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BIG VIOLA PROJECT
The BIG Viola Project is the creation of Louise Lansdown, violist, educator, researcher and philanthropist. In September 2023 the project will be launched in five schools and hubs across the UK, with plans to expand exponentially. The project is being supported by the Royal Northern College of Music, Stringers of London and Edinburgh, Bishops Instruments Ltd and the British Viola Society.
Inaugural viola projects with partners will begin in September 2023 at the Yehudi Menuhin School (Cobham), St Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh), Birmingham, Trafford Music and Warwick/Solihull Music Services.
Why a BIG viola project? For as many years as I can remember being a musician there has been a severe shortage of young viola players across the globe. After a great deal of thinking, experience, travel, working in education and gathering knowledge of the viola world I have come up with what I believe will begin to slowly and systematically eradicate this shortage. I am starting in the UK as this is where I live, but, the BIG Viola Project is open to anyone from anywhere who would like to be part of an extended viola family and benefit from specially created and published material for violists age 4-16 years. These materials are still being created and will be available to download and/or purchase books. Please watch this space.
The philosophy behind this project is to eliminate the element of chance that “maybe” aspiring young musicians will miraculously choose to play the viola, or even more unlikely, that it is readily offered and taught at hubs and schools along with the violin, piano, drums, guitar etc. Instead, the TBVP will purposefully and specially offer the viola from age 4 upwards in schools and hubs across the UK, with newly and specially designed publications, annual BIG Viola Project gatherings and specially created mini violas. Another important facet of TBVP is providing teachers with new teaching materials designed for very young violists, providing inspiring, unique viola orientated repertoire that will keep young imagination and minds inspired and enthused. So much of the currently available teaching materials are hand-me-down transcriptions from violin books. The TBVP is going to end this now!
The BIG Viola Project is promoting the teaching of young violists in small groups, with each hub, school or music service creating this structure to work for their individual organisation. As violists progress and move through the stages of learning these groupings and the sizes will of course be adjusted, with the possibility for 1:1 lessons when appropriate. Much more detail will be coming soon.
TBVP is very lucky and grateful to have the support of Stringers of London and Edinburgh who will not only be “renting” the mini-violas, bows and cases to each project, but, also personally coming to fit the violas to each child. Stringers will service the instruments annually and provide bigger instruments as the young violists grow and progress with their studies.