Since my previous post on February 11th, I have continued to practice on my 14″ viola and now understand my resistance to this smaller instrument. Since my hand position and spacing between fingers on the fingerboard is within the range that I use when playing violin, my left-hand keeps feeding the information to my brain that this is a violin — in spite of the alto clef in front of my eyes! I feel a personal resistance to considering this instrument to be a viola at all — it’s just a violin “disguised” as a viola!
From this, I’m learning that there are a variety of factors that separate violin and viola playing. Since I initially started on a larger viola — probably a 16″ model owned by my high school — and later used 16-1/2″ instruments in adult life, my body and mind quickly associated the size difference as a separate instrument. It actually helped me keep the two instruments separate in my mind all these years. This realization is actually acting as a motivator for me to continue working through physical therapy and healing exercises.
Has anyone else experienced something like this? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.