Commonly referred to simply as a larger violin, the viola basically is just that. It looks much like a violin and played the same, but larger in size making deeper tones. The larger size can make it more difficult for some beginners over the violin. Players tend to choose the viola over the violin because the prefer the deeper slightly lower register of the viola over the violin. The viola is commonly used in orchestras or string quartets in conjunction with other string instruments to provide the voicing required of the music or composer.
Due to their similarities, much of the same concepts taught by our instructors on violin carry over to the viola such as good posture and recognition of pitches.