Parent's Guide to children
playing the Viola
AGE GROUP BOYS AND GIRLS 7- ADULT
is a wonderful,
rich sounding member of the string instruments family. It is a
wonderful instrument for a child to learn at an early age. It is
deeper than the Violin but higher than the Cello.
What age should my child
Viola lessons begin at 7 years old depending on the interest and
attention span of the child. Your child must be able to
attentively sit still for thirty minutes for their lesson. Younger
students should begin with the Violin and then switch. The viola
is a bigger and heavier than the violin and it requires more physical
effort to get the sound out and stop the strings with the left hand.
What will my child learn?
The lessons will teach your child the proper position for holding the
instrument and bow, bowing techniques, finger placement, and music reading.
The study of the viola develops pitch recognition and rhythmic skills.
It will also foster creativity and musical expression.
for music can be done at anytime, as long as space is available, and
your session will be prorated. Registration can be done in person,
by phone, by mail or fax. In addition, some organizations will
allow you to register on line. Normally these programs are
very popular and space can be limited so don't delay registration or you
may miss out!
These programs are normally
16 -20 weeks long.
practice is necessary?
As with anything,
improving in music takes practice. One of the major problems with
children and music is the drudgery of practicing. There is no set
time, however your child must spend quality time each
day reviewing what they were taught. Viola practice must be concentrated and focused. Set the same
time every day to practice so that it becomes part of a routine or
habit. For young children 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity and
they spend more time watching the clock then practicing.
Instead of setting a time frame, use repetition as your gauge. For
example have your child play each piece 3 - 5 times per day.
The child does not pay attention to the amount of time they are
practicing but knows that they are on the third time and almost
finished. Ideally, your child should have a place to
practice without distractions and it should not disrupt the household.
If the home is small then you should consider the instrument chosen. A very
large instrument or a noisy instrument could be very disruptive and you
may not have the room for it.
Depending on the
instrument and the skill level of the child lessons will run either 30,
45 or 60 minutes per week. Lessons are scheduled on an individual basis.
Your registration reserves you a time slot for the duration of your
instruction period. It is imperative that you arrive promptly for
your lesson. They will normally give you only one make-up lesson
per session and any other that the child misses will be a forfeiture of
Formal and informal
recitals are an important part of the music program. They will offer
your child the opportunity to perform, listen and learn proper recital
etiquette. These recitals are not mandatory but it is to your
child's advantage for them to participate.
The cost of music lessons has four components:
- cost of the
- cost of
- competition or
The cost for lessons
would depend on whether your child is taking private or group lessons,
the length of the class and the qualifications of the instructor.
Music sessions will run
for 16 -20 weeks. As a general indication, most instruments
will be $25 - $40 for a 30 minute lesson, $35 -$50 for a 45
minute lesson and $50 - $60 for a 60 minute lesson. Some
organizations offer family discounts and group rates. Many
students enjoy taking lessons with their family or friends.
The cost of the
instrument would depend on whether you rent or purchase the instrument.
If you rent the instrument it is usually done on a three month trial
basis that will automatically turn into a year contract if the
instrument is not returned. You can pay the cost all once at the
beginning or they will automatically bill your credit card on a monthly
basis. Instrument cost information can be found in the Equipment
If you choose to
purchase the instrument you have the option of purchasing a new or used
instrument. A used instrument will be substantially cheaper and
many times are like new.
Initially, the materials
required will be a method book that will cost approximately $ 8- 10.
Some music stores will include the book with the rental of the
instrument. In addition, some musical accessories could be recommended
depending on the instructor.
recitals are a wonderful way for your child to show their abilities to
the world and it is extremely exciting for them. However, many
recitals and competitions often have entry fees. You will need to
discuss with child's instructor their philosophy on this subject.
best option is to rent a viola from
your local music store. If you rent the instrument it is
usually done on a three month trial basis that will automatically turn
into a year contract if the instrument is not returned. Renting,
at first, is a good idea to make sure your child is committed to the
instrument and it will minimize your initial investment.
dedicated students should purchase a viola at some point in their
development. Many music stores will give you credit for a certain amount
of money in the rental and will apply it to the purchase of either that
instrument or a better one. It is important to deal with a violin
ship as opposed to a store that sells other musical instruments.
Bowed stringed instruments need people with specialized training and
focus who can do proper set-ups. A intermediate or advance
instrument will cost between 1250.00 and 5000.00. Depending on
your financial situation you may start with what you can afford and then
look for the best sounding instrument in that range at the next level.
The next level is merely a playable, good sounding instrument that makes
practicing easier and will increase your child's progress.
In addition, you will
need to purchase a music stand and a violin shoulder rest.
Realize that the
instrument that your child begins with may not necessarily be the one
that they stay with forever. They are however, learning the
basics of music theory and harmony that can be easily converted to
You will know when your
child is ready to enter competition when he/she feels extremely
confident and is willing to play in front of people. This is the best
sign that your child is ready to go out and be judged for their
Rewards work very well
for children. Be sure to grant an occasional simple reward to help
encourage practice. Stickers are a great way to show approval.
Praise also tends to be a great reward; there is no substitution for a
pat on the back for a job well done.
Instruments are very
delicate and should always be protected from heat, cold and quick
changes in temperature.
It is important to
properly maintain your instrument at all times.
The violas played by
using the right hand to draw the bow at a right angle across one of the
strings, at the bridge, causing the string to vibrate. Pitch is
controlled by selecting the string the bow contacts and pressing it down
with one of the fingers on the left hand. The player must achieve
the correct finger position from skill alone, there are no physical aid
like frets to guide them.
The viola is primarily a
classical music instrument.
||Two or more
different pitches sounding at the same time
EVERY GOOD BOY DOES
||A rule to
remember the lines of a staff by using the first letter of each
for two players.
||A rule to
remember, from bottom to top, the spaces on a musical staff.
colloquial name for the violin.
||Time set aside
for your child to review what the teacher has taught them during
their normal lessons.
written for one player, often with a piano accompaniment.
||The five lines
and four spaces used for writing music
||The letters A
through G. These are used to name the notes on the staff
in a LINE - SPACE - LINE - SPACE order.
||A person who
makes or repairs stringed instruments.
instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings.
musical instrument with four strings.
||A person who
plays the viola