Yet Another Returning Adult
I am another returning adult that has been lurking on this site for some time. This site has been a invaluable resource in my return to playing the violin.
My story is pretty typical. I played throughout childhood, stopped when I went to college, played again for a year and a half in grad school about ten years after quitting, and then stopped again for a long stretch. The last pieces I played in grad school were the Mendelssohn and Mozart 4 concertos.
Ten months ago, I picked it up again when my daughter started taking lessons. Since have found myself enjoying it greatly, much more than i expected. After a greater than fifteen year gap in playing regularly, I found it surprisingly easy to get back into it (although the first four months were still pretty hard).
Unless I am completely deluding myself, I feel as though I am in many ways better than I have ever been, which is possibly the most surprising thing of all. I attribute this partly to better practicing habits, tips from this and other sites, a new violin, and a lot of inspiration from listening to music and reading about the experiences of others.
Still, I have been debating whether I should get a teacher or not. One the one hand, I feel as though a commitment to having lessons would put more pressure on me and possibly lessen my enjoyment. On the other hand, there is always the chance I could improve faster with a teacher, or that I have developed bad habits.
Generally, I feel most motivated to play repertoire that I love. I feel as though a teacher with a flexible schedule might suit me, someone without a hard commitment to lessons every week.
Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? I am in the Maryland DC area, so hopefully there would be some number of possibilities.
I am also a returning adult, starting in childhood and stopping after a year of college. I returned to violin about three years ago and have very much enjoyed it as a part of my daily life. I was fortunate to find an outstanding teacher right away, and would strongly suggest that if you want to learn as quickly as possible, and restore or develop your best technical proficiency. As for the commitment to lessons, it has not diminished my enjoyment at all, and in fact increases it by collaborating with someone who knows what I need, and when. My work and travel life is busy, so we schedule lessons as frequently as weekly, and as far apart as a month, but probably average every 2-3 weeks. I feel that is about right, since sometimes a week goes by too quickly. I too feel far more committed than I was as a youth, and I definitely have a better instrument. Other thoughts: Practice at least a little every single day - never miss. After spending a practice session in the weeds technically, play at least a little of your favorite repertoire, and maybe share what you are working on with your teacher. I am finding working through Wohlfahrt a very useful framework, and Kreutzer II for bowing variations. Best wishes and congratulations for getting back into it. Give us a progress report in a while.
Hi Justin, welcome! I'm a returner too and have been returned for more than 10 years after a 20+ years of hiatus. I love it so much that I took an early retirement to be a fulltime violin student.
"On[e] the one hand, I feel as though a commitment to having lessons would... possibly lessen my enjoyment."
I'm also an adult returnee -- twice, after two decade-long breaks. I've been playing again for four years.
Thanks, all. I think I just need to find the right teacher that can adjust for my needs. Many of the well-known teachers in this area seem to be targeting children.
With the exception of Lya Stern, most of the local DC/MD/VA teachers of pre-conservatory teens here will take advanced adult students. Sibelius certainly counts. (Feel free to message me privately.)
I envy you, Justin, for living so close to Lydia. She has wealth of expertise and knowledge, not just in violin. I wish I could be a bit closer to her geographically speaking.
Justin, I'm an adult returner with a story very similar to yours. I was fortunate to find a good teacher early on (he's in the local symphony), and taking lessons has been helpful. I took lessons every 1-2 weeks for much of the past year. More recently, I've been making progress on my own, and when I do start lessons again, I anticipate that it will be every 3 weeks or so. As an adult amateur, I can set my own pace.
Jason, you have lofty goals! Playing the Bach Chaconne is on my list too. I think playing from memory wouldn't be an issue for me as by the time I've learned a piece, I'd have been practiced long enough to play without looking at the music.
Another one for the dream of Sonatas and Partitas. I am not a returning adult. I am an adult beginner starting from zero, but the reason I decided to take violin is to reach the dream of being able to play and enjoy those Bach pieces. It will take as many years as necessary. No problem. I run ultramarathons and I know that each step takes you one step closer to the goal and 100 miles are just a multitude of steps.
I'm a little bit less of a goal-setter than the other folks here, I think. I want to get steadily better, but what "better" means at any given time has varied tremendously.
I am an older (returning/relearning) amateur violinist. A good teacher is great if you have access to one, however, I would recommend some of Simon Fischer's materials either way. I have found his "The Violin Lesson," "The Secrets of Tone Production" DVD and "Warming Up" book and DVD to be particularly helpful to me, and by what you said you are looking for, I think would also be very helpful to you. I certainly am not ruling out other Simon Fischer materials, but those are ones I have personal experience with.
It's great to hear about everyone's goals and ambitions, to know there are others out there on a similar personal journey!
Yixi, thanks for the links!
I share some similar thoughts and concerns with Lydia.
Justin, I'm curious what about, quote,
Lydia, my current approach is to do a variety of things rather than fixate on mastering a piece sequentially. When I was young, my teachers would simply give me sections to work on, and when I was done with them, i would move on to the next section. But after I returned, I got bored with this approach.
The way you practice is normal for an advanced student. The "assign specific little chunks" is a tactic for younger kids.
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