One of the top questions we frequently get here on Violinist.com goes something like this: "I just started violin and I'm 23, can I become a professional violinist?"
For most people, this seems like an ambitious -- possibly over-ambitious -- goal. Yet there are always exceptions. Strangers who don't know the details may not be able to answer that question adequately. The answer could be quite different for a beginning violinist who also is a champion guitar player who has been playing the piano since age four, than it would be for a beginning violinist who has never played an instrument, never looked at a sheet of music and doesn't sing.
Whether a student begins at four or at 23, their goals sometimes can come into question. Should you take the youth orchestra audition? Should you try for the concerto competition? Should you major in violin in college? Should you take that orchestra audition? Should you try for a life as a soloist?
One person who may be in a position to assess a student's potential for success is his or her teacher.
But should a teacher be in the business of judging a student's potential? On one hand, a teacher is a human who by nature can't predict the future. A teacher can misjudge, a teacher can be wrong. Sometimes a student who shows little promise on Day 1 winds up having so much drive and work ethic that he or she far surpasses the teacher's initial expectations.
On the other hand, many teachers have a great deal of experience and expertise, and they can tell that the student is simply not meeting the benchmarks that will lead to success. Does it make sense for this student to continue pounding his or her head against the wall, trying to meet a goal that even the teacher does not believe that student will meet?
What are your thoughts and experiences about this matter? I'm interested in both the student viewpoint and the teacher viewpoint. Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts in the comments.
You might also like:
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.