Instrument Size Guide

Violas are available in a range of sizes to suit children of different ages and height. Listed below are the recommended sizes of viola for various age groups and heights. These are rough estimates and based on typical sizes for heights for ages. If you have any doubts in sizing please speak with your child’s tutor.

12″ Viola Ages 6-7

13″ Viola Ages 7-9

14″ Viola Ages 9-12

15″ Viola Ages 10-12

16″ Viola Ages 12+

We hope you enjoy your newly hired instrument. Please take the time to read this document in order to keep the instrument in its best condition.

Caring for your instrument

After Each Use

We recommend that you wipe down the strings of your violin/viola after each use to extend their life. Sweat from playing causes strings to corrode and rust which eventually results in a dull tone. Any excess rosin should be wiped from the body of the instrument. The bow should be loosened after use in order to keep it in good condition. Always put your violin/viola back in its case after playing to avoid accidental damage.

Periodic Maintenance

Violin strings inevitably break and need replacing. Some shops will sell individual strings however many will only sell full sets. Please ensure you buy the correct length strings for your size violin/viola. Your tutor should be able to show you how to replace strings, however many tutorials can also be found online. Some shops will also offer a restringing service for a small fee. If you find that the pegs are slipping or difficult to adjust then a peg compound such as Hiderpaste can be used.

Never use commercial cleaning products or polishes to clean your violin/viola as they can damage the finish. A damp cloth is all that is needed.


The hirer is responsible for any loss or damage to the instrument and as a result we recommend taking out insurance. You may be able to insure the instrument under your household policy, alternatively there are many companies specialising in musical instrument insurance.

Damage and Repairs

In the unfortunate event that your instrument is damaged, Essex Music Services should be consulted to seek approval and advice before any repairs are undertaken. The hirer is responsible for any costs incurred to repair the instrument through a result of misuse, accident or neglect. We may either ask to receive the instrument back whilst it is repaired, or alternatively we may be able to recommend a repairer for you to take the instrument to.

Returning your Instrument

Instruments may be returned either by leaving with your school’s reception, or returning in person to us at county hall.

If returning through your school, please notify us once the instrument has been left with reception. If returning in person to county hall, please call or email us to arrange a time beforehand.

Please ensure the instrument is clean including any stickers that have been added to the fingerboard/neck and that all accessories that came with the instrument are present to avoid any charges. If any accessories are missing we encourage you to purchase these yourself before returning the instrument.

Included accessories provided with Violins/Violas along with their respective costs are:-

Rosin £2.00

Bow £15

Lessons and Ensembles

EMS Provide quality music tuition and ensembles to schools and colleges throughout Essex, covering all major orchestral and band instruments and musical styles. Playing or singing together with other people (ensemble) is one of the most exciting and enjoyable musical experiences. We provide a whole range of opportunities for young people of all ages and abilities, covering almost all instruments and voice. Many of our groups offer students the chance to tour in the UK and abroad!

If you’ve never played or sung in a group before, one of our workshops would be a great way to get started. In collaboration with our partners, we offer regular workshops in singing , jazz , strings, wind, brass, guitar, percussion and rock.

If you’re a bit more experienced you could join one of our groups that meet regularly, either monthly or in the school holidays.

Monthly Groups

Essex Youth Jazz Orchestras

Essex Youth String Orchestras

Essex Youth Brass Ensemble

Essex Youth Percussion School

Holiday Groups – For most experienced players

Essex Youth Orchestra

Essex Youth Chamber Orchestra

Essex Young People’s Orchestra

Essex Youth Symphonic Wind Orchestra.