The String Family

Violin - Viola - Cello - Double Bass



Personality: Do you like being part of a group, enjoy contributing to group projects at school, and love to be a team player? The violin could be a wonderful choice for you!

About the instrument: The violin is the smallest of the string family and it makes the highest sounds. A full-sized violin is around 2 feet long, with a slightly longer bow. Our younger violin students often play on 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 size when beginning. The violin is played by resting it between your chin and left shoulder. Your left hand holds the neck of the violin and presses down on the strings to change the pitch, while your right hand moves the bow or plucks the strings.

Best age to start: 4 and up



Personality: If you like the idea of contributing to a group or are interested in classical music, the viola could be the instrument for you! Violists enjoy playing the melody as well as providing harmonies. When you're in the middle (the viola is the middle child of the string family), playing in an orchestra, as the music swirls around you, is a thrilling experience.

About the instrument: The viola is slightly bigger than a violin, at just over 2 feet long, and has thicker strings, which produce a warmer sound than the violin. You play the viola the same way as the violin, by resting it between your chin and shoulder. Your left-hand holds the neck of the viola and presses down on the strings to change the pitch, while your right-hand moves the bow or plucks the strings. You can begin lessons on the viola, or if you currently play the violin and are interested in switching or adding the viola, contact us today. We’re here to help guide you on your musical journey.

Best age to start: 6 and up



Personality: If you are emotive and bright, you may want to play a musical instrument that really allows you to express yourself, such as the cello. Cellist are versatile players and take on many roles in an orchestra or ensemble.

About the instrument: The cello looks like the violin and viola but is much larger (over 4 feet long!), and has thicker strings than either the violin or viola. Of all the string instruments, the cello sounds a lot like a human voice, and it can make a wide variety of tones, from warm, low notes to bright, higher notes. Try as you might, the cello is much too large to put under your chin, so you must 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. If you have hardwood floors at home, you should invest in an endpin stopper. (The rubber stopper saves your cello from sliding and your floors from being dented!) 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.

Best age to start: 7 and up


Double Bass


Personality: Do you love to express yourself and stand out from the crowd? Are you determined and eager to try new things? If so, the double bass could be a great choice for you! Double bassists get to play the lowest notes in the whole orchestra and are essential to the overall sound of an ensemble.

About the instrument: This is the giant of the string family. At over 6 feet long, the double bass is the biggest member of the string family, with the longest strings, which allow it to play very low notes. Basses are so big that you have to stand up or sit on a very tall stool to play them, and it helps if you have long arms and big hands. Like the cello, the body of the double bass stands on the ground, supported by a metal peg, and the neck rests on your left shoulder. You produce sound just like a cello, using the left hand to change pitch and the right to move the bow or pluck the string. The bass will not fit into a normal sedan, so we hope you have a vehicle to transport the instrument to concerts and recitals!

Best age to start: 10 and up

We recommend visiting our friends at Johnson String Instrument for all string instrument rental questions and sizing.


String Faculty