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NeoScherzo

Thinking of Starting the Violin

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Hello, I am a 17 year old High School senior with 6 years of French

Horn under my belt.

However since I was small I was always infatuated with the sound of

the violin, sadly my schools music program added a stringed section

AFTER I was already 2 Years into my first instrument, which I have

not played in 3 years. I was recently browsing YouTube, and I

decided to look up "Violin" just for kicks, and some of the videos

I found left me awestruck, and rekindled within me a desire to make

music.

When I first thought about the Idea of learning Violin I

immediately shot myself down, telling myself I was probably too

old. But after finding this site and seeing that there have been

many others, older then me, who started playing, I feel

emboldened.

So, I ask you, Should I follow through with this, how would I

begin? I grasp the basic concept of finding lessons and renting an

instrument or buying a starter, but I would feel a little bit more

comfortable with some words of wisdom from those with

experience.

Thanks  -NeoScherzo

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Well, if you're real lucky, there'll be a fiddle dealer there nearby you that rents decent student grade fiddles and has the facility for lessons with teachers available that can get you going. That's the best opportunity, I think.

If you're like me, you'll end up buying a mid-grade Chinese fiddle off eBay or somewhere and trying to learn on your own, mimmicking your favorite players and reading all you can on the internet about learning how to play. Once you get good enough to carry a tune, you can start going to jams and begin paling around with other fiddle players picking up a tip here and there. 'Course, this only really holds true for folk music - bluegrass and such. For classical grade, you probably won't get too far without a teacher.

A few years back, starting out was much different than it is today. Today you've got all these marvelous resources at your fingertips here on the internet. I can't tell you how many times I've been fiddling away at something and come across a question of some sort and was able to just set the fiddle down and in seconds I'm consulting world experts about my problem. Before the internet, any question I couldn't answer on my own meant a trip to the library or the music store, maybe find the answer, maybe not.

Best of luck! You're only 17. I didn't pick up my first fiddle until I was 48! I can't believe it would even be possible for an ex-guitarist like me with arthritis and no real classical music training to even attempt playing a violin but I'm doin' it and I'm still getting better every day!

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Neo,

You're the kind of student I'd love to have. Yes, you can do it. You want to make music, after all. It's probably too late to get to the point where you could make a living at it (this is what most people mean when they say it's "too late to start"), but it is most certainly not too late to get very, very good indeed, and to enjoy yourself immensely. One summer when I was at Interlochen, long long ago, another girl there had started at the age of 14 and was playing in the upper division orchestra and doing very well, thank you. [Edit: she was maybe 18 at the time.] She worked hard because for her there was a lot of joy in the "work." It didn't feel like work. Even at 17, if you work at it, there's no reason that you can't become a string teacher yourself, if you want. Which is one way to make a living at it.

First of all, I think you should find a teacher. Teachers (good ones) can help you get a solid foundation from the start, and see things you're doing that you won't know about, no matter how many videos you watch and how many instruction books you read, which will get in your way and have to be corrected later.

Maybe you are lucky and the person running your school's string program is a good teacher. Watch him or her play, and you might be able to tell a lot. Go see this person after school, tell about your interest; I would be surprised if Teacher's eyes don't light up! This teacher might be willing to give you a couple of free trial lessons, to see if you like the experience. (I would.) Then you might be able to get lessons from this teacher, or maybe a referral to a good teacher in your area.

Good luck! I hope you will let us know how you're doing.

Joan

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Welcome to the wonderful world of late beginners. I started playing almost 10 years ago at 40 with my 6 year old son!

There are some things that may be more difficult to feel comfortable with because of my age, but there have been just as many things which I learned more quickly because of my experience.

The truly important thing is that we are both still playing and still enjoying it (sometimes even together).

My son also plays French horn (although he started that instrument at 11). You will find there are many things which will help your violin playing. The ability you need to have - to "hear" the note you are about to play (on the French horn) in your head - is also necessary to playing the violin.

Your reading as a French horn player is probably above and beyond what most violinists need - no more transposing!

My advise to you is to find a teacher who will focus on the absolute the basics of playing a stringed instrument. (Even if you feel like you are being held back) Once you get those down you will fly since you have the horn background.

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I started playing at 13 but didn't get any worthwhile lessons until age 18. At that point I had to unlearn everything and start fresh. Teacher didn't let me play any melodies for 6 months, just exercises. After 1 1/2 years I moved away and had no more formal lessons, so, no I don't earn my living from music. But until recently I was a member of the musicians union, played in a professional orchestra as well as several other orchestras, and did as much as 25 wedding gigs per summer, on both violin and viola. Recently I have been picking away at the piano which I never learned before, and find the ability to read music and keep time and phrase music goes a long way in learning any new instrument. Step one, find a good teacher (word of mouth) and that person will get you started with recommendations for instrument, music, etc. Good luck.

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Welcome aboard.

Here's how I did it; A two step process:

1.) go rent a good beginner instrument

2.) get the names of good teachers where you rent the violin and line one up for lessons.

Wishing You The Best,

Ken

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I started the violin 1 and a half year ago at the age of 21. I really enjoy what i am doing! no-one is "too old" to start something he/she really likes.

You will be able to play lots of pieces of music very soon. As an exemple, for my "first violin anniversary" i was able to play the violin concerto in A minor by Vivaldi. So just find a violin where you can, find a good teacher (very important!!!) and the most important thing practice, practice and practice

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Hehe, I can already See I chose the right place to come to with this. Thanks everyone for all the great and valuable advice.

I plan on speaking to the Music teacher that conducts the string section tomorrow, and from there well see what happens. Ill definitely keep you all updated on my progress Many thanks once again.

-NeoScherzo

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I have always loved the violin and wanted to play one. But with two jobs, the family, and other activities, up until now, never had the time.

I started taking lessons a little over a year ago, at the ripe old age of 77. I have a very good teacher, and I practice about two hours a day.

She says that I am doing fine. My goal is to live long enough to be able to play in the higher positions. I wonder if there is anyone else on this

Forum that just started playing, that is older than I am?

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HEY SCRATCHYBOW, Not quite as young as you are but dang near!!!! Seventy-four and started about five years ago...first with a very good student/performer then with a concertmaster for the last four plus years. Have played the piano for sixty plus years but fell in love with the violin and enjoy it very much. I too, try to get a couple hours in a day and have made progress....I would have loved to have started at seventeen but university/dental school took most of my time......then came along three kids, now seven grandkids and I'm havin fun!!! Anyways, I'm happy to hear that someone my age still enjoys the challenge!!!!! We're both havin fun! Dr. R.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
NeoScherzo

Hello, I am a 17 year old High School senior with 6 years of French

Horn under my belt.

However since I was small I was always infatuated with the sound of

the violin, sadly my schools music program added a stringed section

AFTER I was already 2 Years into my first instrument, which I have

not played in 3 years. I was recently browsing YouTube, and I

decided to look up "Violin" just for kicks, and some of the videos

I found left me awestruck, and rekindled within me a desire to make

music.

When I first thought about the Idea of learning Violin I

immediately shot myself down, telling myself I was probably too

old. But after finding this site and seeing that there have been

many others, older then me, who started playing, I feel

emboldened.

So, I ask you, Should I follow through with this, how would I

begin? I grasp the basic concept of finding lessons and renting an

instrument or buying a starter, but I would feel a little bit more

comfortable with some words of wisdom from those with

experience.

Thanks -NeoScherzo

Hi I started at 16 and I'm turning 19 in november Just let to you know that you have some companion

I don't dream of becoming a professional and make money but all I strive for is to able to play like a pro(maybe a little bit less)

If you have any particular question please PM me since I've been onto your boat once upon a time...

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Hokay, heres the situation so far:

The string teacher is apparently bogged down with preparing her students for the NYSMA tournament, (Musical Competition) and cant spare any time to maybe give me a starter lesson.

Whats more, she gave me a list of numbers for private teachers in the immediate area; but she warned me that these teachers as well are most likely booked up with preparing musicians for NYSMA. She told me that the best time to try and start would be June. =(

Im anxious to start playing =/

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Ill try to give the teachers on the list she gave me a ring, maybe one of them will be available.

Thanks again everyone for all the support/advice, will keep you posted.

-NeoScherzo

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"Ill try to give the teachers on the list she gave me a ring, maybe one of them will be available."

That's what you have to do. You will find the right one. Make lots of calls and get one you like.

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Regarding choice of teacher: choose one that comes highly recommended for their results. There are not too many. Then don't accept a no. Teachers like persistence. When I called up my prospective teacher she told me emphatically that she didn't take "adult" students who had basically learned on their own and she was too busy to audition me. The only way was to enter a music festival where her students were competing, because she would be there. Well all her students beat me up pretty badly and I was slinking out of the hall with my instrument case tucked under the arm when she grabbed hold of me and said "you.... start Monday at 7PM. Bring a notebook!" That was 40 years ago. Her name was Hilda Kirton. Anyone in the GMT area remember her? 1 1/2 years later I had the proper groundwork and would remember her words decades later. There are no limitations to what you can accomplish starting at your age so long as the teacher is good and you are dedicated. The violin is one of the hardest instruments to master and is a lifelong learning exercise, but it keeps the brain young trying.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
NeoScherzo

Ill try to give the teachers on the list she gave me a ring, maybe one of them will be available.


Get some of that word-of-mouth input and start calling the top recommendations!! Some music teachers don't like to "play favorites," or don't feel, politically, that they can, so they won't tell you if someone who's put themselves on the list really shouldn't be there. Personally, I have no compunction about it. I positively refuse to recommend any student work with a teacher who doesn't teach the very best technique. But as a private teacher, I have that liberty. You've got to check with other students. And if none of the top, say, three, has openings soon, then book yourself with one of them as soon as they're open. If you have to work with someone further down the list in the meantime, be sure you tell them how long you'll be needing lessons; if they don't like it, say you're sorry and move on. It's SO worth it to get an excellent teacher!

I've taken students who are only going to be around for a few months, because they're moving on to other places, generally distant colleges. I just do my best to get them ready for the situation they'll be entering; it's understood from the beginning that I'm not going to be a long-term teacher for these students.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes...

J

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Wow, 4strings I wish I could have you as my teacher. My situation

falls exactly into what you described, Ill be moving away to

Michigan State University come August, I just hope my chosen

teacher doesn't deny me simply because of that.  

As for an update, I was able to get a good deal on a Student

Instrument on Ebay. It should be here come next week (beats

renting). In the meantime ill try to get some word-or-mouth

recommendations for teachers from the other string-players at my

school.

-NeoScherzo 

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quote, " I am a 17 year old High School senior with 6 years of

French Horn under my belt."

Neo, you're way ahead of the game.  You'll be switching from

the hardest instrument to play in the world, to the second hardest.

 Should be a walk in the park!

FWIW,  I started violin about a year ago  (played cello

when younger, but not much translated) and I'm already able to

record on clients' records. Nothing fancy, but solid tone,

intonation & vibrato.  Just stay patient and work

diligently on your fundamentals.  As others have said, the

informaton availble on the internet, DVD's, etc these days  is

outstanding.

I'd also highly recommend getting Fischer's books "Basics"

 and "Practise,"  though a teacher is also a must, at

least for a while.

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It also depends on the kind of music you want to play.

I'm probably going to get into trouble with the classisists here, but trad fiddle music is easier to play because it's more about the music than the playing, if you see what I mean. Playing "store-bought" music for listening seems to be largely a demonstration of technique. Whereas home-made music is about the music itself. And, very often, dancing. Everyone has their own way of playing within the idiom of the tradition, and the composer is quite often unknown or, most often, not even a single individual. It's not written down so there is no "composer's intent" to worry about. You just play it, and the more you care about it (the music) the more love you'll put into it and, as long as you don't completely outrun your technical skills, the better it will sound.

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Hi Neo,

Knowing what I know now, (at age 71) if I were you run to a violin shop buy a good outfit

start to play (a) Brahm's Hunagarin dance #1 and (:) Beethoven's sonatas. Sound a crazy

suggestion but it is true feeling.

You are walking into a gold mine (classical music).

Why wait? I cannot think of any reason.

Of course no one can play this without learning them at first. How much more it take?

I started at 28, now 71. Every time I play my violin, it brings me joy, pure joy. Never fail

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Get a decent violin, even if it's a rental.  A crappy

instrument will never sound good, and you will be constantly

frustrated by your efforts.  

If you're having trouble finding a "top" teacher, there are many

highly competent younger teachers that are effectively "graduate

assistants" who can get you going strong on your basics.  They

are likely advanced students themselves, but teach primary students

on the side.

At 19 years of age I first fell in love with Cape Breton fiddle.

 I wished fervently that I could make music like that...it

always made me smile.  But, I had a hundred excuses why I

couldn't possibly take up fiddle.  Some decent, like a busy

life and education....some lame, and I filled my remaining time

with the garbage that so many of us do.

Nearly a decade later I was in a pub, watching a furious

fiddler tear through set after set, with hardly room to catch her

breath.  Again, the smile that I couldn't fight...and again

the toe tapping happiness.  I thought to myself "I wish I

could do that".  At that moment, perspective hit me like a

physical blow to my chest.  The realization that the first

time I had that wistful thought was so long ago stopped all thought

and motion dead right there.  And I thought to myself; "in ten

more years do I want to have this thought again?"

I've done a lot in those intervening ten years mind you...but I've

wasted a lot of time too.  And at the end of my life the odds

that I'll look back and think "man...I wish I had watched more TV!"

are slim to none.  I vowed that once I returned from Iraq I

would start playing.  (I'm a fighter pilot.)

I was true to my word, and I've been playing for a bit over a year

now.  Allan may be making some better progress since he has

the vibrato down (still working on that) but I've busked a couple

of times with my teacher for fun, and I've played a set in a pub.

 In addition, I'll be playing my sister's wedding this

year.

Go for it, and don't look back.  You won't regret it.

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That's great~! And you have got all the best reasons. I started violin because my ex-lover dumped me for a violinist. :-) Not that I want that person back, but it's just so natural that after the break up I joined a group violin class. Pathetically it started, but I loved the learning and playing in a matter of a few days.

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