INSTRUMENT SELECTION GUIDE

Violin:

The violin is the smallest and highest-pitched member of the string family.  It is held under the chin and rests on the player's left shoulder.  It can be played standing or sitting.  The violin often carries the melody of the ensemble as its brilliant sound carries easily over many other instruments.  There are usually two sections of violins that play different parts.

Other Important Considerations:

  • Fingernails must be kept short so the fleshy part of the fingertips are able to press down accurately on the fingerboard.

  • Violinists will need a shoulder rest which prevents the violin from slipping off the shoulder and adds comfort.

Cello:

The cello is the tenor voice of the string orchestra and plays notes that are an octave (8 notes) lower than the viola.  Due to its size, the cellist sits in a chair and rests the cello between their knees with an end pin that rests on the floor to help support the instrument's weight.  The cello can play the part of a supportive, reliable bass instrument at one moment, and rise to reproduce the notes of a lovely tenor voice at other times.  Because of this wide range, the cello is considered one of the most expressive musical instruments.

Other Important Considerations:

  • Fingernails must be kept short so the fleshy part of the fingertips are able to press down accurately on the fingerboard.

  • While the instrument is lighter than it looks, students will have to consider the size for transportation to and from school.

  • Cellists will need a rock stop, which prevents the end pin from slipping on the floor.

Viola:

A little larger than the violin but played in the same manner, the viola is the next lower member of the string family.  The viola duplicates the violin's three lower strings, but its fourth string is tuned another fifth lower than the lowest violin string.  It has a warmer tone quality than the violin and often plays harmony to support the violin's melody.

Other Important Considerations:

  • Fingernails must be kept short so the fleshy part of the fingertips are able to press down accurately on the fingerboard.

  • Violists will need a shoulder rest which prevents the viola from slipping off the shoulder and adds comfort.

Bass:

The double bass (or just 'bass') is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument.  Because of its size (taller than the performer), the bassist stands or sits on a tall stool to play the instrument - which rests on the floor.

Other Important Considerations:

  • Fingernails must be kept short so the fleshy part of the fingertips are able to press down accurately on the fingerboard.

  • Students can use school-owned basses.

  • Choosing bass would be great for those who want to play electric bass or participate in jazz band.

  • Bassists will need a rock stop, which prevents the end pin from slipping on the floor.

ACQUIRING AN INSTRUMENT

There are many ways to get an instrument.  It is HIGHLY recommended that families avoid the temptation to purchase the newest CHEAP instruments found online and at various retailers.  These instruments may look great, but are often cheaply made and are very costly to repair.  


Repairs to instruments played by beginner students tend to be a matter of "when," not a matter of "if."

We recommend the local music stores listed below for instrument rental or purchase.  Most smaller, local music stores carry a full line of high-quality instruments, many have repair shops in-house, and students can usually trade instruments at little or no additional cost.  Repairs are generally covered in the rental agreement.

While you can certainly acquire an instrument in other ways, it is important to remember that one of the biggest factors in whether a student will have success in orchestra is the quality of the instrument they are playing.

Fawley Music Company

https://www.fawleymusic.com/rentals/

1804 Earl L. Core Rd.

Morgantown, WV 26505

(304) 292-3351

West Virginia Music Center

1195 Pineview Dr.

Morgantown, WV 26505

(304) 241-5309