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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: How old were you when you began the violin?

August 24, 2007 at 4:35 PM

At what age did you begin playing this addictive and life-altering instrument, the violin?

From Linda L
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 5:16 PM
Six :)
From Mara Gerety
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 5:18 PM
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 5:34 PM
Seven, but I was in 4th grade, and it was in the public school program. Most of the other kids who started with me were around 9.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 6:13 PM
10, with 4 years of piano before that.

Wow, 27 years of practicing, and violin is still more and more interesting...

From Richard Hellinger
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 6:55 PM
9 :)... I would have liked to start earlier but my parents couldn't afford to buy the instrument and lessons, so I had to what until they were both offered through the school.
From Tara Shaw
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 8:33 PM
Nine, in 5th grade, at my elementary school. I actually wanted to start the year before but didn't understand that I could. All of this was a shocker to my parents, so they weren't much help until I begged and begged.

Then I quit after high school and started again just this past December. (Age 36)

From Jason Hurwitz
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 8:59 PM
I was 5 when I started playing. I actually wanted to start playing at the age of 3 when I saw Itzhak Perlman play for Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, but my mom said it was too much responsibility at that age. She told me that if I was still asking when I turned five, she would let me start. Apparently she put me on the waiting list for the local Suzuki program while I was still 3 though :-)
From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 9:12 PM
Because most of us began between 6-10 it is better to split this poll up
so something like:
How old were you when you started playing the violin?
Age 1,2
Age 3,4
Age 4,5
age 6
age 7
age 8
age 9
age 10 etc
From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 24, 2007 at 11:57 PM
Hmmmm. Perhaps after we see the results of this one we can do a more specific one!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 1:06 AM
From Sydney Menees
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 2:59 AM
Um, what if we started playing at exactly 5? The only options are under five and 6-10...
From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 3:09 AM
Sorry, I meant "five and under"!
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 3:14 AM
Several of my students started playing violin at ages between 50 and 65. My oldest beginner is 69, and he steals the show at jam sessions by improvising on his fiddle.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 3:18 AM
He needs to come take our poll, we need some representation in the over 60 field! I have a student who started at about age 50.
From Jami Geimer
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 7:05 AM
8, almost 9. I'm one year short of two decades :)
From Jamie Gregory
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 12:51 PM
I was 11 when I started playing the viola, and I switched to violin when I was 13.
From Eileen Geriak
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 12:49 PM
I started at the age of 39 and have played with others of the "just starting" older crowd in a fiddle group I used to meet with. There's a fella in that group who is 86 and has been playing for 70 years...doesn't read a note of music but can play just about anything that comes to his ear.
From Charlie Piccione
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 1:09 PM
I was 21 or so. After playing guitar and 5 String banjo and even a little mandolin. I got bored with the whole thing and decided to try a fiddle. That was 30+ years ago and I have never been bored since. I still have my Guitar and Banjo but I now have 31 Fiddles/Violins that I have been collecting through the years. I guess I should begin to part with a few soon!
From Arthur Haule
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 1:11 PM
Which time? I started at 9 in public school. I put it away after college. I picked it up again when I was about 30 briefly. I struggled through some Christmas performances at church for 15 years. Then I picked it up again half-heartedly a couple years back. Finally I started playing weekly in my church orchestra within the last year. I'm 52 now! Each time I pick the violin up after a hiatus it FEELS like I am beginning all over again!
From Joseph Veilleux
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 1:24 PM
I started at 43. I'm glad to see a small spike in my age category. I actually started on drums a few years back but decided they were not for me. I wish I had started violin back when I was a yung-un, but there was no extra curricular activites for me because parents didn't encourage or teach me any. I learned most stuff on my own and violin was not something most kids "like" to do. At age 12, I was already taking care of younger brother.
From Deborah McCann
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 1:53 PM
I started at 11 in public schools, but wanted to play something from a much younger age (I can't remember not wanting to play). My parents could not afford for me to start any younger and after I did they scarificed greatly for me to make it happen.
From Christina Wilke
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 2:04 PM
I started at 9 in the public schools program. Where I lived, you could start at 8, but I had just moved to the area so I was a year behind everyone. It made me work extra hard- I wanted to make sure that I wasn't left behind by the time I was 10!
From Rick Savadow
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 1:59 PM
I was 7 & I quit when I was 18. I went back 35 years later at 53 (I'm 62 now), inspired by the Swedish Polska tunes I was dancing to, and also, my 9 year old son had started taking lessons & I wanted to play with him. Now I can't put it down. And yes, my son has kept his interest in it too. He plays electric fiddle in a death metal band, and plays my music too. I am starting to play more classical in the mix.
From Liana Goldsmith
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM
ripe ol' age of 3 ;)
From Steffen Zeichner
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 2:53 PM
5 here :) Started out on a tissue box and empty paper towel roll!
From Brian Allen
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 3:25 PM
I Started when I was three, but I am a second generation violinist. My dad started in the 5th grade at age 10.
From Brian Miller
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 4:03 PM
I grew up in an Amish Mennonite church that did not allow musical instruments, so I did not start till I was 22.
From Jack Krumbein
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 4:50 PM
I was 5 in Germany... I studied with the principal violist of the Frankfurt Opera... Before that I played recorder in my Mother's Carl Orf class at the conservatory... music is my life...
From Catherine Fairweather Beck
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 4:57 PM
My husband's grandmother started at 84! She was also still living on her own, standing on counters to paint her kitchen cabinets. She was quite a woman!
From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 7:24 PM
Brian, I think you need to write a blog! ;)
From Barbara Merrell
Posted on August 25, 2007 at 8:14 PM
My elementary school started band in 5th grade, but when I was in 6th (age 11) they started a district-wide orchestra program. But my son started under age 5. Could you divide up 11-15 as 11-13 is usually upper elementary into middle school or junior high and 14-15 is usually in high school - quite a jump.
From P.H Brackenbury
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 1:51 AM
46 =P
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 2:36 AM
I started when I was 5. My first lessons were on one of the cardboard box violins. I can still remember how excited I was the day my teacher let my use the real one! =)
From Roxanne Gutierrez
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 6:13 AM
I was 14 when I started playing the violin although I wanted to learn since I was 4.. I'm now 18 and a college junior majoring in Violin.
From Priscilla Purnick
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 7:11 AM
9 in public school (when everyone started an instrument). I chose clarinet as my first choice, but they ran out. Violin was my second choice....however they didn't have enough violins at first so I started learning violin on a viola. You are so right that it is a highly addictive and life-altering instrument! I put it down completely for over a 10 year period and was miserable!
From Bonny Buckley
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 3:57 PM
Sometime between 1 and 5 years old I really got into dressing up in ballerina costumery (I was in a ballet class) and danced around the house listening to old 33rpm records of symphonic music. This play time was something of a ritual and the violin music snuck into my life when I was too little to know just what I was getting myself into! I knew I wanted to play the violin before I even knew what one was. The strange thing is, I don't think I ever played on a fraction-sized violin. I can only remember ever having my great-grandfather's old hand me down full sized Sears and Roebuck Strad copy as a kid.
From Rick Barker
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 6:57 PM
In grade 4 at school. But my grandfather played violin and cello and my dad played violin, so I'd say I was learning about it long before I actually started playing myself.
From Kristin Mortenson
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 7:19 PM
I was one month shy of 8 when I started violin. My parents "stuck me on violin" because I was quite tiny (then...sigh) and they didn't think I would be big enough to play piano. Really, though, I think they had me play violin so I could practice in my room while my sister was doing her time on the piano in the living room. The fact that I am left handed was another deciding factor--they thought that would make violin easier. When I was in late elementary school I wanted to play a band instrument and they flatly refused to allow it! I guess they knew what they were doing... :-)
From Patrick Lee
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 8:37 PM
Started the violin when looking for another type of recorder at 12 years after finishing with the descant( rather quickly) an alto recorder when the chap in the shop suggested to take up the violin which is more challenging. So this started a life-long affair Still playing!!
From Oliver Bedford
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 8:58 PM
Bang on 10, but had to stop lessons at 15 because of other study priorities.
From Bernadette Hawes
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 9:20 PM
Started at age 11 at secondary school but don't remember why. I had a borrowed full size which was too big, and no shoulder rest and never quite got the hang of it. My mum actively discouraged my efforts at practising every day till I gave up some time after 1 year. Then at age 45 I heard a piece on classic fm tv that I had played in the school orchestra, found out you could get shoulder rests to hold it up properly and just HAD to find out how I'd get on having the right set up. It's now 18 months later and I'm still hooked ... Though to get through the discouraging times (it is a slog at times) I promised myself I WOULD NOT GIVE UP for at least five years and see how much progress I made if any..
This site keeps me going too... THANKS!
From Bart Meijer
Posted on August 28, 2007 at 9:23 AM
One of my first memories is of my parents playing violin duets together while dancing to the music they made, and having marvellous fun. I must have been very young. After that I wanted to play the violin too, but I was too young and had to wait until I was seven. I remember making "violins" from cigar boxes and pieces of string during those years, and being disappointed because I could not play on them.

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