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Peter K-G

Learning how to play the violin

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Well, it is almost impossible. Having that said, with great humbleness, at this age (of impossibleness), I discovered that I have taken a leap forward and I actually can do some things. But!... The left hand! I don't have the physics to bend it, it hurts (I have been wathing Menuihin's classes on practice).

With great respect to you professionals --> did you "break" your left arm at an early age....

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1 hour ago, Peter K-G said:

Well, it is almost impossible. Having that said, with great humbleness, at this age (of impossibleness), I discovered that I have taken a leap forward and I actually can do some things. But!... The left hand! I don't have the physics to bend it, it hurts (I have been wathing Menuihin's classes on practice).

With great respect to you professionals --> did you "break" your left arm at an early age....

Persevere, watch a number of different performance videos (to see in how many different ways the successful virtuosi break all the rules :lol:) and check out Nicola Benedetti's very approachable (and free) series of training videos.  :)

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You can do it! :) As Vda said, just perservere.

1  Find a practice routine you actually enjoy engaging in.  Include a nice mix of both technique and music you want to play.

2. And - this is important - don't overdo it. Practice in small time increments. Ten minutes, here and there during the day, not one big, long session.

As you get used to it and build up some muscles and stamina, you can practice longer.

Don't hurt yourself.

3. Have goals to work towards. Such as a recital, playing in church, playing a favorite song for a friend. Start small and doable.

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Thanks!

I actually didn't expect any response, just writing in my frustration trying to learn (Meditation from thias). I'll have to go down  some with my ambitions :)

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This is a particularly interesting thread for me, as I'd like to learn to play, and am trying to figure out how to find the right teacher at the moment.

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I have also enjoyed Nicola Benedetti's helpful material , and there are many other sites available.  Nothing replaces a good teacher however..

Some teachers I know also refer to http://stringtechnique.com/chapters.html 

and the older videos at violinmasterclass.com.

in the end it's about putting in the hours.  didn't someone say that to master something it takes 10,000 hours?  

 

Best of luck! :)

 

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The writer Malcolm Gladwell may have implied that 10,000 hours yield mastery of a subject or activity but if you look into it the truth of the matter is that although those who are acclaimed to be "masters" have put in 10,000 hours (and more) not all who put in the time achieve mastery.

It is always best to have a face-to-face teacher when learning a string instrument,; one who can actually see the strain of the muscles against your skin and provide guidance from that information. Instruction based on knowledge of your internal processes is preferable to what one can observe from a greater distance but both are preferable to what a novice thinks is needed and what is actually going on.

There comes a time when musicians feel they can self instruct and many of them are correct (but not all). However most of them feel that are qualified to teach others. And to some degree they are correct as long as they don't try to exceed their own knowledge and capability.

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Three13, Two thoughts on teachers in Marin County:

The Magic Flute, music store at Northgate One, maintains an on-line list of teachers who have registered with them (at least they did when I was teaching until 10 years ago).

Julie Mellon, who runs the Suzuki violin program at Dominican U. in San Rafael should be competent to do the job (she is now the concertmaster of the conductor-less chamber orchestra I now play with - Lucas Valley Chamber Orchestra). You can find her on line as well.

I hope this is a helpful start.

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6 hours ago, Andrew Victor said:

Three13, Two thoughts on teachers in Marin County:

The Magic Flute, music store at Northgate One, maintains an on-line list of teachers who have registered with them (at least they did when I was teaching until 10 years ago).

Julie Mellon, who runs the Suzuki violin program at Dominican U. in San Rafael should be competent to do the job (she is now the concertmaster of the conductor-less chamber orchestra I now play with - Lucas Valley Chamber Orchestra). You can find her on line as well.

I hope this is a helpful start.

Thank you very much!

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On 12/16/2019 at 9:31 PM, GeorgeH said:

...is more difficult than it sounds. 

Do you have a teacher?

It's almost impossible (for me at least)

I don't have a teacher, If I had time I would. But as a hobbyist and with many interests I need to figure out on my own how to play better ;)

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You don't have to take weekly lessons.

Take occasional lessons.  Monthly, every 2 months, etc.  Ask about technique issues then, feedback, etc.

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Keep at it! It does take a long time, a lot of patience, careful practice, and as others have said: a good teacher. 

Starting when young may be easier in many ways - the body is still growing and is more flexible. But as an adult you can comprehend more complex instructions. The challenge, I think, is that as an adult you know how you want it to sound and yet realize how far away you are from that. Don't let it get you down - just look to solve one issue at a time, and keep at it. 

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Yeah, it's rough dude. Not sure how to make a better comment. The people who make it professionally are simply the ones to stubborn to put it away. Just keep at it, all the hard work does matter.

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Peter K-G, If your time is limited you might find artistworks.com helpful. There you should encounter a very experienced professional violinist as teacher and have freedom to work at your own pace and have enough time between lessons (i.e., teacher interactions) to work on the stuff.

My adult son has used Artistworks.com for on-line (delayed-response) video lessons.

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Hello, I'm new to this site having only first come to the Pegbox about 2 months ago when seeking input on my recently acquired violin.

I'm 46 and began playing almost exactly 3 years ago.  I have no musical experience at all and am an engineer by profession.  I take lessons weekly and play an hour daily, sometimes a bit more, no matter what.  I was inspired to learn while watching my kids learn their instruments. 

I regret not starting sooner, but not am not sure I would have had the motivation that I do now. 

My goal is to play at an OK level in a community / amateur orchestra at some point.  

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1 hour ago, outofnames said:

....

My goal is to play at an OK level in a community / amateur orchestra at some point.  

Welcome! And that's certainly an attainable goal! :)

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2 hours ago, outofnames said:

Hello, I'm new to this site having only first come to the Pegbox about 2 months ago when seeking input on my recently acquired violin.

I'm 46 and began playing almost exactly 3 years ago.  I have no musical experience at all and am an engineer by profession.  I take lessons weekly and play an hour daily, sometimes a bit more, no matter what.  I was inspired to learn while watching my kids learn their instruments. 

I regret not starting sooner, but not am not sure I would have had the motivation that I do now. 

My goal is to play at an OK level in a community / amateur orchestra at some point.  

Welcome!  Is there a question attached to this introduction?  If so, we'd be happy to oblige with an answer.

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3 hours ago, outofnames said:

My goal is to play at an OK level in a community / amateur orchestra at some point.  

That's a good goal - there is nothing better than playing great music with like-minded people. Keep up the good work!

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3 hours ago, outofnames said:

My goal is to play at an OK level in a community / amateur orchestra at some point.  

I'm sure you are learning to read music too, that would be an important part of playing in an orchestra.  Had a student come to us who could play quite well, but had learned everything by ear, and it took quite an effort to get him into reading music after the fact.  Good luck!

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Wow, this discussion sure hits home with me. I am 66 years old and just took up the violin about 2 months ago.  I 100% share Peter K-G's frustration. I actually started more like 6 months ago, trying to play a 16" viola my son played in high school orchestra, but stopped playing when he went off to college.  In his defense, he played both piano and viola, but always had a passion for classical piano, decided to focus on just that instrument, and has become quite proficient on piano. 

Anyway, rather than sell his $2,000 viola for maybe $500, I thought I'd try to learn to play it.  But my hand is too small and I just could not reach the 4th finger on the C or G strings without sliding my other fingers up the fingerboard, losing their proper position, or painfully straining tendons and ligaments in my wrist.  After several months of that, my instructor suggested that I try violin.  So I rented a violin for a month and instantly found that I can reach all the finger positions without pain. I went all-in and bought my first violin.

I am still struggling with proper bowing - speed, pressure, and placement (mostly trying to keep the bow perpendicular to the strings). I am only just now starting to to be able to put together a short series of nice clear and focused sounds before the next dreaded weak, airy, squeaky, or scratchy sound invariably leaps forth.  And if I focus on my right hand (bowing), I completely lose track of where I am in the music, or what the left hand is doing.  Getting the three components (reading the music, proper fingering, and proper bowing) all in sync is very difficult and taking much longer than I thought it might.  But I continue to practice, and figure eventually two of those three will sync up, and then eventually all three will magically come together.

I like to go through about a page of my assigned music at one sitting, but then I set the violin down on the coffee table while I'm watching TV at night.  I pick it up about once or twice an hour and just practice scales, or try playing fourth finger rather than open strings as I work a down-scale (very difficult for me)...short exercises that don't require sheet music, just drilling.

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I’m also an adult beginner, with the cello, and my daily practice is limited by how much my hands can take. Would be happy to receive tips on how to be able to practice longer hours. Now after 2 yrs I can do 2 hours on most days, with one easy day per week and an easier week every month. Compression sleeves have been a superwonderful help but I would really need to be able to practice more, I still totally suck :lol: all help much appreciated!

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8 minutes ago, Wadi said:

Would be happy to receive tips on how to be able to practice longer hours.

if the cello has 'high action', it takes excessive finger pressure to stop the string.  Lowered action, also at the nut, can make string instruments easier to finger, but get a luthier to check it if you suspect that it could be lowered.

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Great thread! I decided to start playing the violin as an adult (in my twenties) and took lessons for a few years. Then came a job, and a family…and a long break. I just re-started, and I am taking lessons with my boys at a local Suzuki school. I find that to be very motivating. We can play together and learn together. Great for the boys – and great for dad. 

I played several instruments when I was a child but never a string instrument and none of them very well. I think it is a major challenge but can be done. I am not giving up. I think a good teacher is indispensable for playing the violin. The differences between right and wrong (e.g. bow-hold) are so subtle that I cannot imagine trying to learn that without a good teacher.

I still find it painful sometimes (left hand) but playing regularly (daily?) helps with that. It is worse if I don’t play at all for a few days. Vibrato was also very difficult and frustrating at first. I still smile when I think of the teacher’s comments about “loosening up” a bit while my left hand felt like I had a cramp.

I think as adults we should expect to practice the same number of hours that kids do before they start to sound decent. It takes many hours, discipline (which I don’t always have), is very humbling and overall a fantastic experience! Don’t give up.

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