V.com weekend vote: Who learns violin faster, adults or children?

April 26, 2019, 11:18 AM · Children have open minds, and by their nature are quick to learn new ideas and skills. Adults have already achieved a level of coordination and can draw on experience and advanced communication skills.

So which are more likely to learn violin, viola or another instrument faster, adults or children? Or do they learn at about the same pace?

child and adult violinist

As a teacher, I've definitely taught more children than adults, but I've certainly taught a fair share of adults. I find that most people assume automatically that children will learn faster, but it's not always true. A motivated and open-minded adult can learn quite quickly, especially if he or she embraces the necessity of practice. It's possible that children "get" the necessity of practice more easily because they are in "practice mode" with so many of the new things they do, from learning to throw and catch a ball to learning to brush their teeth. Generally the biggest barrier for a student of any age is practice!

Of course, it depends on the individual, but taking a big-picture look, what is your opinion on the matter? How has age affected your own studies? If you are a teacher, what do you observe in your students? Do you feel there are any misconceptions about this? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts in the comments.

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Replies

April 26, 2019 at 05:15 PM · Hey! I think it depends on the individual, young or old. Most learn differently and at different paces. It is harder an older beginning student, financially, to stay dedicated to playing.

April 26, 2019 at 05:15 PM · I find this is a very complicated answer that is difficult to simplify for me.

Taking into account an equal learning ability and speed the curve changes

as the student progresses. The younger student hopefully has years of playing to gain more skill after they reach a certain point. The adult starts to slowly decline at the later stages of life. They only have so much time to get to a certain place in ability. Depending on their age and when they begin this can have a bearing on the bigger picture.

I believe there are misconceptions on both sides. Many adults have an unrealistic view of progress and fully expect faster progress. They reason that if they played another instrument or are intelligent, they should be able to get the hang of it fast. This is unreasonable at any age.

On the other side of it, I think some children are better served to begin later to get the idea of what's really involved in learning unless the parent has no problem taking them to lessons where the investment might not be worth the return.

Initially, Learning speed as such might go to a conscientious adult compared to a hyperactive inattentive child who might only begin to "get it" several years into their training. Coordination and muscle memory might be a larger factor because mentally adults are almost always superior. An adult in good health has every reason to believe they can achieve a comfortable level of ability in 3-5 years of regular applied practice. At some point the two groups might play very similar at a point in time.

Speed implies time. How much times does it take? How much time is necessary? I hate to say it depends, but yes...it depends.

Children learn their way around a violin while they are smaller and "grow into" their violins. I think this is an advantage. To some adults the violin seems small and tiny to finger if they came from an instrument like guitar. It just takes a bit more effort to get things to fit where they need to fit.

April 26, 2019 at 05:24 PM · While it's impossible to generalize, I'm of the opinion that - from many points of view - children have many advantages (i.e. finger flexibility, brain plasticity, etc...) to help them learn faster. However, in my view, progressing on the violin is principally about solving problems. This is one area where adults have a significant advantage: most adults have "problem solving" skills far (!) beyond those of any child, no matter how gifted.

Bottom line: it depends on many factors and it's impossible to generalize. Different children will learn at a different pace, just as will different adults. But, as you indicate, committing to mindful practice is key in all cases and both children and adults can progress at a satisfying clip.

It's not a race and - as far as I am concerned and for the vast majority of violinist as well - it's not about the destination. It's about the journey which will be different for children and adults, but just as satisfying and rewarding.

April 26, 2019 at 06:31 PM · I'm not a teacher; but from my own personal experience as a kid beginner, and based on what I've read from adult beginners on this site, I voted "both." My sense is that it depends on individual ability, self-motivation, and consistency of practice.

Any adult who begins studying violin, which has a long, steep learning curve, has to have this ingredient of self-motivation. Even as a kid, I definitely had it -- violin lessons were my idea. For context: I was already in school, able to read and write; and I'd already had basic piano instruction, so I could read music. These factors undoubtedly helped.

Now, whether I could have learned as fast as I did on violin if I'd started as an adult -- that's anyone's guess. What can slow down our progress, once we're grown, is that, even though we may have the same motivation and learning facility, we also have a lot more on our minds. So it might well be harder to block out time for practice -- and harder to block out other things from our minds during practice.

April 26, 2019 at 06:37 PM · I started to learn to play the violin at 51, at the same time a girl started in the same school at 8 years.

Now, 5 years later, she is practicing Rieding's opus 35 and I'm in the opus 34, so the same level after 5 years.

Of course, that doesn't mean we have the same aptitudes, which depend on individual characteristics and maybe on the age. She has it easier with vibrato, I get a little more expressive playing even if not so precise in tune as she is.

Overall, I think the "same pace" alternative represents better my experience.

Wolfgang

April 26, 2019 at 06:54 PM · I had to answer both because I don't think you can answer the question as posed. The reason is that children learn faster in some things and adults in others. Pure motor skills are learned much faster at a young age. However, adults, in particular motivated adults can apply their aged-skills to learning and may outperform the children (I can't say for sure, I don't think the right study has been done).

April 26, 2019 at 06:59 PM · I have a perspective on this as someone who studied violin very seriously as a child (but decided not to major in music), and then returned to studies 30 years later as an empty-nester.

I used to think (because I was told) that if technique wasn't mastered early as a child, it could never be learned later as an adult.

What I have experienced is kind of the opposite. As a mature person I have a much more analytical approach to violin studies and I have been able to learn technique and learn difficult music just miles beyond what I was able do as a teenager. I practice better now, I finger more intelligently, I realize problems will yield to persistent effort. Instead of looking at a nasty passage and thinking I'll never play that, I think -- other violinists learned to play it, so I can figure it out too. If it's in the repertoire, it is probably playable.

There may be physical limitations to being an adult but I haven't really run into them. At nearly 60, my left hand agility and speed is far beyond what I could do at 17, and my right hand is more flexible and supple. (Who knows, at 65 or 70 it may be a different story).

I think the biggest obstacle for adult learners is simply time and patience. You HAVE to have 1-3 hours a day to spend practicing, you have to have the stamina to practice well, and you have to play every day, and most working adults in America don't have that much time available. And you have to understand that technique isn't learned in days or weeks -- you have to think months and years.

But if you practice patiently and thoughtfully and give your brain time to assimilate some things, your technique does advance and it doesn't stop advancing. At least that's my experience.

Frequently -- almost every week -- I have the joyful experience of being able to revisit a piece of music -- a movement of unaccompanied Bach, or a quartet or orchestra part, or a difficult etude -- and be able to play it better than I ever have before. And that helps keep me motivated to keep practicing and learning.

April 26, 2019 at 07:43 PM · I was told by multiple teachers that I was too old to start when I was 12-13 because I'd never learn the motor skills. Obviously that hasn't been true. While children may learn fine motor skills more easily, adults more than compensate for that because they can take a more analytical approach and have a better understanding of the principles behind the techniques they're learning.

I answered "both" because it depends on how you measure "faster." I'd argue that adults learn more efficiently and need fewer hours of practice to reach a certain level. But children, once they develop the attention span for it, are able to devote many more hours to practice than working adults do, so can reach advanced levels in fewer years.

April 26, 2019 at 08:19 PM · While I clicked "both" the real question becomes what one understands what it means to "learn" anything. When it comes to string instruments, and violin in particular, I go back to the story in the NY Times that found a former prodigy who now goes by the name "Chandler" and claims that he doesn't play the violin that he still has and seems to be in amazingly good condition.

He stepped off the stage because he claimed that his performing was akin to the skills of a trained monkey - amazing but lacking something as well.

Yes, I see a lot of young musicians play through reams of music pitch perfect and precise. But their interpretation of the emotional content of the music is absent. Like the younger incarnation of Mr. Chandler, he could wow the audience but had no concept of what it all meant.

As one of the Late-Starters I came to the instrument wanting a different level of understanding that went beyond the technical skill - I wanted to learn how to play the melody lines of hymns (this is still a source of joy to me as are show tunes, movie themes and duets written for violins). But I wanted to express my emotional connection with the music as well. My analytical brain wanted to understand the bio-mechanics of how to play and how the instrument works.

A young person brings a pretty blank slate to the teacher, an adult brings a specific set of curiosities and goals that the child cannot. The child may play all the notes faster than the adult, but the adult, albeit playing the same notes, is making a whole different kind of music.

I often wonder how many of the young musicians I know today will still be playing their instrument 40 years from now. Yet, I know other late starters who, like me, continue to play decades after the wunderkind walked away from the instrument to pursue something else.

April 26, 2019 at 09:24 PM · I don't think I can even vote on this. I've taught private strings for 27 years and I still haven't figured out the answer to that question. There are widely varying rates of learning in all ages - I don't think you can say one age group learns faster. Many adults have "life get in the way" of practicing, or a preconception that because they're older, they won't have to work as hard, then they get discouraged because they're not an overnight sensation. Many kids don't have the discipline to practice, or parents who ensure they do it. I believe if I have to make a generalization, it's that kids' bodies learn faster, and adults' minds learn faster. However, I've found that if an adult has played any other instrument at any time in their lives, it makes teaching the body as an adult beginner much easier!

April 26, 2019 at 09:38 PM · i started at age 69 on violin, was already an accomplished pianist.

a problem was the prejudice of my violin teacher, who believed that

kids learn better and faster. I tried to prove him wrong, and reached

book 4 (which I hated) after 6 years. yet, it has been a great

experience and one I never expected late in life. this same violin

teacher inspired him with his beautiful playing! Now, i am working

on the Bach double and playing lots of fun fiddle music in jam

sessions....

April 26, 2019 at 10:16 PM · I think it's all about neuroplasticity. Having said that, I think I might make myself a neuroplasticizer. Also known as a martini.

April 26, 2019 at 10:25 PM · Umm... obviously children. There's no competition here.

Adults only tend to THINK they progress faster because they're capable of having an ego, whereas a child just does what they do because they do it (which usually includes a couple of years of awful crunching followed by a sudden massive jump in progress).

April 27, 2019 at 12:28 AM · Learning speed differs between children and adults in different elements. Children quicker on mechanics due to more flexible muscles; adults in mental understanding, counting and interpretation; adults get impatient with physical adaptation. AGREE DEPENDS ON PRACTICE WILLINGNESS.

Ruth Albright

April 27, 2019 at 04:29 AM · I could only guess an answer, and it is indeed a complex one given the multiplicity of factors involved in learning such a skill. Naturally a child benefits from neuroplasticity, still developing proprioception and motor skill, hence better placed to acquire and maintain the finess of control that lead to better tone, better tempo, better speed etc. Children also benefit from simplicity of life with little to no responsibilities getting in the way. What they lack however is focus and attention (most kids anyway). They are easily distracted (except for the rare kid) and rarely self motivated. This is where perhaps the adult learner can overcome what they lack in mental and physical flexibility. I think both adults and children can develop at somewhat equal speed up to a point where the maturing child will leap way ahead of the adult learner.

April 27, 2019 at 04:50 AM · I voted "both" but really it isn't that simple. In my experience, children and adults have differently shaped learning curves. At the beginning, an adult is likely to be learning faster than a very young child, but a child who starts at age five or six and who practices diligently is likely to have a fairly steep learning curve by age eleven or so while the adult's learning curve is more typically linear.

April 27, 2019 at 06:08 AM · A most intriguing and difficult Question, I haven't yet voted because learning at any age has compelling 'agenda's' behind it which clears or blocks the way for willing reception of expert teaching ~

A child is less fearful which liberates him/her from 'mistakolgy'! Having just coined the previous word, an Adult 'beginner' often retains long ago 'violinistic technique ideas = 'baggage', which rule the mind's perception of 'How it is done', thusly interfering with new upon acquaintance or 'tried & truer' ways to hold the instrument, the Bow & begin making a sound or relearning the 'How's of playing a scale or piece learned maybe years prior in a school string forum or from well meaning violin or orchestra teacher/s ~ So late presently, I shall try returning on Saturday to make some suggestions/recommendations.To be sure, the question posed is a difficult one because one is, if the truth be told, comparing Apples to Oranges ... Individual learning and re-enactment of the nervous system in both hands & the mind visualisation greatly depends on the 'New'; the Interest Level; the degree of genuine love/like of the chosen string instrument & Motivation of The Person who is wanting to play? Whether it be parents of a child or a returning to the violin adult following a sustained absence, many issues (some of which cannot be known) greatly influence learning and Learning Healthy ~

For now, I bid all adieu & hope time allows us a continuation in addressing this very interesting and vitally important subject ...

Sending best musical wishes to everyone & Mary Ellen Goree!

Elisabeth Matesky *

*Veteran Violinist / Heifetz-Milstein artist-pupil/ Artist Teacher

of Violin, String Cousin's + String w/ Piano Chamber Music

April 27, 2019 at 07:47 AM · There's probably also a significant difference between adult returners and adults who are learning for the first time. I note that I am assuming an adult who is learning for the first time, while Elisabeth Matesky is assuming an adult returner.

April 27, 2019 at 11:40 AM · I have not voted on this question because the situation is much more complicated than a three way answer.

- As Mary Ellen points out adults and children learn at different tempi at different stages of the learning process.

- Lets leave aside people who return to lessons after having abandoned the violin for a serious amount of time. They are a completely different set.

- But there are also those with a basic understanding of the relevant music theory and those without (both for children and adults--I started at eleven, having had recorder lessons before and knowing the theory far beyond the necessities of a beginner). Plus there are those who have already learned to play an instrument and want to add the violin to their "resume" or switch to the violin.

- There is the related question: Can adults reach the same level of accomplishment that children are able to? My answer would be no. The older they are the more physical limitations will be there; a 60 year old beginner's hand will be unlikely to ever finger a tenth, probably even a ninth (I used to be able to do tenths as a kid--just barely. Now? No way!).

Finally another related question: Are adults harder to teach than children? I'd guess yes (but I don't know). I think adults will click around in youtube and get advice from those unfiltered sources and/or develop the urge to learn some preferred technique or repertoire. This may get in the way of a clean and well planned curriculum and is probably difficult to navigate even for experienced teachers.

April 27, 2019 at 12:05 PM · Attention: Abrecht Zumbrunn ~

To write that a 60 year old will Never be able to stretch a Tenth or even a Ninth (btw, ninths are most often found in the scores of violin concerti repertoire of my Mother's mentor, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg or even Korngold!) yet either of these fingering configurations are Not obtained by mind visualization of stretching Up from the Bottom Note or 'home-plate' anchor note) & is truly misleading, darkly discouraging & I know not to be the case! If your understanding is in stretching from the 1st finger up to the higher note, Few at any age will be able to do this after youthful pliancy leaves the left hand, & implies even if a truly gifted savant violin 'baby' can, if taught to stretch Up, it will be very rough on a 60 year aged left hand!

In my short comments above, I mention Expert Teaching. This is absolutely imperative to sustain a healthy & lengthy violinist playing life span!! (Both my mentor's played well into their '70's & '80's!)

Dear Sir, please try avoiding discouraging many due to what I'm perceiving as a still carrying around in your head limited idea on the 'How's' of violin technique as passed on to me by both my mentor's, Jascha Heifetz & Nathan Milstein ~ You are more than capable of learning healthy ways of playing both

Tenths & Ninths, Now! Call your Musicians Union Local & ask a reference of 2 or 3 highly respected Pro violinist's in the City Orchestra or Town Symphony who were violinistically trained at an NASM recognised Conservatory or University, who Love Teaching!

My very best wishes to you to find a highly sought professional violinist/teacher who has the love & knowledge to teach pupil's irregardless of Age, How It Is Done! I Understand ~ Adding on to play a Tenth or Ninth, Plant the 4th (pinky) finger on the Top note, then hold whilst reaching back down to the Low note with

the 1st Finger, having Put your Violin inbetween a door & wall to Lock/Anchor hold fiddle in as securely as possible. At first, do Not use the Bow (no room anyway.) & just feel a "Reach Back" down from Anchor 4th Finger (let's say D on E String's 3rd pos. to B on the A String. This is a Tenth. Try gently & feel it okay to reach back w/the 1st finger. The left hand will open up but one mustn't try to plant the 1st Finger on B natural on A String & Try reaching Up to D on E String w/ 4th Finger. This will hurt & is a root cause of many violinists/violists 'ills', who then convince themselves playing a Tenth isn't possible! IT IS if you follow my suggestion exactly!) Do try opening up your thoughts so you can experience authentic break-throughs in your thus far avoided violin technique. Use my name if in LA or NY w/the Leader or Concertmaster of either great orchestra & say EM offered this who studied with Jascha Heifetz in his JH Violin Master Class now on YouTube & in London, privately, with Nathan Milstein for 3 & 1/2 years ... )

Sending you every good violin playing blessing ~

Elisabeth Matesky *

*reference ~ https://youtu.be/M54U-P-Vs9g (Jascha Heifetz

V.M.C. ~ Khachaturian, JH-7, EM)

April 27, 2019 at 04:13 PM · This I think is a misunderstanding. What I meant is that an old hand with no experience can not be expected to be as flexible and teachable as a young hand. I was not talking about lifelong violinists suddenly losing their ability.

Violin players ask a lot of their hands and many of the profession's injuries are due to the stresses on hands and arms that are unavoidable. When I say I can't do tenths any more I mean I am not willing to take risks for something that 99% of the repertoire that interests me does not require anyway. I have been playing for 55 years with never an injury and I intend to keep it that way.

And BTW I know one stretches those fingerings from 4th finger down--or at least they are easier to achieve that way.

April 27, 2019 at 06:00 PM · @Albrecht Zumbrunn ~

I did Not misunderstand at all ... Your lack of playing injury is admirable! But we can't help those who forget fully revealing or describing exactly whom & what weakness/s he/she are speaking of & about due to the many keen and loving violin aficionados reading this & many of Editor Laurie Niles' articles who are hoping to learn more ~

Interested, where do you play? Are you in a major or regional orchestra? With whom did you study? I have required much of my hands but been blessed to be given the greatest violinists' 'secrets' which I gladly share with my pupil's & in Violin Master Classes here in the U.S, London & when in Helsinki, FI, at the Sibelius Academy of Music, + offer help to poor disadvantaged kids if in need ... (And I'm not speaking of Schoenberg, Berg or Korngold plus all major violin concerti repertoire), but enabling ideas on Schradieck, Kreutzer, single file scales including their arpeggios, thirds,4ths,5ths, 6ths, etc., etc.!! It always comes back to Basic's, and Bowing which is more often than not an inflexible idea & misunderstood subject. Time to leave off, but one playing professionally with no injuries for 55 years is Gold accomplishment plus to be applauded, and I for one, stand up & applaud you!!

Very best wishes ~

Elisabeth Matesky *

*Are you by chance in Europe?!

April 27, 2019 at 07:11 PM · I have one adult late starter student that is playing very well and improving quickly. He practices! He has better self-disciple and determination than I ever had. I think that adults can advance just as quickly as children at the lower technical grade levels IF they can find the energy and time for daily practice, and appreciate the difficulty of their new hobby. At the higher technical levels it will be different. There is probably no substitute for learning to play an instrument while the body and brain are still developing. Stretches? - have a lot to do with anatomy and proper mechanics - just watch a cellist do 1st finger extensions, or a bass player doing pivots from the thumb and 2nd finger.

April 27, 2019 at 07:27 PM · For Andrew Heish ~

Dear Andrew,

You may be partially correct with your comment pointing out I was assuming an Adult Returner coming back to further violin study ~ Let us for the sake of argument, say I was thinking this might be the Adult Learner as opposed to a Child Learner, yet in my responses thus far, and trying to ascertain exactly whom we are being asked to vote for and, for myself, having thus far deferred voting because I realise Learning is - after all is said and done, a truly individual experience and unlike a conveyor belt turn out of Same Size Fits All, couldn't be further from the Truth vis a vie violin playing/ music making!!! Some very wise comments were made by George Wells, who refers us to a savant violinist authentic 'case' as quoted from a NY Times article on a prodigy who was 'amazing', yet later changed his name to Chandler, deferring to say he was a violinist ... Please read George Wells' intriguing Reply as in my experience & that of my Grandfather in San Fran,who taught amongst other's, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern (a bit) & world renowned prodigy in the '30's, Grisha Gulaboff, who endured several nervous break downs from early childhood adulation & fame, yet later on determined to spend years digging himself out of many psychological holes to eventually resurrect his newer self into a healthy wonderful Violinist transformed person-hood and a happily married man & father using his gifts to support his Family 'Light Years' away from the Prodigy Life which nearly caused a suicide ... More on all of this, tbc ~

Must leave off, but thank everyone for great input here and truly well thought through ideas which make me think!!

Musically yours from America, for now ~

Elisabeth Matesky

April 27, 2019 at 07:32 PM · Attention: Joel Quivey

Just saw your Reply and this is exciting!!! You neglected to mention being one of the most keenly gifted & analytical fine violinists & teachers on West Coast America!!! Your pupil is, indeed, more than fortunate to be receiving expert instruction & 'How's' of practising when leaving your Univ. studio! Bravo, dear Joel!!

Snow Greetings from further East ...

Elisabeth Matesky *

*Keep in touch ~

April 28, 2019 at 06:17 AM ·

Aside to the others;-- E.M. kindly overestimates my abilities. Thank you. IF I have a better than average teaching skills, it might be because I started moderately late (age 12), learned a lot of things the hard way, and I do have a deliberately mechanical approach to playing, partly because I was a math/chemistry major for awhile. The worthless, subjective verbiage in some of the technical books about violin playing really annoys me. I won't mention their famous names.

April 28, 2019 at 07:47 AM · Sad fact is that at least 90% of beginners, children or adults, give up within two years; many in a short time.

So we can only compare the internally or externally motivated ones who continue. After ten years I suspect any child beginners still playing are at a higher level than ‘ten-year’ adults who have settled into a comfortable level of playing.

By way of comparison this question is often raised regarding foreign language learning. And it’s just as hard to answer!

Terry

April 28, 2019 at 05:12 PM · I haven’t read all the comments, but...

It’s hard to get kids to play WELL, and it’s hard to get adults to play FAST. It’s a matter of priorities and approach, experience, insight, maturity, self-awareness, self- and goal management

The original question is largely insignificant, unless (the kid is) aiming for a professional performing career. It which case, 99% of students are learning too slowly compared to that 8-year old who plays Paganini 24 flawlessly (and not even s/he will have a career, considering the odds of a faster/better/more marketable 7-year old working even hard(er) to take their place at the first opportunity...)

April 28, 2019 at 05:54 PM · As a parent who learned piano and then violin alongside my child for the first time, I know firsthand that the rapid learning of children in contrast to the slow learning of adults, where assumed, is a myth. It was years before my son (who is not less capable than me; to the contrary) surpassed me, and I helped him do it.

April 28, 2019 at 06:29 PM · Reply re Joel Quivey's suggestion of my over exaggeration ~

"If you can do it you can teach it; if you can't do it you can't teach it ..." Quote of Ralph Matesky, New York City born Top violinist, Juilliard Grad; Columbia Univ. Masters in Composition under Roger Sessions; USC Masters in Composition; Protege of Mishel Piastro & Eduoard Dethier (Eugen Ysaye Apostle); film Score Composer, Paramount Pictures & RKO Studios; Composer/co collaborator with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in "Prayer for Peace" famed Radio Address to The Nation Broadcast in WWII, set to Music for a 105 full piece Orchestra & 220 Voice Choir - Music by Ralph Matesky, Text by President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, premiered at the Hollywood Bowl, Live Broadcast to National Acclaim; Acclaimed String Teacher & 'Father' of the Youth Orchestra movement in America; National President of ASTA (American String Teachers Association); ASCAP Awardee 30 Years running; 'silent' creator/doer of now known 'El Sistema', asked by/then helping Venezuelan Minister of Music Education develop Ralph Matesky's String Teaching Techniques for Teaching All Strings & Young Orchestras; USC Prof of String Ed for All Music Majors; composer of Ralph Matesky String Quartet, Op.1, premiered by Great Violinist, Toscha Seidel's String Quartet to huge critical acclaim, requiring 48 Rehearsals prior to its World Premiere at USC, termed, 'in same league as Bartok's String Quartets'; Principle Violin Teacher of daughter, Elisabeth Matesky, who then was invited by Jascha Heifetz, to be 1 of just 7 artist - pupils in his original Jascha Heifetz Violin Master Class at USC's Institute for Special Music Studies, 3 Days Weekly, 6 hours per day + Chamber Music w/ Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky & William Primrose, every Friday & Second Violinist to 1st Violinist, Jascha Heifetz, William Primrose,Viola & Violoncellist, Gregor Piatigorsky, on occasion, & launch of the Elisabeth Matesky Solo Violin Concert Career in London's Wigmore Hall & in Brahms' Violin Concerto under Conductor, Sir Adrian Boult; London BBC Recording Artist in Radio and Television + all UK affiliates: listed on Artist Roster of Wilfrid Van Wyck, Ltd., w/Ruggiero Ricci, Henryk Szeryng & Nathan Milstein, Violinists; Arthur Rubinstein & Alicia de Larrocha, Pianists, etc., & International Concert/performing & recording career upon Best Solo Bach Awardee in Sibelius Int'l Violin Competition, Helsinki, FI, + invitation from All Five Daughters of Jean Sibelius, to perform the 'Adagio di molto' Mov't of 'our father's Violin Concerto' in the Birth-House of Jean Sibelius on The Centenery of Sibelius & Finnish Government proclamation of The Master's Birth House inaugurated the 'Sibelius National Memorial Museum' on December 8, for the 100th Birthday of Sibelius, in Hameenlinna, FI, filmed/broadcast, live, throughout Finland, Scandinavia & Continental Europe/ Speech of eldest Sibelius Daughter w/Thanks plus then ailing Madame Sibelius' Gift to Elisabeth Matesky of her homegrown flowers from her garden 'as a present for playing our father's slow movement from his Violin Concerto on His 100th Birthday, Ms. Matesky.', etc., etc. If my playing & teaching render me over effusive, especially after 3 & 1/2 Years Private Artist-Pupil Studies with Nathan Milstein at least twice weekly for no less than 3 & 1/2 to 4 hours at a time, + invited to be Mr. Milstein's p.t. help- assistant for European pupils asking extra tips on NM bowing ideas in the Nathan Milstein International Violin Master Course in Zurich, ('70/'71/'72), then my artistic judgement is greatly uninformed & impaired ~

Sincerely with Music in my Heart . . .

Elisabeth Matesky

Sunday, April 28, 2019 ~

*reference only: https://youtu.be/M54U-P-Vs9g (Jascha

Heifetz V.M.C. - Khachaturian, JH-7, Elisabeth Matesky)

April 28, 2019 at 11:03 PM · A key phrase that needs to be used here for a meaningful comparison: "ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL" .

A child who is as motivated, focused and talented as the adult, will likely progress to a higher level over a 10,000 hour learning period simply because a young person's brain and hands tend to be more flexible. Also, young people tend to be fearless and adults tend to be conservative and play it safe.

Having said that, you the teacher, are an enormous influencer in their rate of progress. I started at age 13 almost 14 and progressed to a completed grade 9 Royal Conservatory level, before graduating high school at the age of 18. I can't tell you how many times my teachers told me that I started too late and that I was doomed to fail. This mental programming, that I read right here on this forum, is horrible and these teachers are in many ways guilty of dooming their students to fail. It doesn't matter whether they go on and make music a career. What's most important to that child's self confidence, is progressing in the best way they can, and then allowing them to choose their own path as an adult. Allow young people to dream big. Most will find their own path whether its in music or not.

April 29, 2019 at 12:10 AM · This is a hard question. I know that adults have more responsibilities and sometimes "practice" takes a back seat. Sometimes there just isn't time. Sometimes we are just too mentally exhausted. If children have supportive parents, they are given the time to practice. Children don't have to do laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. etc. ! Learning new things IS their job!

April 29, 2019 at 12:36 AM · Hmmm...I think of Rivka Mandelkern, 1st vln section in the Buffalo Phil....she was an accomplished soloist, lost a couple fingers on her left hand....had a rightie-violin built for her right here in Buffalo, and resumed playing, bowing with the left hand....Heard her do the Brahms Double with one of the Phil's cellists a few years later...she was probably in her 50's when she was forced to 'switch'....so IT CAN BE DONE....while the musical knowledge and note reading were not damaged, I can only imagine the Herculean effort, physically and mentally, to resume the prior excellence.

April 29, 2019 at 01:05 AM · Not sure that I agree with this argument about available time for adults. In this day and age, how much time to we waste sitting in front of our many devices when we could be standing in front of a music stand? Most children don't have a lot of time either. Their helicopter parents have them engaged in a multitude of extra curricular activities in addition to their true full time job - School!

As adults, some of us go through periods in our life where our time is completely occupied, however is this true for the entirety of our working adult life, or is this really just an excuse?

High School was a bit of a struggle for me. Despite progressing as rapidly as I did on the violin, I was still limited to an hour a day of practice in the final two years of High School.

So, if the child and the adult, with equal talent, and equal motivation, and the same teacher, can only practice one hour a day, who will progress at a faster rate?

Sorry, I'm trying to reduce this question into a more meaningful comparison. We can't determine who is a faster learner unless we reduce the comparison to only those issues that truly differentiate a child from an adult.

April 29, 2019 at 04:03 PM · @-# 174.... I also only had time in the high school years for one hour per day practicing. I was taking all of those college prep. classes. Violinists in a non-music major will probably find zero time for practice. Even when I was a Music/violin major there was one point when I found the classes to be a nuisance, so I dropped out for a year, just did lessons, playing and practicing, and made better progress. Looking back at my old appointment books, I see that my most interesting and productive years were when I did Not own a TV, (or computer).

April 29, 2019 at 05:45 PM · I believe children have an advantage since music is, imho, a language, their mind's, are like a fresh slate, music/playing will incorporate as a part of them more fully, broadly. Their bodies are developing, and will develop around the instrument(s). They will me molded more whole souled, mind & body. adults... it's a remolding, refitting and can be limited as to how much we can be remolded, refitted. But a child, they're made into the instrument and role of such right from the get-go.

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