Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Need encouragement? Try backing up.


Recommended Posts

This may only apply to us new players, but maybe it can apply to everyone.

I think when we're new, as I am, there's a real tendency to learn as much as fast as we can. I know for me, it's always, push, push, push. I quickly go from one thing to the next, then the next, etc, progressing through a method or etude book.

I can get really stumped on something for a while and I spend time playing it over and over, never seeming really to get it right. This can be frustrating and very stagnating. AND depressing because you think you aren't progressing any longer or you've reached a plateau.

I urge you to move on past this. Forget about it. Just move on. If you can't progress any longer in that book, then go to something else. This has happened to me many times and the most amazing thing happens. When I go back to it again, maybe several weeks later, I can magically play it.

So go back to those pieces that once gave you terrible problems. Dig them out. YOu might be amazed that you can now play it.

If you want some instant gratification on whether you've progressed or not, don't underestimate the power of backtracking a little! It does a world of good and can move you out of stagnation!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only agree partly with this.

After 17 months of playing, I'm finally aware of a good interim (it'll remain interim until I 'max out', HKVian way) situation where many fronts that need work are well defined. I've kept working on the Vivaldi in A minor's 1st and 3rd movs. (op.3 no.6) for 2 months in the beginning of Autumn and the Bach A minor since then (only the 1st mov!).

It defies the conditions you laid out for the prevention of stagnation - yes, but my approach (thanks in part to my teacher) has been kept fresh.

So, I say: "whatever works!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Crystal

First of all, I am really impressed by your attitude and your drive. For someone who has been playing for nine months (am I correct here?) you seem to have accomplished so much. It is really inspiring for someone like me, who at 33, decided to learn to play the violin with absolutely no musical background (except for listening, of course!).

I definately relate to what you are saying. I too, push myself very hard at violin, simply because it gives me a sense of joy like no other I have ever known. I have found myself in a situation very similar to that which you describe, and have found that backing up, not backing off, really helps me. Sometimes it seems as though I am not making progress (or progressing as fast and far as I'd like), and backing up brings me back to earth. It reminds me that last September, playing the violin was just a little thought I awoke to one beautiful Fall day. Now it is a reality, and I am so happy for this aspect of my life.

Also, with stumbling blocks, my teacher tells me to embrace these difficulties and strive to make them THE BEST part of what you are playing. The practice of turning a negative into a positive in and of itself seems to allow feelings and playing to flow again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Crystal,

This is my second violin teacher's approach too. She believes that one can improve by progressing to the next piece though u might not be able to play certain part in the current piece well or prefect.

My first one seems to be a perfectionist. He proceeded only after i've satisfied his requirement for that piece and at times, i find it rather de-moralising.


Another newbie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, don't stay on one piece for too long. I had a wonderful teacher who said not to work on anything for longer than three weeks -- his theory was that you give it all you've got, then put it on the shelf. When you come back to it, it'll be better. At the time, I was just getting my feet wet with some of the major works, and spending most of my time studying violin, but the principle holds at any level.

Crystal, it's great that you've picked this up on your own, so early in your study!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crystal, That's exactly right. Violin (&viola, cello, music in general, etc.) is one of those things where you always get better... but "perfect" is always just out of reach! In fact, you probably can't even play a simple piece *completely* perfectly until you *are* perfect. I am something of a perfectionist, and I finally found out why I feel so depressed and irritable after practicing sometimes. It's because it's depressing to be always not good enough, even for myself. but sometimes I get so frustrated trying to play only two measures over and over, and I start feeling like I can't breathe smile.gif

Anyway, the point is to learn, and you wouldn't learn as much if you always played only pieces you didn't have to really work hard on.

Also, listening to music and appreciating culture can be that way. Don't "get" some heavy sounding piece that has a reputation in the classical world? Let it sit for a few years. I've found that with more life I "get" more about the more serious music. Don't see what's so great about "Hamlet", "Moby Dick" or "The Brothers Karamazov"? let it sit and try again later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

great thread.

I had been feeling depressed after practice, too. so I started doing some of the things y'all have been suggesting: I SLOWWWWWED everything down to a note by note crawl

with a whole bow stroke per note, then I gradually sped up as I was comfortable and things progressed much nicer.

When I am learning a new tune or trying to work the bugs out of one and get frustrated, I back up to a tune I know well, but haven't played in a while....I just take an enjoyment break and play something easy...then when I am no longer frustrated, I go back to the bugs! HAHA

ecology, I am 34, I picked up the flute at 30-after having only dabbled in piano and played miscellaneous percussion for about 7 years the violin at 32-ish and the mandolin

about 6 months later on the suggestion of a fellow musician-dropped violin a while saw how easy mandolin was and went back with renewed determination to the violin...am now playing all three WHEW! my next new instrument is folk harp! HEHE laugh.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites


That is awesome! Yup, I am a drum circle junkie. It is sort of strange, my whole life I have been a whistler, and I have always driven everyone around me nuts. I don't even realize I am whistling, but I get started on a melody when I wake up,and by lunchtime it is well into variation-land.

So, in a sense, I have played an instrument my whole life-me!

OOPS! I am way off the topic of this post

(talking about me me me)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks and sorry! I guess I am like a kid in a candy shop right now being as I am new to this board. I have been a little deprived of people to talk to about violin, as everyone else where I take lessons is 9, my teacher is an introvert (but a really nice introvert), and everyone I work says, "you're taking violin lessons? Isn't that something parents reserve to torture thier children with"?

Oops! I did it again--could it be the ADD talking--Hey! Let's go ride our bikes-D'oh!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...