Meet The String Family
Instruments available for Beginner Orchestra students include Violin, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass.
We encourage everyone to give every instrument an equal chance!
This is a big commitment, and we want you to love the instrument that you choose.
The violin is the smallest string instrument and the highest in pitch. It is a very popular choice each year and is one of the most widely used instruments in the world. Violinists typically play melody lines in orchestra music.
Physical Characteristics: The violin, along with all the string instruments, is made out of wood and is hollow inside, which allows sound to vibrate. You play the violin by resting it between your chin and left shoulder. Your left hand presses down notes on the strings, and your right hand moves the bow or pluck the strings. You read music for the violin in treble clef.
Other Considerations: Violinist in orchestra get their own lockers in the orchestra room to keep safe during the day. They bring their instrument to and from school every day. Violins are light and portable.
The viola is the older sister or brother of the violin. It is slightly thicker, with thicker strings, which produce a richer, warmer sound than the violin. The viola is very important to the orchestra because of its beautiful and lush tone.
Physical Characteristics: You play the viola the same way as you do the violin, by resting it between your chin and shoulder. It is shaped like a violin, but has the same strings as a cello. It uses a special clef called the alto clef. Your left hand presses down notes on the strings, and your right hand moves the bow or pluck the strings.
Other Considerations: Violists in orchestra get their own lockers in the orchestra room to keep safe during the day. They bring their instrument to and from school every day. Violas are light and portable.
The cello looks like the violin and viola but is much larger and has thicker strings than either the violin or viola. Of all the string instruments, the cello sounds most like a human voice, and it can make a wide variety of tones, from warm low pitches to bright higher notes. Cellists play both the harmony and melody in the orchestra.
Physical Characteristics: Since the cello is too large to put under your chin, you play it sitting down with the body of the cello between your knees, and the neck on your left shoulder. The body of the cello rests on the ground and is supported by a metal peg. You play the cello in a similar manner to the violin and viola, using your left hand to press down on the
strings, and your right hand to move the bow or pluck the strings. The cello reads the bass clef.
Other Considerations: While the cello is relatively light because it is hollow, cellists in orchestra will have one cello at home and one cello at school. In addition, because it is played between the knees, skirts and dresses must be long enough to avoid unfortunate accidents :D
The double bass is the biggest member of the string family, with the longest strings, which allow it to play very low notes.The double basses are the backbones of the orchestra, and almost always play the harmony . You can play sitting down or standing. Basses are also used frequently in jazz music. it helps if you have long arms and big hands.
Physical Characteristics: Like the cello, the body of the double bass stands on the ground, supported by a metal peg, and the body of the bass rests on the left leg. You produce sound just like on a cello, using the left hand to change pitch and the right to move the bow or pluck the string. Basses read the bass clef.
Other Considerations: Since the bass is hollow, it is not as heavy as it looks, however students will need to have a larger sized vehicle to transport when necessary. Students will have a bass at home and a bass at school. Students who pick the bass tend to like the feel of the powerful vibrations.
Being in ORCHESTRA means being on a TEAM - we practice together, we work hard, and we have fun!
Orchestras are known across the world, originally for playing traditional classical music, but now, orchestras can be seen and heard playing a variety of both historic and modern music.
Fun facts about Orchestras:
The word 'orchestra' comes from a Greek phrase meaning 'dancing place'.
The word 'karaoke' comes from a Japanese phrase meaning 'empty orchestra'.
All the instruments in the Vegetable Orchestra based in Vienna are made from vegetables.