Studying viola is a rewarding and deeply satisfying pursuit. The slightly larger and lower-pitched sibling to the violin, the viola is alto to the cello’s tenor and the violin’s soprano in the string quartet.
Reading the alto clef is a terrific mental exercise. Playing a fifth below the violin, the viola fills in the connective tissue below the more instantly recognizable melodies. It holds the center of any quartet arrangement, and that “magic middle” is what moves the music in subtle and fluid ways.
The viola’s rich and vibrant tone can carry a very moving and powerful emotional weight. When it does step into the light as a solo instrument – the Agitato movement of Brahms’ String Quartet Op. 67 is one example – the effect is deeply resonant.
As the viola most often plays the inner harmonies in symphonic writing and chamber music, it is a perfect instrument for learning harmony, theory, voice leading, accompaniment, and ensemble dynamics.
Cincinnati Viola Lessons
Here in Cincinnati, the Toedtman School of Music is fortunate to have a marvelous viola teacher on our faculty.
Jim Braid is an alumnus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and he is a member of the faculty at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He is also conductor of the Blue Ash Symphony Orchestra, and he founded the Blue Ash Youth Orchestra in 1991. Every summer, he and his wife lead the Prelude Strings chamber music camp in Dayton, a three-week immersive experience for middle school and high school string players. Jim was also concertmaster of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra for over twenty years, and continues to perform with the Corbett String Quartet.
For Cincinnati music lessons at our Sharonville studio – on drums, piano, bass, double bass, guitar, woodwinds, trumpet, violin, viola, and voice — contact Toedtman School of Music by calling 513.772.7900, or by filling out the contact form below.