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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Was starting violin lessons your decision, or someone else's decision?

January 28, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Who made the decision that you would have violin lessons? You? Your parents? Someone else?

As for me, I begged my mom, each step of the way: first to allow me to try the violin at school, then to take private lessons, then more private lessons, etc.

Thanks to Suzuki, many people are so young when they start that it's more of a parent's decision. Still, I've met a few three-year-olds who had the crazy idea all on their own and kept pestering mom and dad until it happened! How was it with your decision to play the violin?

BTW, Thanks to member Jim Hastings for letting me use his discussion idea for the Weekend Vote!

From Tara S.
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 8:14 PM

I begged (to take the orchestra class in elementary school) for a year, and my mother finally relented. To this day my parents are baffled by my interest and love for the instrument.

I didn't get the private lessons until I could afford them on my own, in my late 30s. ;-)

From Janis Cortese
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Same with piano.  I nagged my parents unmercifully for a piano from the time I was very, very wee.

The viola, I'm still not sure what happened.  Oh I have a couple general ideas, but at bottom I just got a goof in my head about it, and from then on it was like, "Gimme that!  How do you play it!"

From Annette Brower
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I started violin in the 5th grade (1977).  We were the pilot class in a suburb of Detroit for a new program called, "Suzuki violin."  I had not given one thought to any instrument except the piano.  I was only taking piano because I thought it would annoy my older sister as she was taking lessons too. 

I was fascinated by violin from the very first day and begged my parents for private lessons.  They said I would have to practice 30 minutes a day.  They could have said 2 hours.  I loved everything about it and adored my teacher.  

From Sue Buttram
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

 I began in the school program in 4th grade.  I wanted to play an instrument - everyone in my family played something - but I wanted to play the flute.  Since my cousin was also going to play the flute, my parents decided I should play something else.  My dad had seen Yehudi Menuhin play and loved the sound of his violin, so I was to play the violin.  It took me a few years to see the value of that decision but I am glad they put a violin in my hands.

From Allison Fusswinkel
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I started violin in the fourth grade at school.  My lessons at school weren't very good ones due to the teachers changing every year.  My parents must have seen my interest though, b/c in eight grade they let me start taking private lessons and bought me my first violin for my eighth grade graduation gift.  This was a big thing in a family of 6!  So it was my decision to take lessons, but my parents were very supportive of it.  Not pushy either - they let me push my own buttons.

I also remember begging for piano lessons, but with such a big family they could only afford to let me take private lessons on one instrument.  To this day I still want to learn how to play the piano well.  Maybe someday - but it would end up taking time away from practicing the violin.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 9:08 PM

My decision, all mine!

I grew up listening to my Mom play piano, and evidently I begged to play piano from a very early age.  After a few years of piano lessons, I begged for violin lessons, inspired by my school's string class.  So, I happily switched.

(My older brother started piano lessons first.  A teacher was hired to come to the house once a week.  I have a vague memory of getting banned from the living room during his lessons, when I was about three or four.  The memory is mostly an impression of toxic jealousy, of wanting to have those lessons and play piano so badly that I acted, well, like a toxic, jealous three year old!)

From Arthur Haule
Posted on January 28, 2011 at 11:04 PM

 Mostly my decision. I wanted to play an instrument but was undecided between the trumpet and the violin. The music teacher let us know that they were going to offer strings, so I jumped at the chance to play the violin. Two weeks after we made the commitment to rent the violin they offered us the chance to learn trumpet. I've never regretted choosing the violin, but have often wished that I had the opportunity to learn both!

From Helen Harvey
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 1:05 AM

an excellent school music program-- they gave musical hearing tests to all third graders ('bout 8 years old).  The top students got to start a stringed instrument that year.  The rest could start  wind/brass/percussion the following year.

From Michael Divino
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 1:56 AM

 My sixth grade teacher recommended because I guess he saw my potential.  And here I am majoring in performance in college :)

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 2:35 AM

I decided myself as a late teen but wish I would have been born in a musical family that would have tried music with me way earlier...

From Erika Burns
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 3:04 AM

 My parents decided to have me take lessons when I was four, and that was only after seeing me play air violin around the house and some long discussions. The choice to continue taking was always mine, though. 

From Crystal Wan
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 6:54 AM

I disliked piano and rebelled, but I was curious about the violin and wanted to learn. My mom finally got me lessons, and I absolutely fell in love with the instrument. My only regret is that I hadn't started earlier or practiced more.

From Vincent Simanjuntak
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 7:28 AM
i started wanting to play the violin after i watched the movie titanic, at that time i really, really want to play the song of nearer my god to thee with my own hand, so i asked my mom to let me take lessons, but i was frustated by the difficulties, as first i thought it would be easy,:O and yet i've never regret anything about it.
From Julian Stokes
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I think it was my decision :-)

From marjory lange
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 1:34 PM

 Our school music program started in 3rd grade (the glorious 60s!).  I asked for a clarinet, but they had already given those out.  So I said, ok, violin, and never regretted the decision.  Later I learned that clarinet had been my parents' suggestion (they thought listening to me learn violin would be too painful!)  Violin had always been my first choice, at least that is what I was told (I don't remember things like that.  Once I'm living something, that's how it is).  

From elise stanley
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Laurie I wish you had a third catagory - 'I don't know'  because I am sure there are many of us who started so young we can't actually remember.  So I did not vote...

From Terez Mertes
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Laurie I wish you had a third catagory - 'I don't know'  because I am sure there are many of us who started so young we can't actually remember.  So I did not vote...

And then a 4th category for us who started when WE were the parents. In which the question might be either "um, WHY?" or "were your kids a part of the decision process?"

From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 4:52 PM

This is a very interesting discussion for me because my 8 year old daughter studies piano (her decision) and next year she will have to take an orchestral instrument in school.  Her school district's string teacher is great and I'm crossing my fingers that she will choose violin.  Of course, that too will be her decision.

From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Regarding myself: piano starting in 2nd grade was my mother's decision.  Violin as an adult was of course mine.

From judith s
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 5:12 PM

 It was my decision, though my mother certainly had some influence in it. I always wanted to play flute, like her, but she didn't want to teach me herself and couldn't find a different teacher, and she kept on telling me to wait. I was allowed to have piano lessons if I wanted to, but my sister already did, and I saw that she hated practicing, so that didn't look very enjoyable to me (I take them now, anyway and enjoy it immensely).

 I never really considered violin an option until my mom played at a wedding with a violinist. It was her suggestion that I play violin (which I thought was outrageous, since violin could only possibly be for the child-prodigy musical geniuses), and I started the next year, in eighth grade. I've loved it ever since (including the practicing).

From Qing Liu
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 5:19 PM

My elementary school started picking students for violin lessons at 1st grade.  I was picked.  Not my own choice.  After 12 years, I quit.  Now, I rediscovered that I love it!  I started private lessons again.  This time is my own choice.  Can I vote for both :)??

From Jenny Fischer
Posted on January 29, 2011 at 6:01 PM

My cousin started when he was 4 and he played Twinkle Twinkle at our Christmas gathering. I was 3 and I thought to myself, "If Andy can play the violin, I can too!" So I asked my parents if I could start. They waited a few months to see if I really wanted to, or if it was just some passing thing. I still wanted to, so they took me to a Suzuki teacher. My first violin was the size of the body of  a full sized violin. :)

From di allen
Posted on January 30, 2011 at 12:19 AM

the decision was mine, as i began at age 68!   my mother, who was in a nursing home, thought it was a good idea though.  sometimes i wonder if it is!  at age 7, i was started on piano - i remember a great deal of discussion among the adults about the correct age - and it was 7 -- not 6 or 8 but 7 exactly.  i was more than ready. 

From Kay Pech
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 3:00 AM

I started at age 4. My older sister was "signed up" for starting violin lessons at age 7. At the last minute she "chickened out," so my mother shamed her into it by saying "Kay will do it"..... eventually my older and younger sisters quit violin lessons, but I was sure from the very youngest years that violin playing would be my life.

From Margaret Lee
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 5:00 AM

My father wanted us (my older sister and I) to play piano, so we started early. I'm trying to remember what in the world made my sister join the music program at school and choose cello-  she wasn't as into music as i was, and didn't stay with cello for too long. I must have chosen violin a year later, in 4th grade.

From Ann Marie Cordial
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

My situation is unique.  I started playing the violin as a middle-aged adult.  But it was not my decision.  I really wanted to learn viola, after hearing my daughter bring it home from school.  However, my daughter did not want me studying the same instrument, so she complained to my husband, who promptly ordered me a violin and a violin teacher. 

His reason for doing this was to avoid any conflict between mother and daughter.  Looking back, I can see how he thought this would be a good idea - 'it LOOKS like a viola', I was told,'Only smaller.'

I was placed in violin lessons before I had time to think further on it, and I dutifully completed my lessons and played what I was told to play.  4 years later, my daughter gave up the viola, and I snatched it up as soon as she put it down.  However, it was too small for me, so I went shopping, found my dream machine, and have been playing it ever since.

---Ann Marie

From Jim Hastings
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Laurie, I'm glad you took up my idea for The Weekend Vote -- what a pleasant surprise.  Not stealing at all, in my book -- more like Laurie's Variations on a Theme by Jim.

One thing I took out, just as I was getting ready to submit the original thread, was that, before telling my parents I'd like to learn violin, I had already told a classmate.  This kid, who was taking cello lessons, told me, "Violin is a lot harder than cello."

To this day, I've never tried out a cello, so I don't have a firsthand comparison; but what he said somehow appealed to the little swashbuckler in me, and I welcomed the challenge.  Several months before starting lessons, I was actually playing simple tunes on a small fiddle.  If you asked me how I managed to pull this off, I'd be at a loss to describe it.  But somehow, I did manage it.

From David Wood
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 3:51 PM

My mother was determined I should learn piano. I had other ideas and it was my decision to start violin at the age of 12 when my school offered free evening classes and free loan instruments.  That was 52 years ago.  I still can't play piano though!  Maybe I should have adopted a compromise with my parents.

From Ann Miller
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 4:24 PM

My daughter begged for violin lessons, and we ended up with Suzuki - with one teacher at age 3, and then when that didn't work out, with another at age 4 - for her, that is.  I started with her at 40, and would never have done so if she didn't want to, so it was her decision that I started playing as an adult beginner!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 5:48 PM

 I'm enjoying this business of "My child decided I would play the violin"! I was going to say it's an unusual twist, but maybe it's not so unusual!

From Mark Roberts
Posted on February 1, 2011 at 4:04 PM

There was practically the same vote two years ago - with much the same result.  Does any of this have any bearing on 'tiger mums' who make their children practise alot....

From Karen Bird
Posted on February 3, 2011 at 6:41 PM

I chose piano when I was 7 and enjoyed playing that for many years. Playing in an orchestra, surrounded by all that glorious sound, always seemed like the ultimate musical experience, so I took up the violin at age 50. I will never be an amazing violinist, but I do now play in a quartet and a community orchestra and find it every bit as thrilling as I had envisioned. You who started to play as children are so lucky!

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