The soprano of its family, the violin is often compared to the human voice. Famous for its ability to convey emotion, the sound of a violin is deeply influenced by individual approach, technique, and interpretation. All of the orchestral string courses include note reading, ear-training, theory, technique, and ensemble playing.  A year of piano instruction is recommended (but not required) before undertaking an un-fretted instrument, as stringed instruments require a rudimentary understanding of pitch for daily tuning and successful finger placement.