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Selecting an Instrument

We have four possible instruments to choose from: (In order of highest to lowest sounding) Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Start here, by listening to all of the orchestra instruments being played together. Each instrument has a unique sound and feel.

As you watch, start thinking about what sounds you like the best (higher/lower). All of the string instruments can be played by any gender and any size person. 


The violin is the smallest string instrument and the highest sounding.  It is played sitting on the shoulder. The violin oftentimes plays the melody, but can also play harmony parts. Violin is one of the most popular instruments in the world, which can make it very competitive, but there are also more violins in the orchestra than any other instrument. 


Like the violin, the viola is played on the shoulder, but has a more mellow tone and is a little deeper in pitch. Viola is a great alternative for someone looking for the feel of a violin,  but the sound of a cello. There are fewer violists in the orchestra, which means there are more opportunities and less competition. Sometimes, the viola has the melody, but it mostly provides the rich harmonies, creating more depth to the music. 


The cello is a larger instrument that is played sitting down and held between the knee. It has the ability to play low and high, which makes it incredibly versatile. It has a soulful, mellow sound that sounds most like the human voice. The cello is a very popular instrument as well. 


The bass, sometimes called the "double bass," is the foundation of the orchestra, and almost always plays the bass line. It is the largest and deepest-sounding instrument. You can play sitting down or standing. Bass can be found in many different genres of music (classical, jazz, pop) and is an incredibly important part of the orchestra. Basses are also used frequently in jazz music. it helps if you have long arms and big hands.

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