Violas come in all different shapes, makes, models, and sizes. They are typically classified into four levels: beginner, intermediate, performer, and top-line.
Did you know that orchestra teachers can often tell which students will drop out of orchestra by looking at the quality and condition of the instruments that they're using? Why is that?
It's because an instrument that is difficult to play or won't perform properly is a huge discouragement to beginning musicians. Like anyone learning a new skill, a beginner can find it challenging to make the first sounds. The instrument used during the first few months of study is critical in determining the success or failure of a young musician.
Beginners are learning the basics of making the notes, so beginner violas typically don't have the features to produce a high-quality tone. They're designed for early use and gratification for the student. A beginner doesn't need the most expensive viola, but he or she does need a viola that plays easily and responds to the less-refined movements of a beginner.
Qualities of a beginner string instrument
- Lower strings (When the strings are too high, the player has to press down hard on the strings to get the right note.)
- Easy to tune and stays in tune longer (The tuning pegs fit properly and don't slip)
- Strings that respond freely when played
- Suitable bow hair in good condition
By the end of the first year of musical study, a student is already outgrowing their beginner instrument both physically and musically. A musician's instrument should grow with them. This means it's time to step up to a more advanced, higher-quality instrument that will complement their developing music skills.
Advantages of step-up instruments
- A larger and fuller sound
- Clearer, more pleasant tone
- Quicker response time
- More powerful resonation
- Better dynamic expression and control
You may be wondering, "How advanced of an instrument is needed at this stage of musical study?" Here's a breakdown of the different step-up levels to help you decide:
Intermediate violas are for advancing violas. Flamed, seasoned maple wood gives them a bigger, fuller sound with an open and clean tone. Careful setup of the bridge, soundpost, and strings allows them to resonate more freely. Higher-quality bows speed up response time for the player. Intermediate violas are popular with junior high and high school orchestra students.
Performer violas are often made by hand. Constructed of choice maple woods, these instruments produce a rich, pleasing tone. Our string associates give individual attention to each instrument, to ensure evenness of tone throughout its entire range. Performer violas are designed for serious music students in both high school and collegiate music programs.
Master violas combine all of the manufacturer's best materials, features, and expertise to create the ultimate violas. These fine instruments are primarily used by professional musicians, graduate-level music students, college professors, and symphony players.
Ready to step up to a more advanced instrument?
Check out Amro Music's string specialty shop, Bluff City Strings, to learn more and browse our hand-selected inventory.
If you have more questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or request a consultation with an Amro instrument specialist at this form or by phone at (901) 323-8888.