Students (ages 3 and up) have individual viola lessons, attend regular group lessons and have the opportunity to play in Suzuki Music’s solo concerts, holiday workshops and festivals both locally and internationally.
When leading performers are asked why they chose to play the viola the answer usually begins “because of the wonderful sound!” The viola has a rich and mellow tone, likened to dark chocolate or toffee. It can play melodies, or blend together the disparate sounds of other instruments into a cohesive whole.
There are currently 9 books in the Suzuki Viola school, beginning with folk songs and a variety of well-loved classical dances and concertos which progress to even richer and more characteristic mature viola repertoire.
Violin students are able to change to the viola, and viola students to the violin, since the playing technique shares a lot of similarities and the repertoire in Volumes 1-3 is almost identical. From Book 4 upwards it is not a difficulty to adjust to the different repertoire, in fact many musicians play both instruments.
Following Dr Suzuki’s method, with its aural approach, your child will develop a reliable tone quality and sense of rhythm, the ability to always play in tune, and will increase their powers of concentration. Young viola players will discover they are warmly welcomed into youth orchestras, school orchestras and ensembles. The Suzuki teacher delays music reading until the student’s basic technique is established, and then reading is well taught. Just as the child learned to utter simple sentences before they began to learn to read their mother-tongue, they will be able to play simple tunes before music reading is introduced.
Violas come in a range of fractional sizes suitable for children of any size. At the smallest end of the range sometimes a fractional-sized violin is re-strung to function as a viola. Please follow your teacher’s advice regarding buying an instrument, it is recommended you do not buy a viola until you have been directed by your teacher. Because Suzuki method is an aural approach which focuses on producing excellent tone from the earliest stages it is essential to have a good quality instrument. The beginner’s instrument needs to be the right size for the child, with a good sound. The bow is also very important and needs to be well-balanced. It is not necessarily true that a more expensive viola will mean a better sounding viola. Your teacher can guide you in your search.
Suzuki Viola Teachers have undertaken specialised training, and also engage in ongoing Professional Development and Teacher Training throughout the year specific to children, music and Suzuki Method.