How long have you been playing the violin or viola?
This morning I was reading a quote from Pablo Casals, who was asked at age 90 why he continued to practice. His answer: "Because I think I'm making progress!"
Certainly, it takes time to get good at this instrument. Time, and practice.
I started around age nine, and now I'm...older! I've kept playing the whole time, some years a lot more than others!
Though I think that it helps to start young, it helps even more to keep practicing and spending time playing your instrument. For the typical player, five years of practice provides good foundation. Ten years allows the development of higher-level techniques, and 20 allows the building of repertoire. I'd say that if you've been playing for more than 30 years, you're probably a veteran.
Of course, it really varies! Recall that Sarah Chang was playing the Bruch concerto at age 5 -- perhaps she started in another life? Like Sarah, some very talented people exceptionally fast. Conversely, others take a more leisurely pace.
For the vote, pick which category best fits you. If you simply had a hiatus of not playing at all, only count the years you were playing. If you switched to viola from violin, count from the time you started violin. Feel free to talk about how long you've been playing and how the passage of years has affected your playing.
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