I'm playing on a rental VSO and have been taking weekly half hour lessons from the start. It was difficult finding a teacher for an adult beginner (particularly because I handicapped myself by not wanting to take lessons at the music school where my wife teaches - that would be too weird). My teacher initially was very hands on about instrument setup, posture, bow hold, etc. As we've gone along he's done less and less of this. I don't know if this is because I'm doing everything more or less correctly or that he's not giving me adequate feedback. He's rather passive but will look at whatever I ask or answer any of my questions. I seem to be progressing, but I wonder if I'll need a new teacher in the not so distant future. My current teacher doesn't seem as demanding as I'm used to.
At six months I've just completed the first volume of Doflein. We've started the second volume as well as the first exercise in Wohlfahrt. Everything so far in first position, keys of E-A-D-G-C-F and e-a-d-g. Nothing beyond basic bow strokes and fingering (no vibrato yet). I practice about 1.5 to 2 hours a day, sometimes taking one day off each week. I warmup with long bow strokes on open strings, then faster bowing exercises, then a few scales, and then the first page of Schradieck (rather slowly). I take a short break every 20-30 minutes or so. I practice with a tuner the first half of my lesson-week (mostly as a sanity check), then rely on my ear for intonation the next few days. Seems to work well for me.
Perhaps because of having already developed a decent ear, my L hand seems to be far ahead of my R. Other than some inconsistency with the third finger, I can play more or less in tune, and my intonation is getting better as I develop more control and muscle memory in my fingers. My bowing, however, still sounds like a beginner. I can draw the bow straight on long tones on open strings in front of the mirror; it's just coordinating that with placing the fingers on my L hand that's a problem. I've asked my teacher to look at this in several lessons. He says I appear to be doing things correctly and just need time to develop control of the bow until it becomes innate.
Does this sound like adequate progress? Should I be expecting more from my teacher, or do most beginners spend their first six months developing control, learning basic music theory like scales and key signatures, etc.? I seem to be sounding better (according to my wife, who is a musician) and I'm still enjoying practicing.Tweet
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