Is the Viola just a ‘big violin?’

Often the viola is described as a ‘big violin’, but the instrument possesses a much richer and darker tone and can even be more expressive than the violin. Being the second stringed family member, the viola is much larger in size and it is perhaps recommended that small children begin with the violin first before learning the viola.

Although there are some technical similarities between the Viola and the Violin, you’ll find that they are quite different instruments. There are differences in the strings, the notation of clef, as well as their overall role within ensembles and orchestras.

Why Learn the Viola?

The viola itself has a beautifully unique sound, being the second member of the strings family. It has a darker and richer tone than the violin, but not as heavy and deep as a cello or double bass.

Although repertoire for the viola may not be as broad as the violin, the viola an essential part to any ensemble or orchestra and are in high demand in any of these settings. As the Viola’s role is situated in the middle area within sound and harmony, it truly fills an integral space.

We encourage our viola students to see how vital their role is. Many of our students are given opportunities to play in a collaborative setting, whether at school or in the community.

Do I need a Viola to start Viola Lessons?

As the sizings for Viola differs greatly to the Violin, it is recommended to have a Viola first before starting lessons at the Cantabile School of Music. However, if this is not possible or you are unsure where to get one, we can assess whether playing the Viola is right for you in one of our Trial Lessons.

You can experience the feel and sound of the viola, and whether you decide it is an instrument you wish to learn. We will provide you with any information you need in order to get started


We currently offer Viola Lessons only at our Mount Waverley campus.

Book a Viola Lesson