Is Viola More Difficult to Play than Violin?

Viola vs. violin is the age-old battle of the stringed instruments. While the viola sometimes is referred to as a “big violin,” there’s more to their differences than that. Along with the size of the viola, it also has a lower pitch and greater depth of sound than its more famous cousin.

Due to the violin’s popularity, it can commonly be thought that the viola isn’t as important to the orchestra or symphony as whole. In fact, the viola is sometimes mockingly called the “Cinderella” of the orchestra. However, the viola is not a fallback for failed violinists; in fact it’s an extremely important part of any string ensemble and as a solo instrument.  

Learning to play viola is…

As previously stated, there’s a rumor that the viola is for musicians who want to avoid the dedication it takes to play the violin. However, the viola is actually often more difficult to play than the violin. Some of the reasons for this are the viola’s larger size and commensurate heavier weight. Holding up the viola through a lengthy concert can be more tiring than carrying the smaller violin, and the strings on the viola are also further apart, which requires greater flexibility and dexterity than on a more petite instrument. 

Whichever instrument seems harder to play, string instrument lovers and musicians should reject the idea that it has to be viola vs. violin. Of course, there are points to be made on both sides. But in the end, they complement each other, and both are integral to the sound quality of an orchestra or symphony.

Ignore the jokes

But really, if you had to choose, viola vs. violin: which instrument wins? Reviewing the facts, the viola’s unfair reputation as a second-class instrument belies that it is more difficult to play as well as that it can be harder to learn. Not only do violists need to be able to read and play effectively in treble clef, they also have to be able to master alto clef. 

Creating the rich tones of the viola takes more effort and a stronger bow arm than creating the higher pitches of the violin. As with any instrument, dedicated practice makes perfect, so it’s time to start ignoring the jokes about violas and viola players and recognize the skill required to play this challenging and expressive stringed instrument.


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The Cello Buyers Guide 

There comes a time in every musician’s life when they have to decide the type of investment they are willing and able to make in their instrument. If you are a beginner or intermediate cellist who has previously rented a cello, then it might be the right time for you to consider purchasing your next instrument.

Your first time buying a cello is a major event in your musical career, so be sure to take advantage of all the tools available to you before making your final decision. If you take private or group lessons, your teacher should be a good resource for where to find a quality cello in store. If there isn’t a professional luthier or stringed instrument specific store near you, there are plenty of excellent online resources and shops that can supply your needs.

Top tips

There are a few principal aspects to keep in mind as you look for the perfect cello for the next steps in your journey as a musician.

  1. Budget accordingly
  2. Size it up
  3. Make adjustments

Cellos can be expensive; even quality beginner cellos can cost a thousand dollars or more. This is one of the reasons that it is important for the families of burgeoning cellists to be sure that their young musician’s interest in playing doesn’t wane shortly after investing in a costly cello and all its accompanying accessories.

Also, be aware that cellos come in various sizes. Most adult professionals prefer the full size instrument known as a 4/4, but younger players can choose from one of the many other models that best suits their technique.

Finally, be willing to make adjustments as you learn more about your or your young musician’s goals and aims as a performer. Always be willing to try multiple cellos of varying brands, sizes, and prices before settling on the one you purchase. Speaking to a professional as you explore your choices can also help you make the best possible decision and make sure that all your instrumentation needs are met.

In fact, Johnson String Instrument offers a rental program, which makes it easy to find the cello that’s best for you now and upgrade as you advance. Even better is that the longer you rent your instrument the more store credit you accrue, which can be used in the future if you find a cello you want to purchase. And their team hand picks every instrument and professionally sets them up to ensure quality, playability, and sound.

Pick your instrument or outfit

Remember that you should choose your cello with your future goals as a musician in mind. For example, if classic, professional performance is your end goal then your instrument may differ from that of someone who is interested in a more bluegrass or jazz sound. Looking up a cello buyer’s guide with tips about instrument size and price at your local shop or online can be a great place to start.

Nearly as important as choosing your cello are the necessary accessories that go with it, such as bows, strings, instrument rests, and rosin. A dedicated cello shop like Johnson Strong Instrument can provide you all the advice and guidance necessary to choose the cello that takes your playing to the next level.


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Planning Your Career in Music After College

It’s that time of the year when college seniors are looking forward to being handed their diplomas and branching out into their chosen field. For some people, it may be easy to decide what path to follow after college. For others, however, the prospects aren’t as obvious.

If you are going to college to study music, you may find yourself wondering what to do with your music education degree once you graduate. The music industry is notoriously difficult to break into and high profile horror stories from people who managed to make a career in music are enough to scare anyone off. Entering into music education is an option, but art programs in schools can be underfunded and underserviced, so if you don’t have a passion for teaching, it might not be your best option. You could become a performance musician, but how does one find an orchestra to play with, let alone get accepted? If you are feeling nervous about your future in music, don’t be dismayed. We are going to break down some of the potential career options for young musicians. 

Picking your path

When planning a career in music, it’s important to understand your professional goals. What are you looking for in a job other than playing your instrument? Do you want to work with others or alone? What genre are you interested in playing? What audience are you trying to reach? Once you have decided what you are seeking to achieve in your career, you can narrow down your job options.

Performance careers may be one of the most popular paths among aspiring musicians, and while it can be difficult to get started, it’s an incredibly rewarding career path. No matter whether you want to play in an orchestra, a band, or perform as a soloist, having a strong network of fellow professional musicians makes all the difference. You can start building your network now by making connections with your music professors or getting involved with music groups on campus.

Interested in more of a behind the scenes career? There are plenty of jobs in the music industry that don’t involve onstage performing, such as managing, producing, or music journalism positions, to name only a few. Music education is also an excellent option if you still want to play your instrument and inspire the next generation, but don’t want to be onstage. 

Improvising as you go

Regardless of what type of professional musician you want to be, making connections in the music industry is crucial. You never know what relationship will get you into the audition room or recording studio. Even if you’re not keen on performing, personal connections can go a long way. 

Now that you have decided you are going to music college we want to say bravo! Stop by our website and check out the Johnson String catalog today, then check back frequently for our sales including this year’s upcoming 2022 graduation sale.


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