I was a Suzuki kid from age 3 – so my childhood was filled with people exclaiming how wonderful and talented and cute I was for playing the violin. Everything was going great. I was very serious about violin but still having fun. In 6th grade I was accepted into the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and steadily moved up the ranks. In 7th grade I was a first violin in the 2nd level orchestra. In 8th grade I moved up to the 3rd level orchestra (and was one of the youngest members) but I was in the back of the 2nd violin section. Now, this messed with my head. I was comparing myself to other violinists, the majority of them in High School, and I was getting frustrated because I wasn't moving up as fast as I had before. To make a long story short, a severe doubt in myself combined with a sudden lack of parental support meant that I quit violin at age 14. Something I will always regret.
I later returned to the violin, but something happens when you grow up and are no longer a cute kid. When you play violin as an amateur adult, people don't gasp in amazement like they do when you're playing Vivaldi at age 10. They just expect you know how to play. When I came back to the violin in my 20s, it was extremely frustrating. I went through the range of emotions – regret, sadness, depression, who cares, anxiety, panic, what's the point, it's too late for me, and so on.
If anybody else is in this boat – I want to tell you what saved me. Finding a great teacher. There were so many years I spent “trying to be as good as I was when I was 14” to no avail. I fought against myself and my instrument. My goal to finish the Suzuki books seemed impossible on my own. I found a great teacher in September 2014, at age 32. I came in brushing up on Book 5, and after working very hard and attending weekly lessons, 3 months later I'm at the end of Book 6.
Don't spend as many years as I did trying to do it on your own. Find a great teacher and you will be back on track, enjoying your violin journey, and all the regret and frustration will fade away. Promise.
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