The violin and the viola

A closer look at the violin and the viola. Similar to the cello and contrabass, the violin is an ingeniously carved hollow wooden body on which strings are strung. Sounds are made by drawing a horsehair bow across the strings with the wooden sound box amplifying the sound and making it audible. Fortunately for the amateur, a good bow is not an expensive attribute.

Both the violin and the viola must suit the musician. The physical attributes of the violinist, especially the armlength and hand measurements, are the deciding factors when choosing a suitable violin. There are various small violins fit for children, indicated by sizes ¼, ½, ¾ and ⅞. This way the violin grows together with the young musician, as it were, until he or she is ready for a regular sized violin. Incidentally, there are also adults for whom a ⅞ violin is the most pleasant sized violin to play.

Choosing the correct bow is also a personal matter. The bow must fit the player and be comfortable to hold. Length, weight and balance are all factors to be accounted for.

What else is needed? A shoulder rest for the violin itself. It is placed under the violin and bridges the space between neck/shoulder and chin to allow for a comfortable and stable posture. One must not forget the strings, obviously. The bow needs to be treated with a block of resin every now and then to ensure a good grip on the strings. Violin and bow are stored in a violin case when transported, which will protect the instrument against impact. And finally, a music stand to hold the sheet music while playing.

Buy or rent?

There could still be an old, unused violin somewhere in the family which you can use. Great, the choice to buy or rent no longer has to be made immediately. The one condition, though, is that the violin has to have the right dimensions for those who want to play it. The violin must suit the player.

The choice to buy or rent is not only related to financial aspects. The age of the student plays a role as well. If a child has to move on to an increasingly larger violin within a small period of time, renting is the obvious choice. In addition, some students might prefer a few lessons before committing to a violin of their own. Violin School Müller has a number of suitable violins for both categories which can be rented to bridge that period until a student is ready and committed to purchase their own violin.

The violin maker (or luthier)

The best person to offer advice when purchasing of a violin is the violin maker. A slightly misleading name because the luthier not only builds violins, but also repairs or restores them. Anyone who wants to take violin lessons can rent or buy a suitable (both literally and figuratively) violin from the luthier. It might be possible to trade in a different instrument when purchasing a violin. You can also contact the luthier for maintenance of the violin or the bow, as well as getting supplies such as strings and resin. For those who still have a violin in the attic: the luthier also does appraisals. Usually it’s not a real Stradivarius, especially if the

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