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Adults started playing violin?


Kath
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Just an FYI, both of my teachers tell me that I am a "natural" violin player. I started just a year ago when I turned 40. I don't believe at all that being a natural has to do with age. It has more to do with physical awareness and intelligence and adults can have this just as kids. I studied Alexander Technique and meditation in my 30s specifically to develop these things in me.

All that said, I still s*ck at the violin and am on week 2 of Twinkle with this new teacher!!! Having natural ability in anything is only wasted without lots and lots of work.

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It is only my limited observations. Not until I see some real contardictions

I have nothing to believe in other way. I keep an open mind though. Question of "natiral" and " perfect" is similar to this:

I have heard a French professor in a college, she spoke "perfect" French, no accent (like in textbook). That was exactly the problem; "too perfect". A real Frenchman on a street may speak imperfectly but natural.

(Of course, I want to learn

French from a professor (classroom French)). /yuen/


Interesting logic. Too bad for those who can naturally speak perfect French. Sigh... I always believe there could be a real case of "My Fair Lady".

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I knew an untatural violinist once. He'd lurk around the cemetary in town and rumour was that he disturbed graves. After a few years of this, townspeople formed a posse and threw him into the river. The weight of his over-sized viola, that he was wearing at the time, cause him to sink to the bottom. He was never herd from again.

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I recently started a 73 year old lady. Yes, she is a little slower than say a youth. Arthritic fingers take a little effort to place in the correct position but she is enjoying her music.

Her violin gives her much pleasure.

Busker.

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Perfect English (in textbook kind) means "sound out every

syllable"

" Natural English" you skip a lot, but our ears accustom to it.

I learnt in school and I heard on street are quite different. I have to listen both to understand. Just my thought.

Here is a very good example. If you ride a Metro in Washington D.C. The loud spesker says " The train is moving" or " the door is clsoing" I have heard this hundred times. I could not figure it out which? (mumbling) ( some syllables skipped) I do not know enough "natural English" to figure it out. /yuen/

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'"Natural English" you skip a lot'

Actually you don't. Nothing 'natural' about mumbling on the subway either. You either speak a certain language well or you don't. Just because you're born into a certain language environment, doesn't guarantee that you're well spoken in that language. Speaking well requires a systematic study of the language plus practicing elocution. Very similar to violin study really

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Very similar to violin study really


In more ways than one. I am a natural oral imitator. Hm, never thought about it before. I hear a sound: I reproduce it, instrument or language. Part of language is a flow and rhythm, cadences. It's the first thing a baby picks up, and you can hear an "accent" in its babble, and the way an Italian baby pronounces "Mama" is different rhythmically and in the rise and fall of the sound from the way a German, French or Chinese baby will say it. As a matter of fact, I was learning a new language at the time when the baby next door was learning its first words in the same language, and it was this "Mama" that I noticed. My imitativeness gets me in trouble: I'll just as readily find myself speaking English with an Italian accent if I've spoken for a while with someone with that kind of an accent, and worry about offending. It's the same feeling as tuning yourself to the music and bringing your rhythm and phrasing in line with that of the other musicians. I've heard people say, "I can read and write this new language well, but I still have trouble speaking it - after all, I'm not a musician." I'm imagining that the music metaphor goes even further. You want the elocution and the grammar etc. but also the naturalness, the flow; just as you want the technique and the theory as well as that extra something that turns the notes on the page into something more than a computer-generated melody played by the human hand.

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Hi,

I'll be 50 in June. I played many years ago as a kid in school, quit (maybe 40 years ago), then didn't pick up a violin again until just a couple years ago, quit again because of other obligations, tried yet again and quit, and then started again just a few months ago. The funny thing about starting after those 40 years of not playing is it felt familiar to me, even after all that time. The other funny thing is that within a few weeks of starting again back in February 2005 (really not more than a couple months had passed) my teacher was asking me if I wanted to join an all adult strings group another instructor was putting together. It had nothing to do with me being good, it's more they needed bodies to play. The point is there are opportunities, even when you're not looking. It may not lead to anything, but playing with others, even if you don't feel confident about your abilities, or just don't have much experience, has its advantages. I think I play better when playing with someone else.

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Don't people always play instruments, whether for the first time or since a long time, in phrases? What other way is there? I would have found it very hard even the first time I touched the violin to divide the phrases into individual notes. I thought that's how the human mind works.

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If you ask " why you feel this violinist plays more naurally than others ?" ... let me answer this way (there is a difference): A moive actor just got a big contract, he was happy and smiled (i.e natural)and then the boss told him to cry (as a test), he cried (unnatural to me). For a good actor we would have a hard time to tell which act was not natural. /yuen/

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A 4 year old thread!! It would be great to hear how everyone's doing after 4 years. :-)


I posted here originally 4 years ago. I am still having a great time playng in the orchestra, and I do a lot less "air-bowing" than I used to. I also now play in a string quartet, but only for our own entertainment. Major success this week was that we actually managed to play the first movement of Bartok's 1st quartet. And I am still having regular lessons and having passed my ABRSM grade 4 last year with distinction am working hard on Grade 5.

I think I am probably making slower progress than I would ideally like, but practice time is always an issue when you have a full time job, and a part time job and a home to run, and I like to be sure I have any technique firmly under my belt before moving on.

Still loving it completely.

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If you ask " why you feel this violinist plays more naurally than others ?" ... let me answer this way (there is a difference): A moive actor (snip)


Hi Yuen, If you are referring to my last post, I was not asking that at all. I think I'm understanding something for the first time. You define playing naturally as playing music in phrases and sentences. That makes me understand that perhaps some people don't do so. I find that surprising and, erhem, unnatural. With any instrument I've ever picked up, and that includes the violin as an adult, music comes out in phrases - the notes written on the pages instantly transform themselves into melodies that play themselves out on the instrument. I thought that was just the way it was. I am almost incapable of playing in any other way - I've tried it, and it's darn hard to play music note for note.

I understand your definition of "natural" via the actor perfectly. Is this what you meant also in your predictions of how someone would play depending on the age at which they begin? In that case, I've heard some pretty mechanical kids whose playing would have to be considered unnatural and the expression, contrived. Musicality, in my impression, is something that is both within and wishes to be expressed and that develops a perception of the music, and something without that must be brought forth through the teaching of technical proficiency. But such technical proficiency alone, which an adult learner may indeed be weaker in, would bring you the poor actor who mimics the tears but cannot bring others to cry.

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I have just started, and I am 47yrs old.

I don't expect to be a concert violinist,

But I am going to try my best.


Well done Rich. You will find lots of support here, and even if the dream of concert violinist is maybe too difficult to achieve for us late starters we can still get lots of enjoyment and satisfaction from playing.

Make sure you get a good teacher, good posture and the right bow hold are very important from the beginning.

Good Luck

Jane

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I started violin at 16 and having a teacher for almost 6 months. My goal is able to play most of the violin music at reasonable level to regular audiences, is it achieveable?


Absolutely!! At your age, you can achieve a position in an orchestra if you set your mind to it.

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I begged for music lessons as a teen but my parents refused.I didn't have any ballet or piano lessons or any enrichment activities when I was a kid because my family was poor and I wasted my time roaming my working-class neighbourhood while my parents worked (I was a latch-key kid).

I have just started the violin at 26. It is so difficult and I feel very discouraged that I didn't start as a kid when things would have been so much easier. My mother thinks it is a waste of money though I pay for everyhting myself.I know that it is silly and immature for an adult to say this but I hate my parents.I wish that I've never been born.

Is it too late for me? My early circumstances were so bad. Can adults still change for the better? I'm still poor and have very few luxuries.

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I am 50 and started about 3 years ago. I had no previous musical experience except guitar. I took lessons for the first year and tried on my own until resuming lessons again about 3 months ago. I find that there is a real difference in being able to play and being able to play WELL. Without a teacher, I found that my intonation was just a little off and I didn't realize it. Also, my vibrato was a little stiff. Don't expect to be able to play well without sticking with a good teacher!

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My mother thinks it is a waste of money though I pay for everyhting myself........Is it too late for me? My early circumstances were so bad. Can adults still change for the better?


Hi Sakura. You are still quite young and your childhood is just a stone's throw away from you. Our early upbringing has a tendency to give us a picture of what life is about, what we can do and should do. Some of those pictures run so deep that we don't even know it. Your parents were your first influence and what you need to do now is surround yourself with as many people as possible who think the same way you do and value the same things that you do. Not the person you were formed to be through your parents' attitude, but who you really are inside. You have already done so by following your inner inclinations .... finally! .... now that you are able to do so. Find others who have done the same. You don't even need many acquaintances of that kind: one or two can work wonders. Join a community orchestra, whatever, and if others can play better in the beginning don't let any old records play in your head. You belong. You are worthy. You are equal. Do not allow yourself to think otherwise, because with the messages you have been receiving, you may be inclined to think so. The first bit of failure, you may want to throw in the towel and decide that mother was right. She wasn't! Some day when you have your own children you will have the opportunity to live out your own values by valuing their dreams and you will find a healing in that. Don't do the opposite of your parents by pushing them into music, but listen to who they are as persons and respect what they value. But that's down the line a way.

Through their actions your parents have given you the message that this dream of yours is unimportant. Do not allow this foolishness to stay with you. What are we on this earth for if not to do what we were meant to do? Earn money for the next meal and that's it? But with this message in your head, failure gives the wrong picture. You are entering a different world than the one you grew up in and the people in it may seem "successful" - others who have had their talents nurtured since childhood. The really successful people in life have known failure. The road to success is failure. Almost anyone who has had unusual achievements probably made a fool of himself a thousand times, looked like an idiot, sounded like a moron, been embarrassed to the hilt because when you begin anything you make tons of mistakes. The more they dared, the more idiotic things they probably did along the way, and the more they probably fell flat on their faces. The difference is that they were not given the message in their upbringing that what they did, did not matter. Therefore the failure and the inadequacies of a beginner or novice didn't matter: the goal mattered so much that they brushed themselves off and kept going. So change the picture!

Will you improve? Why shouldn't you? It is human nature to grow for a lifetime. We are perpetual children in that respect, if we allow ourselves to have a lifetime of growth. And what is growth? Once you were a baby and you could not walk, talk, read or write. When you began to walk and talk, you tottered about and bumped into walls and you babbled nonsense, not able to even pronounce all the sounds in a word. If you had had the awareness of an adult and looked at what you were doing at that moment you would have said "Well, that's it. Obviously I don't have what it takes. I mean, look at me. I can't walk two steps without falling down on my diapered bottom. I want to say 'milk, please' and what comes out of my mouth is 'memememep'. Obviously I'm not meant to be able to walk or talk." But obviously you walk and talk expertly now. Learning a new thing is like going back into babyhood. Dare to be clumsy. Dare to sound horrible. Dare to be a failure so that you can succeed. And surround yourself as much as you can with people who have the same courage that you do. Because, make no bones about it, following one's dreams takes hunks of courage. Believing in yourself and what you are doing is an important ingredient in getting better and better at playing the violin or anything else you choose to do.

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Hi,

No one can say it better. Stillnew, thanks a lot, I can use some of your good advices.

Hi, Sakura,

You have a lot of time,many many yaers, to learn and to play violin.

We all lose a bit of valuable time here and there. Many people of this forum are not as young as you. If I try to tell them how much time they had lost only upset them (me included). You still have a great advantage. I sincerely think so. Starting now is the key. Happy violinist. /yuen/

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