Viola Practice Tips | Herriman Viola Lessons

Viola Practice Tips | Herriman Viola Lessons



Learning how to play the viola may seem simple at first. In reality, it takes a lot of dedication to master the instrument and develop a beautiful tone. Today I’m sharing my top practice tips to help make your viola practice more efficient and effective. These tips are great for beginners, but also apply to intermediate and advanced violists.


Make Practice Part of Your Routine

In order to make progress as a musician, consistent practice is key. It’s important to schedule a practice block into your daily schedule. When my students are struggling to practice at home in between lessons, I have a discussion with them about a time of day that works best for them to practice (before school, after school, before dinner, etc.). I then challenge them to implement that time into their daily routine so it becomes a habit. It takes less mental energy to make practice sessions happen when it’s already a daily habit.


Map Out Your Practice Session

Many beginner violists think that practicing means playing one piece from beginning to end 2 or 3 times. However, this is not the most effective way to practice (especially if you’re repeating the same mistakes over and over). To practice more efficiently, I recommend mapping out your practice time. This could include left-hand work (scales, etudes, vibrato, etc.) and right-hand work (bow exercises, tonalization, etc.), in addition to working on your current piece. I also recommend micro-mapping your pieces in order to help you create a more polished piece. For example, start with the hardest sections of the piece and drill those spots several times first before attempting a run-through of the whole piece.


Listen, Listen, Listen

One last tip that I strongly encourage is listening to recordings of professional violists. You will naturally start to mimic the sounds that you listen to, so it’s important that you educate your ears on what quality music sounds like. Additionally, if you listen to professional musicians perform the pieces you are working on often, you will be able to memorize the pieces much more quickly.


Looking for more practice tips? Try my bow hold exercises to strengthen your bow hold here.




I’d love to work with you! Please contact me for more information about music lessons!


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