This viola player has perfectly hacked the biggest problem for all travelling musicians

How do you get that practice done when you can't make a lot of noise? Max Baillie, principal viola of Aurora Orchestra, believes he has found the answer for string players - and it's remarkably simple.

Max Baillie

It's a perennial problem for busy musicians: how do you get the practise you need on tour when you're not near a rehearsal room or sound-proof studio? One of the country's leading violists has created a device to ensure you can learn those difficult passages in silence from the comfort of hotel rooms and trains.

The Aurora Orchestra's Max Baillie designed and built his 'tra-violin' specifically for silent left hand practise on the move. It consists of strings which are strung over a modified fingerboard, allowing silent movement and hours of neighbour-friendly rehearsal. 

Max's creation, built in his own workshop, is intended for fingered exercises only. However, its creator could not resist giving us this bowed demonstration too.




Max's orchestra, London-based Aurora Orchestra, has a reputation for doing things differently. The ensemble plays complete symphonies from memory, and have promoted what they call 'orchestral theatre' in their live concerts, where musicians act, dance and move around the stage as they play.