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How often do people quit lessons?


quarter_note
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I had the most curious conversation with someone the other day - I

mentioned something about my violin lessons, the other person

said, "I'm surprised you haven't quit yet."  I was taken

aback by this comment.  Although I don't talk about my

lessons very often, I'm very positive about them.  I asked

what prompted the comment.  I was told that most adults would

quit after a couple of years because of other responsibilities and

demands on time.

Just wondering - Does anyone know if there's any truth to this

statement?  Do most adult students really bail within the

first few years?  And if so, do they really quit more

frequently than younger students?  Seems to me that I have

more friends who "quit" instruments than who "play" instruments.

 (Since I'm relatively young, these people would all have quit

when they were children.)

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quote:


Originally posted by:
kathyk

I would guess fewer adults quit than kids, especially if kids have the choice & not parentally enforced lessons.

Absolutely true!

People tend to forget this when proclaiming that learning violin is not for adults. In spite of this parental pressure, while I don't have numbers to support, I'd bet the 'failure rate' is higher for kids compared with adults.

Some may argue that pressure is not necessary, often detrimental, but I'm not sure how many kids, especially with today's distractions would choose violin over electric guitar, more likely, an xbox over both!

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quote:


Originally posted by:
quarter_note

I had the most curious conversation with someone the other day - I

mentioned something about my violin lessons, the other person

said, "I'm surprised you haven't quit yet."

..............


This is a comment from a person (?) who doesn't understand dedication to a high art form. Such small minded people should not influence you. IMHO this person is not worth knowing. Such people will only hold you back from aspiring to greater concepts.

I hope this was not your mother.

Sorry to sound so smug, but people like this held me back when I was a kid.

@#$% them!

Mike in NJ

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I could see this going both ways, actually. My first inclination would be to say that adults will stick it out because they have chosen to take lessons, chosen to practice, they paid for their instruments with their hard earned money and pay for their own lessons.

The flip side of course is the occasional case where an adult gets into learning the violin, finds it does in fact require a goodly bit of time that they may not have anticipated. Depending on their age and circumstance, things like having children can get in the way, divorce can get in the way any number of "adult" situations can drain one's time away, forcing one to quit.

I think the difference between your adult "drop-out" and your child drop-out is that with adults it's external factors. With kids, it's lack of interest, desire or preference for other activities (video games, sports, etc).

I've stuck it out for almost 12 years now, starting at age 39. There have been plenty of distractions, but never enough to get me to quit. Having rosin dust up your nose is a hard habit to break.

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Fortunately, it was not my dear mom who made that comment .

 I've played another instrument for about 20 years so she

knows I've got some staying power .

People make strange comments all the time though.  I've been

asked (more than once) to skip my lesson or cancel on absurdly

short notice for no good reason.  I wonder why they don't

consider how rude it is to my teacher?  I've also had people

mock music that I've been listening to.  Whether or not these

people are "worth" knowing, I do know them and have to deal with

them.  They often get the message if I calmly say, "That's

disrespectful".

But anyway, one of my friends who quit as a kid/teen did so for the

oddest reason:  He finished the RCM Grade 10 exam.  The

attitude was, "I finished all the levels so now I'm done."

 This one is almost incomprehensible to me.  Didn't you

do all the levels so you would be free to play whatever you

pleased???

Ah well, it's our differences that make this an interesting world.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
rufviol

quote:


Originally posted by:
kathyk

I would guess fewer adults quit than kids, especially if kids have the choice & not parentally enforced lessons.

Absolutely true!

People tend to forget this when proclaiming that learning violin is not for adults. In spite of this parental pressure, while I don't have numbers to support, I'd bet the 'failure rate' is higher for kids compared with adults.

Some may argue that pressure is not necessary, often detrimental, but I'm not sure how many kids, especially with today's distractions would choose violin over electric guitar, more likely, an xbox over both!

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I often practice with a balcony door or window open. A neighbor aware of my practicing decided to ask me to volunteer my time for some event, because it was obvious that I had so much "free time". The fact that the practicing was worthwhile work that I was doing toward a goal did not occur. If a child were practicing an instrument, nobody would think to call the child away from it because it would be seen as serious business. I would think the comment came from the same kind of attitude. It's good to see that adult musical endeavours are taken more seriously these days.

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Hi Quarte-note,

I think there are more adult violin learners quit than you think after a short period

of time. Violin learning is quite a demanding hobby. Without serious commitment

from learner's part it is hard to maintain for long. I quited more than two times.

I re-started every time. Unforntately the breaks were long.

The reason as anyone can expect is that adults would find little time to practice. Most of us

have to take care of other business ( family, job etc.) in day time.

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Something to keep in mind: sometimes kids quit because they're supposed to. Young people SHOULD be trying different things before settling on the one that "speaks" to them; they aren't equipped to imagine what it's "going to be like" before they actually do it. I had one kid quit violin to switch to saxophone - she liked the "breath" feeling of the bow better than anything else, and wanted to try a wind instrument instead. She didn't know that about herself until she got somewhat accomplished (and it didn't bother me a bit.)

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I agree with the last statement - But what's wrong with doing that

when you're an adult?  (Assuming you keep up with your other

life obligations, obviously.)  I don't really see how I'm

equipped to know what different musical instruments, forms of

dance, etc.  will be like unless I try it either.

 Perhaps I am not approaching the situation with a mature

attitude - When I was little, I had very limited opportunities to

try new things.  Suddenly the opportunities are there and

maybe I'm jumping on them with childlike enthusiasm.  Try

things out while you can, you know?

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I for one have become obscessed with the violin and as a very senior adult, working eight to ten hours a day, I set a goal of three hours practice /day to learn to play this instrument, knowing I'll not live long enough to master it....I don't always acheive my goal, but I give it a shot. There are times however when I think of quitting, but I think of the time and monies spent, and I'm not willing to walk from it. I have a great teacher, concert master, and he has had several adults start and quit usually because the commitment is too overwhelming. The piano has been my instrument for over 65 years and I can usually play whatever I set out to learn, the Chopin Ballade G minor right now, but I most often op to practice my violin with a goal of the Massenet, Thais, and later a concerto in mind. Question, are my expectations too high at 73 years young? Maybe so, but I would like to hear if there are others with similiar goals. I think the responses about kids trying other instruments is great....they might find another instrument that would carry them into adulthood like I did with the piano until I took on the violin. Any replys?

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Hi,

I think your goal is just fine. Especially you have such a good background of piano.

"Bravo"

PS. Masenet's Thais about second years of adult lesson (my estimate)

Beethovan 's Spring sonata, Zigeunerweisen, about 3rd year.

Bach's partita, about 10 years. (if you Work hard )

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Is making music like making chocolate or like eating it?

Someone who wants to run a successful candy shop had better learn

to cook it.

But would you say to someone " If you're not going to eat chocolate

every day, you can't eat it at all" ?

Some of my students have a goal - a set of skills they want to

acquire. Some just love the process, the feeling of doing something

new.

Quarter note:  

But what's wrong with (trying out different things) when you're an

adult? I don't really see how I'm equipped to know what different

musical instruments, forms of dance, etc.  will be like unless

I try it either.  

ddsrody 1:

I for one have become obsessed with the violin as a very senior

adult...I set a goal of three hours practice /day to learn to play

this instrument, knowing I'll not live long enough to master

it....with a goal of the Massenet, Thais Question, are my

expectations too high at 73 years young?

I think we're all right. I keep learning new forms of dance

- first contradance, then swing, ballet, modern, now tango. I like

to have something going in my life that I'm BAD at, I need to be

periodically reminded what it's like to be a beginner. Some day

when my knees give out, I'll learn to draw. When my hands get too

gnarled to hold a brush I'll learn French.

I have students like Quarternote; I know they'll probably quit

after a year or two and just mess around on their own, but for the

time being we're both enjoying the process.

On the other hand, ddsrody's attitude works too, and I have adult

students of his type as well. I enjoy/respect/value them, but I

don't see them as more or less valid than the other type.

If a goal inspires you, then it's a good goal. If it makes you feel

despairing and fatalistic, maybe it's not. And if you're just along

for the ride, well, why not? We're grownups - we're allowed to

choose our own commitment levels.

I know I'm going to get in trouble for this, but I think it's ok to

have (adult) students that choose their own levels of commitment;

some teachers take only the "serious" ones; others are willing to

work with students that sometimes practice, sometimes don't - or,

more often, can't.

I'm more the second kind; it means that I don't get to put on huge

impressive studio recitals very often, but the interactions I have

are precious to me - it's a lovely thing to hand someone their

weekly "bite of chocolate" and watch them savor it as a break from

work/child care/ parent care, all the daily demands. If they didn't

practice at all because their kids were sick, then we work on

improvisation or explore new theory concepts. Who am I to judge

what free time they're able to find, or what priorities they set?

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Ugh, I've given the wrong impression.  My writing skills must

need some serious help.

I don't have any intention of quitting any time soon.  I've

taken lessons for a few years now and I love them.  I work

hard for my own enjoyment and to please my teacher.  Music has

been one of my few constants, my sanity's anchor really, during

some rather confusing and transitional years.  That's why I

was puzzled when someone expressed surprise that I hadn't quit.

Regarding trying new things - I didn't really mean dabbling in

different things with the intention of keeping some and quitting

others.  When kids sign up for a few lessons, everyone seems

fine.  Yet when I as an adult do that, people seem to think

there's something strange about it.  The attitude seems to be,

"It's normal for kids to take these classes, but why would an adult

do it?  It's too late for you to be any good.  So why

try?"

I have to say, it stings to be classified as a person who will

"probably quit after a year or two and just mess around on their

own" after spending hours and hours dedicated to practice.

...Maybe I should take a writing course next.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
quarter_note

Ugh, I've given the wrong impression.  My writing skills must

need some serious help.

'''

...Maybe I should take a writing course next.

You write quite well. The problem is that there are so many negative people. My parents referred to them as "assassins" because these people try to kill initiative and enthusiasm.

Hang in there and take the writing course only because you want to have fun

Mike in NJ

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Your writing skills are just fine; I was answering your question in a global sort of way, sorry if I seemed to make assumptions about you. I got the same "why would anyone want to" questions when I started ballet at thirty. But it's only fair, there's lots of things that other people do that I just don't get at all....(I'd drive a NASCAR vehicle long before I'd watch one go round and round...)

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Ddsrody1;

I want to thank you-- I am 51 and had a music teacher comment that for most adults it is too late to learn the violin. She softened it a little by then commenting that few adults really have the time (I agree), but it was very discouraging to hear that "it's too late" for me, when I would really like to become at least accomplished enough to make my own handmade instruments sound nice. (When "real" violinists play them they sound great-- not when I play them.)

I see from your example that I will simply have to be patient and realize I will not advance very rapidly, as, truly, my time is not my own, and I can't practice long hours as I used to do on the guitar.

Thanks.

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I started learning to play the fiddle at 31 and that was...ohhhh...some years ago.

Fortunately, I learned in an environment where people did not have the attitude that at that age (and older) it was too late. The learning environment was one of inclusion so that learners were encouraged to play/try and join in with those more able and this social aspect is, I think, very helpful as it does encourage those who are starting out in the learning journey.

A friend who is the same age as me, recently took up playing the cello and her cello teacher has never said to her that it is pointless picking it up at that age.

Ofcourse he would say that as it's more income for him BUT from her recounted conversations I know that if she were not progressing (and she is because it is audibly noticable) he would gently let her away from the fortnightly lessons.

For sure, adults might have other priorities and will probably never attain the technical skills of Nicola Benedette (for example) but that should not be a barrier to learning and doing what you can for one's own pleasure.

Personally, learning to play the fiddle has been for me, a life changing event.

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