The viola is often mistaken for the violin, but the instrument is larger than the violin and the strings are lower. Violas are known for their deeper, more rich sound.
» Viola technique is very similar to violin technique: the instrument and bow are held and played in the same way. Often violin students will switch over to viola because they are so similar!
» Viola is a great choice for students who are interested in playing in an orchestra or a group — good viola players are always in demand!
» Often the biggest challenge of learning the viola (especially for violinists) is learning to read music in the alto clef. All viola music is written in the alto clef instead of the treble clef.
» Violas are a good fit for students with long arms. Full-size violas (and viola bows) are so large, they can be more challenging for smaller people to play.
MEET THE TEACHER
Cecilee Robson-Kranzthor's interest with music began with a love of dancing to records of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake when she was a child. She began studying the violin at age 11 and found it gave her the ability to express herself and connect with people in a way she hadn't before. She began her studies with jazz through programs like the Tipitina's and Arts Intensives with the Positive Vibrations Foundation, but later moved to a more classical focus. Cecilee has played with groups like the University of North Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Tulane Orchestra, the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra, and Ensemble 504. Cecilee's unique approach to teaching combines her knowledge of body mapping to avoid physical strain with the concepts of mindfulness and meditation. Though Cecilee is talented at many different styles of playing, Cecilee specializes in classical violin and orchestral music.
Katie Lott started learning violin when she was 8 and was heavily involved in local orchestras, string quartets and summer festivals growing up. In college, she founded the Birmingham-Southern string quartet and played in the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra in Birmingham, AL. She also played strings for a local dream pop band, Parishop and a folk trio, Verdure. She currently plays violin in the New Orleans area for weddings and events in addition to teaching private lessons at NOLA School of Music. She works with students of all ages, from 3 to adult and teaches classical, pop, and fiddle styles of playing.
Younger students will need a smaller size viola, because their arms are shorter. As the student grows, they will upgrade their viola sizes until they reach a full-size viola. We recommend going to Keller Strings and having them size your child for the viola they will need.
WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND I BUY A VIOLA?
Don't worry if you don't have your viola yet! Go ahead and schedule your first lesson — we'll go over the basics with you and let you play your teacher's viola.
If you're anxious to get started, we recommend Keller Strings! They offer a rental program for smaller sizes of violas and offer full-size violas for purchase.
You are also welcome to purchase an inexpensive beginner viola on Amazon. A lower quality viola (as long as it's in good shape) is just fine for a beginner student.
30-minute lessons are our most popular option at NOLA School of Music. They are ideal for beginners and children who don't have enough material (or the attention span) for a longer lesson.
60-minute weekly lessons are great for adults or intermediate/advanced students. An hour lesson gives your teacher plenty of time to focus on technique, sight-reading, improvisation, and other aspects of music without being rushed.
For many students, 45-minute weekly lessons are the perfect sweet spot. Since 45-minute lessons are difficult to schedule, they may only be available during early afternoon hours or late evening.