In brief, I have a contract working at a remote research station where there will be very few people, zero options for travel, and 24 hour darkness for months. Since I'm going to be stuck and won't want to spend much time outside and will have lots of quiet rooms where I won't disturb people, it seems like a fantastic opportunity to learn an instrument. Obviously there are a lot of limitations too (primarily that I won't be able to attend lessons with an actual instructor.) Basically I'm looking for advice and/or resources to get me set up doing this. I'll include more details below, but that's about the gist of this post.
More background - I inherited a violin that belonged to my great grandpa a couple years ago. It's nothing super fantastic, but obviously has a great deal of sentimental value. My family decided to give it to me because they figured I'd be the most likely to actually learn it. I spent a small fortune getting it all fixed up and in playable condition and then took a few lessons. My instructor was well respected in the folk/bluegrass community and her lessons were not cheap. However, I quit after just a few lessons because I didn't feel like I was learning any fundamentals or music theory. Also, she was clearly not spending any time prepping for the lessons (she'd write out music while I was sitting there in front of her instead of beforehand and things like that) and that seemed ridiculous considering the cost. While it was immensely satisfying to be able to sort of vaguely scratch out some things that were recognizable as songs after just a few hours, I didn't feel like I knew anything more about music than when I started. So I quit and found a more I guess classically trained (?) instructor. Less folky anyway. She was fantastic but I only got about 4 lessons in before I moved to Alaska and didn't bring my violin because was going to be living in a tent. That was about 3 years ago and I haven't had the opportunity to take any more lessons or practice regularly since.
So now, since I'll be stuck at this remote research station, I'm thinking about buying a cheap violin on Amazon and spending the winter months at least trying to relearn to read music and be able to make sounds that seem more like notes than cat screaming. I know self-learning violin seems to be very frowned upon, but I figure I may never learn if I wait around until I'm in the same place long enough (while also having enough money) to take real lessons. Learning poorly may be better than not learning at all? Plus I hopefully will be in a place to resume lessons once I finish this contract next October.
But, I'm a little hesitant. I've only had a handful of lessons (half of which were all but useless,) have very little musical experience otherwise, and will not have access to stores to buy things like new strings or books, nor will I have access to people who can do things like restring a violin. I don't want to spend the money getting started if I'm just setting myself up for failure. At the same time, I'm excited by the idea. I should have time to practice at least a couple hours every day. I like the idea of picking up a skill over this contract instead of just wasting time/making money.
-Besides a handful of violin lessons, I played guitar a little in highschool and drums through college. I could kind of read simple music in highschool, and could read music for drums fairly proficiently, though I've forgotten a lot. And drum music only goes so far for other instruments. I would MOSTLY be starting from scratch.
-Ultimately, I would be most interested in probably playing more folky/bluegrassy type music but obviously not opposed to learning other styles, especially initially.
-I'm in a terrible environment. It's going to be incredibly cold and it's very, very dry. I imagine this will effect an instrument and most likely negatively.
-The violin I was looking at is only $120 on Amazon. I was going to buy a different bow and different strings per the recommendation of one of the reviewers. Not sure I can even put strings on by myself though? I imagine youtube could show me? Anyway, I'd be working with cheap equipment.
-I have no delusions of becoming an amazing expert musician at any point of my life. But it would be pretty fantastic if I could eventually play music casually with my friends on occasion. My very highest aspiration in the music realm would probably be playing at some kind of backwoods pub or something similar.
Does anybody have any suggestions? Online resources? Good lesson/music books to purchase? Inexpensive equipment recommendations? Tips for dealing with cold and dry weather? Advice to just forget about it and learn the guitar or something instead? Tips on what to stock up on if I need my resources to last about 9-10 months? I can order things until about the end of the month. Shortly after that, flights stop coming so we won't get any more mail so I need to make decisions quickly.
Maybe even an idea on where else I could ask these questions/get this kind of advice?
Thank you for any help!
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