What is it like to learn the violin, viola or cello, as an adult? As a teacher, I warn adult beginners that they can expect something like a cross between kindergarten and physical therapy. If you can accept those two conditions, then you can go quite far! But it means that you have to resist feeling embarrassed about truly starting at the beginning, and you need to prepare to do more repetitive work, physically, than you might expect.
When you learn a foreign language, you start with the alphabet, numbers, and very simple words and phrases such as "hello." When you learn to play an instrument, you will start with simple tunes and exercises, and you probably won't dive right into the more complex tune that inspired you to play. Of course, you should still listen to that tune and keep it as your goal, but learning basic fluency comes first.
In your lessons, don't be embarrassed to play because you aren't good at it. I've noticed a phenomenon in adult beginners: sometimes they talk their way through lessons to avoid playing! They don't really know they are doing it, but it just feels more comfortable because they know how to talk, and they don't yet know how to play. Be aware that you might feel weird about doing something that you aren't yet good at, particularly in front of someone else. Embrace the fact that you are going to make mistakes, play badly, squeak, misunderstand instructions, get it wrong, etc. It's all part of the learning process. You didn't learn to walk without falling down many, many times. Falling down -- and getting back up again -- is part of what gave you your balance. A good teacher completely understands this and is there to help you find that balance. Keep reading...Tweet Comments (15)
Violinist.com Interviews, Volume 2: Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles' second book features exclusive, one-on-one interviews conducted over the last six years with 26 of today's best-known violinists, including Midori, Gil Shaham, Hilary Hahn, James Ehnes, Rachel Barton Pine, Augustin Hadelich, Ray Chen, Daniel Heifetz, Jennifer Koh and Lindsey Stirling. Amazon.com (Ad)
In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, Violinist.com each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.
Chee-Yun performed the Glazunov Violin Concerto with the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
I did my self-directed and promoted first year recital. Lots of people came. The venue was wonderful. The service was friendly and quick. The pizza was delicious. Everyone was in a great mood, conversation was active, people mingled, and it was like a party. I did what I said I’d do. I played 20 songs in 20 minutes. I did a couple classical pieces, some Celtic music, Irish music, American fiddle tunes, a couple of pop songs, and even “Twinkle, Twinkle” just for the heck of it.
That’s the good part. Now here is the rest.
If I’d stopped at 8 or 9 minutes it would have been fine. If I’d stuck to the handful of songs I could really pull off, it would have been modestly impressive. If I’d left them wanting more it would have been good. But I’d reached too far. In my desire to perform virtually every song I knew I’d stretched myself, and my audience too thin. I forgot a basic truism. Leave them wanting more. I’d gone and given them the whole kitchen plus the sink, garbage disposal, and compost. Plus, a solo first-year violinist playing for 20 minutes without an accompanist is a bit much for anyone. Keep reading...Comments (10)
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