In a Fark thread about a teacher hitting a viola student, Thuper Ranger described rather accurately what the audition process for most orchestras is when you’re a violist.
Thuper Ranger: May I be in your orchestra?
Conductor: Well, we have a long application procedure with 3 rehearsal trials. It usually takes about 2 weeks. What do you play?
Thuper Ranger: The viola.
Conductor: We meet every Tuesday. Here’s your music. Welcome to the team.
Having played the viola for a few years, I can confidently say he hit the nail on the head. In fact, violists are often so rare that bad violinists will be forced to play the instrument in order to fill the ranks, as a punishment by conductors. Also, bad violinists tend to run away to the viola section in order to escape being made obsolete.
I know I haven’t asked this before, but if there are any violists reading this I’d like to hear from you. How did you get started on the viola? What are some interesting observations you’ve made? Also, if you have any corny musical jokes (let’s face it: they all are), go ahead and share them here.