From Amateur to Professional: Tips for Violists

While becoming a violist seems fancy as you get to play on stage either as a soloist or in an orchestra, it takes a lot of courage, passion, and patience to become a professional violist. 

It’ll not happen over time, it might even take years – from starting to learn to play the instrument up to confidently come up on stage without sweating yourself out on the next arrangement you should be playing. Even expert violists still tend to worry about every performance but they are able to handle the fear and focus on giving the best that they can.

Here are some steps that can help in turning yourself from an amateur violist to a professional one:

1. Look for a good teacher – You may either look online for the best viola tutors and check for testimonies and price range or ask someone who may know teachers or schools that can provide the appropriate lessons that you’ll find comfortable to do.

If you find that taking classes with other students makes it a bit hard to keep up with the lessons, it’s ideal to have a private teacher wherein customized learning will be applied so that you’ll be able to learn easily. If you spend at least a couple of years in private tutoring, you may acquire solid violist skills that’ll get you auditions and eventually performances in front of the public.

2. Manage to perform on a small crowd first – Practice until you get to the point wherein you can get an audition for a community orchestra. While it is good to practice in front of the mirror, you have to step outside your comfort zone. Ask your family members to watch you practice. Join school events and perform on recitals. Through this, you can slowly practice yourself in performing in front of a smaller crowd, know the do’s and don’ts for a successful performance, and eventually have the courage to take up a larger stage.

3. Read orchestral etiquette – When you are used to playing solo, it will be tougher for you to play in an orchestra. Knowing and understanding orchestral etiquette will help you manage your performance with other musicians. This will get you prepared even of the unexpected situations that might happen on stage and will be able to play along with other instrumentalists with the right synchronization. Also, it’ll be nice to take advice from the professionals who’ve been in the industry for more than a decade or so.

4. Focus on your goal – If you want to become a professional violist, you have to focus on your goal. There will be times when you’ll be too lazy to practice or moments where you’ll lose in the music competition you joined at school. And then there are moments wherein you’ll feel like you got it right, but turned out as a disaster.

In times when giving up on pursuing this career seems like the best choice, shake off the negative vibes, focus on your goal and use this as your motivation to get better at your craft until you get to the place where you always wanted to be.

Needless to say, to become a professional violist should be something that your heart and body would be dedicated in doing. It’s not just some instrument that you pick up and learn in just a split second.