Naperville Viola Lessons
The viola does not get enough credit, and is often used to make orchestra jokes. However, this instrument produces a great tone and plays in the middle to high range, which you will discover as you progress in your lessons. It is physically bigger than the violin, and can reach lower notes. When you first pick up your viola at your lesson, you will play some open bows. But before you can do that, you will need to learn how to hold the bow.
A proper bow hold is relaxed yet firm. Here are the steps to a great bow hold for your first lesson. Hold the viola bow perpendicular to the ground, the tip pointing up, and the hair facing you with your left hand. Drop your right hand to your side and shake it out. Now hold the bow at the frog with your right hand making sure your thumb is bent and that the tip of the pinkie is touching the top of the stick. Now play some open bows on any string you would like, especially the D and A to start. For the first few months of taking lessons, just practice in the upper half of the bow until you are comfortable to move lower.
Something I mentioned about piano lessons that is highly useful for playing stringed instruments including the viola was the idea of isolating your hands before putting them together. To do this you will bow all of the rhythms that you see for whatever you are working on. Or, if you are working on the notes, you can either pizzicato them or tap your notes out without using your bow when you practice for your lessons. When you practice in this way, you will advance quickly and efficiently. Something to keep in mind for future lessons is that you will need to learn to read treble clef in addition to the alto clef that you start out with. Overall, you will enjoy learning and playing the viola.
-Naperville Lessons, August 2010