Qualities of Good Viola Teachers

So you want to learn the viola, and take beginner or advanced courses in the instrument? While many people prefer to learn by themselves either through books or through the internet, it is advisable to find a good teacher who can help you with learning the techniques properly and to guide you through the intricacies of the instrument. When seeking teachers for giving viola lessons, you should keep the following in mind.


Plays the viola

It often happens that violin teachers offer to teach the viola to students. Since a viola is very similar to a violin in many ways, this interchange is often done even by dedicated and sincere teachers. However, as your studies progress, you will realise that the violin and the viola are very different and you will require teachers who are well versed in playing the instrument you want to master. So make sure that the teacher you approach has some experience with the viola.


Teaching methods

Each teacher will follow a different curriculum and you might want to choose one who is more flexible and understanding of your needs. Some teachers will stick to the core curriculum required for a grading examination, while others would be willing to explore new pieces with you at your request, especially if you are ready for it. Choose a teacher who will help you fulfil your own musical goals rather than one who cannot think out of the box.


Provide inspiration

A good teacher should be able to provide inspiration to their students. Choose a teacher who can work with you according to your capabilities and help you achieve your full potential. For this, you need a teacher who is actually interested in their students and their goals and actively helps them to seek out new opportunities. With a good teacher, you can feel more confident about going out in front of the world and show off your viola abilities.


Ability to critique

Without timely criticism of your mistakes, you will never make a good viola player. However, many teachers do not know how to give constructive criticism. Some will be curt and unsympathetic, others can be impatient. Some might even let you get away with minor mistakes as they don’t want to push you to do better. A good teacher knows how to offer criticism without offending you or killing your enthusiasm. Viola teachers who can help you correct your mistakes and to guide you in a pleasant and disciplined manner is worth their weight in gold.



A music teacher is not ready to teach a specific instrument until they have had experience in different areas of music. The more your teacher knows, the more you will imbibe from them. So seek out a teacher who plays at least a couple of other instruments besides the viola, has some singing experience and has knowledge of both modern and classical music. A teacher whose musical education is well-rounded and vast will definitely bring more to the table.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. You can make all kinds of tactical and smart decisions in choosing a teacher but if there is no chemistry, the relationship will not work. Seek out viola tutorials from a teacher whom you like and who is able to fulfil most of the criteria important to you.