Should I continue playing the violin in college?

September 26, 2016 at 04:31 PM · I was wondering what kind of playing and theory level is needed to play in college. I have been taking lessons since February of this year and now I am on suzuki 4, however I first started playing in middle school. I am a junior now, so I know that I will have to put in a lot of effort to get to those levels and even then I will fall behind experiencewise.

I havent told anyone that I want to go for it, but practicing is something I really have started to enjoy and the thought of getting better than those I think are above me is motivational.

Going back to the first kind of section, I never had any motivation in music until this year nor did my family have the money to pay for private lessons.

Replies (8)

September 26, 2016 at 04:49 PM · I attended a college that had a full orchestra that was an extracurricular activity that met one evening each week and presented 2 concerts each year. I'm sure part of the reason I was accepted to the college was because of my experience in that area; I was way beyond anything in the Suzuki program (that was not available in the US at that time - early 1950s).

At the college level, even as an extra curricular level, the orchestra activity is one that would expect you to be able to sit in front of the music for the first time and be able to play it - or at least know enough to not mess up.

Unless you are up to an appropriate level orchestra playing is no fun. Even if you are the last chair 2nd violin, you still have to be able to read and play the music. - but as far as theory is concerned, all you need it for is to be able to read and play the music.

September 26, 2016 at 04:59 PM · I am in a similar situation but the college I want to go to is a Math/Science school. I will have to look into their orchestra (if they have one) but I will have to give up my private lessons. You should probably go to an orchestra (college level) before making your decision as you don't want to get into something that is too demanding/uninteresting. For reference, I enjoy playing the violin, but as a backup career, not a primary one.

September 26, 2016 at 05:29 PM · In undergraduate I was a computer science major at a major research university in-state, and played in the school's orchestra and wind ensemble during my entire time there. The level of college orchestras can vary widely, before thinking anything is impossible, go check it out first.

September 26, 2016 at 05:38 PM · Alec: You can still take private lessons, but not necessarily through the university. Just find a local private teacher.

Matthew: When you say "play in college", do you mean "major in violin performance" (or otherwise get a music degree that leads to a career in music), or something else?

Assuming you mean "something else": Regardless of your level, you can continue to play for fun in college. You can continue to take private lessons, whether or not it is within the framework of academic credit. Most colleges have one or more orchestras, but you would almost certainly need to be better than you are now to handle the difficulty of the music -- call it Suzuki book 7 (Bach A minor) level as a reasonable playing level for 2nd violin parts. There might also be opportunities to play chamber music, or non-classical violin, on campus. You do not need theory for any of this.

September 26, 2016 at 05:49 PM · If you want to play...play. No need to ask.

Sometimes we make things much more difficult than they need to be.

September 26, 2016 at 11:35 PM · Yes. Play.

You might need to sort through your ensemble opportunities so that you survive, but play.

If you can play fluently, you will find people to play with. And build from there.

September 27, 2016 at 05:19 PM · Lydia: I meant that excluding possibly being in the university orchestra, the course load is just too rigorous to manage classes and a private lesson. As I said, I will put my most effort into classwork, violin being a fall-back job. I'm sure someone passionate enough to aspire for a career in playing could probably work it out though.

September 27, 2016 at 05:54 PM · If you can, pull out the violin at least once a week for 10 minutes. It will probably prevent totally wrecking your technique. I took a 9-year break and when I came back I couldn't even manage a scale.


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