Centre Opening Times

Colwell Arts Centre is now open on a strict appointment-only basis. To collect, return or exchange an instrument, please contact us at glosmusic@gloucestershire.gov.uk to make an appointment.


When to start:

Some viola players start on the violin - and then transfer to the viola at about secondary school age. The technique is very similar for both instruments - which makes transferring easy. However, if you want to start on the viola there's no reason not to do so.



We charge £13.70 per term. Instruments are available in several sizes so we recommend that you hire until a full-size instrument is required. Find out more about hiring from us.


From about £100 for a new student outfit (viola, case and bow). Advanced students should be prepared to spend considerably more. Second-hand instruments can be hard to find, and buying second-hand can be a minefield. Old instruments are usually preferable to new, but less so than with violins. Prices can vary between £100 and several thousand pounds depending on quality, so never buy second-hand without seeking your teacher's advice.


Strings will need replacement - cost between £3 - £8. Bows are easily broken - cost about £30



Viola players are in very short supply - you will be in demand. Because viola parts in orchestras are generally easier than the violin parts you will be able to join an orchestra sooner.


Less music written for the viola than for the violin. Otherwise none.

Find out more about the viola  from the BBC’s guide to the orchestra.

Help us improve Gloucestershire music

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.