If they are, then the value of a piano that is well maintained ought to exceed that of one that, with all its flaws, is a piece of junk. And so on.
In addition to the usual “faults,” I am struck by the fact that, for the most part, violins are designed and built in a way that makes them easy to “fix.” The body is rigidly attached, and is reinforced with wood or plastic; the sides, to give “support,” are strengthened from the inside, and also from the outside (on the right side, in the case of the Violin, or the left, in the case of the Viola); and all this is made relatively cheaply and easily. In fact, a high quality viola is very seldom made as if it were a fragile instrument—in fact, very seldom made at all in the first place. Many violins can be made in such a way as to enable the player the skill set necessary to play them well, a skill not taught anywhere else in the art—at least nothing like the skill needed to play the viola; but there’s very little in the way of training required. A virtuoso, a fine violist in his own right can get on in the world by studying a few simple techniques, the most important among the few being patience. And in fact the skill set required to play the best viola is quite different from the skill set required to play the better viola, one of the most difficult instruments in the world to play even in the best hands. If you are playing a classical type of violin, or a modern concert violin or concert trombone, you are likely to be playing an instrument which is in need of some very sophisticated training—a violin not the most difficult instrument for someone to learn to play, but certainly not the easiest.
As a rule, even the most skilled musicians learn less from a good lesson that they have never seen or heard from someone who has spent a lot of time playing the instruments they learn from. To the most skilled violinists a lesson with a trained professional, a good teacher, is the same, in its most important respect, as a teacher of any other kind. The lesson needs to be about how to play the best violin, how to use the most effective techniques—not as a means to a particular end, but as a means to the end itself.
In that way the viola is just as much the master of the techniques of performance
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