violinists of all time?

Viola Learning Methods - Summary

Let’s keep things easy…

If you want to play popular viola (pop/rock etc) music, then the best ratio to being cost-effective, but higher quality content is an App.  

If you want to play classical music, have a fantastic technique, and learn to read music, then getting a face-to-face, the one-to-one teacher is by far the best option.

Hopefully, that helps you make up your mind about which method of learning is going to be best for you.  Now you’ll need to do some research over which exact option to go for. 

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