Transitioning to Viola 4/23

Steven Z -

At this point in the college decision process, while my plans are still unclear, I realized that I will most likely study viola full-time and hopefully pursue a career on the viola. Ironically, I still can’t properly read sheet music written in alto clef (the viola clef), and I stand no chance if I needed to sightread anything on the viola. It doesn’t help that I play violin all the time for my senior project. I decided I needed to take baby steps to start getting more comfortable with the alto clef.

Yesterday I was playing in a corner near the cafe at Banner Baywood. I started with playing some nice violin stuff. About an hour in, I took a break and I wanted to find some things I could play on the viola for that occasion. To my surprise, I easily found the viola version of the Suzuki method online. I was already familiar with these pieces because they’re mostly the same as in the violin version, some even preserved all the same fingerings. I started reading some of these pieces, and the cafe waitress immediately noticed something, “Is that a different violin?” She evidently didn’t know what a viola was, but that’s alright, she said she really liked the sound of this instrument, “not that the other one wasn’t good.”

Later in the day, I was performing for an intimate audience at Inspira Gateway. I pushed myself to play the entire program on viola. I suddenly had an impulse to pull out the first movement of the Walton concerto, which I haven’t practiced for nearly two months. After finishing a sketchy first movement, I decided to play through the second movement, and then the third. Although it wasn’t great, I was proud that it was the first time I ever performed an entire concerto in one go.

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