Late-Starter School/Camp

December 5, 2006 at 10:21 PM · I am tired of all these young little prodigies who get specially made schools for them. So I decided to start a school barring out young little talents and leting talented prodigious late-starters get some attention for once. I already have some teachers who are ready to help. The school, well actually camp for now, will be for people who started past the age of 12, who despite difficulties have excelled at astounding speed and are very serious about music. The camp will be free, for now, and yes you have to audition to get in.

That's the overview

I just wanted to see what you guys thought about this idea. And if prompts more of you to start the same type of program Yippee! That means more help and due attention for 14 year old who aren't pre professionals, but they will be with your help!

Thank you

Replies (21)

December 6, 2006 at 03:04 AM · It's an interesting concept, for sure. It can be difficult to find a place to study if you're a later starter who still has an intense interest in and love of music. It seems like most festivals nowadays are either geared toward beginners or advanced pre-professionals, which is frustrating. I had the great honor of going to the Green Lake Festival of Music in Green Lake, Wisconsin, this past summer. There were about twenty string players there, some of who (like me) were high-school students who had never played chamber music before. Others were pursuing their master degrees in performance and getting ready to audition for national competitions! In the morning we worked in two chamber music groups and then in the afternoon, everybody played in a chamber orchestra together. I loved the concept of blending the two types of player. I never felt as if I was being compared to them, but I still had the amazing experience of working with and learning from really talented people who might have been more on the prodigy end than I was.

The most important part will be finding good teachers. The teachers are the life and soul of the camp, of course!

Good luck with your endeavor!

December 7, 2006 at 11:21 AM · I think it´s a great idea! I started playing the violin at age 17. Now I´m 33 years old and the late start hasn´t been an obstacle at all for getting reasonably good as a vilolinist. There´s so much focus on prodigies and so much prejudice like "its impossible to become a musician if you start practising after the age of five" and so on. Good luck and keep up the good work!

December 7, 2006 at 01:42 PM · This sounds like great fun. What a good idea. I just taught my first week at a New Horizons Camp. New Horizons was started by Roy Ernst, Eastman prof.emeritus, initially for seniors. It now includes younger adults, but the typical age range is still mid-50's to 80. The concept here is for beginners and intermediate players. Those who never got to play, or who want to return to a childhood instrument. So your idea is corollary, not copy. You can read more by googling New Horizons Music International. The unofficial motto is, "Your best is good enough." Gotta' love that. Sue

December 7, 2006 at 09:10 PM · Thank you for your positive responses.

I most definitely need encouragement. I have the students and possibly some teachers. Now I just need sponsors and more teachers. If you are interested please let me know. Thank you

December 7, 2006 at 10:24 PM · I like the idea.

I started at 15 (5 years ago) and now I'm a viola major, somewhere on the long long road to becoming a professional. I'd love to go to a camp like that.

December 7, 2006 at 11:40 PM · It's very exciting that you are starting such a camp! I wish there were such a thing around when I began violin studies at age 14.

December 8, 2006 at 01:16 AM · Irene, did you have a hard time becoming a professional? Some people can be discouraging to me, but I keep positive about it. I hate hearing people say that you have to start young to become a pro.

December 8, 2006 at 02:08 AM · Hey,

I know exactly how you feel. It really hurts. I don't think people understand the damage they do when telling a 14 year old, who is by the way still a child, that they are too old to accomplish a dream. Basically people are telling you that unfortunately "time cheated you and you just have to deal with it." No, time doesn't cheat you, society does by not giving us the same amount of attention, help, and opportunities as they do the little kids. They cheat us of the development that we could possibly have if we also had great teachers and schools paying attention to people of all races, ages, and genders who are talented. But our world is marred by competition and downputting others, so this will be a hard battle to fight, but I am determined to try. :)

December 8, 2006 at 02:56 AM · I read Lionel Tertis' autobiography and in it he seems to be saying that he started violin at about 14, and later switched to viola. He became a world famous viola soloist, and was a big infuence on William Primrose. He certainly played piano as a younder child, but not strings.

I read a library copy about 4 years ago and don't have access to the book at the moment. Can anyone confirm the 14 year old start for Tertis? We have recorded evidence of his artistic triumph.

December 8, 2006 at 03:25 AM · The other good thing about your idea Jasmine is that it would hopefully give strings teaching/employment opportunities and much-needed boosts of enthusiasm to late-starter strings teachers. There is also massive diabolical pressure out there on late starter strings players who have the guts to teach. The nice neat little orthodox crowd who started violin the 'proper' way when they were just bigger than an amoeba or a protozoa will, in some rough towns, try to hound you out of teaching because you ain't like one of them. Prejudice, that mean, nasty piece of work! Beware. Watch your back.

Funnily enough, to my ears, some of those neat, proper, 100% legit strings teachers don't sound like Milstein. But they retain the total right to judge you as unworthy.

Pot calling the kettle.

December 8, 2006 at 04:47 AM · i think it is a great idea...

in the past half a year i have come across quite a few kids in junior high-high school level. they really are excited about learning about violin for the first time (mostly thru school) and are very eager to go to a higher level (probably not provided by school program). they are truely interested to learn violin for themselves, unlike much younger ones who may not have formed much of a conviction.

further, just because most start young does not mean much at all. garbage in garbage out. even for so called prodigies, don't they drop like flies? If you look at the number of kids who start very young and the few who finally make it, you have nothing to worry about. it is not about them, it is about you.

as much as i think the older kids do get less attention than the younger ones in violin at the beginner level, one way to look at it is that therefore there are opportunities to develop programs suggested by jasmine. some people probably complained about brick and mortar bookstores for a long time, jeff bezos did something about it with amazon.com.

in terms of individual development, i see people in their late 20s competing in major competitions. if you set out to prove yourself with violin, age may be a limiting factor but not a barrier that you cannot overcome. if you mean business, are you willing to go for the proven shortcut known as extra numbers of hours of practice? are you going to talk about burning desire or do something about it?

your competition may play violin better and started much earlier, but that is not the whole story, far from it. in the american culture, people love the underdogs. but the catch is you've got to have something to show.

still feel impaired by the age factor? try this: http://www.cello.org/heaven/disabled/nohand.htm

December 8, 2006 at 04:48 AM · I like the idea alot. Because I fall between all cracks having started at 44, thankfully I had a good background in music in general.

And, I don't see how it would be possible for youngsters younger than 8 or so to have the appreciative sophisication to somehow make them naturals--unless of course they are truly a natural.

I know it is unreasonable, but in my mind there would be camps for all age groups. I get weirded out sometime having to look to youngsters to better hone basic elements, but I'll get over it. But the age group you were suggesting (10 and older) are just so pliable and though sporadically so, motivated given the proper nuturance.

What I find, is that if there is something that feels wrong, often it is--even when the greater part of society is on board with the wrong thinking. With that said, and without making you feel like you are taking on a cause, I'd just do it and not look back.

I'll help--where do I sign up... al

December 8, 2006 at 05:20 AM · If a late starter violinist eventually cuts through all the prejudice and lack of opportunity and technical and artistic difficulty and becomes a major soloist, he or she will have to be very good indeed. It would be as in the days of men dominating orchestras. It was said that a woman player had to be very much better than a man in order to get the job.

But, if successful, they would probably set off a major revival of interest in classical strings music. Anything that encourages late starter string students is a great idea.

Everyone wants to feel that something worth doing is at least possible. If something is impossible it is less interesting to the majority of people. In classical music we have this artificial, hot house atmosphere of "Oh, legitimate entry to the learning of this music is reserved only for certain souls who are rather narrowly defined by their very young age. We are sorry that we cannot be of assistance to you, and wish you well in your future career. Thank you for your interest in classical music".

The audience has already stopped listening and walked away before the spiel is over. People wonder why so many have jumped ship to jazz, pop, folk or rock. Many great players in these styles are 'late starters', for instance Wes Montgomery and Ralph Towner (both solo guitarists). The only ones left over in strad magazine are cute little kids with violins or those who used to be cute little kids with violins. There's got to be more to our art than that.

December 8, 2006 at 12:55 PM · the more we talk about the barriers, the more they exist, more in the mind of those being confronted than in reality.

at the end of the day, if you are truely exceptional, you will find ways to the heart of the people.

people buy tickets. people buy cds. critics can't stop that. in fact, often enough, the more the critics hate you, the more the people love you.

there are just way too many names to list in every walk of life who challenge the authority and prevail.

problem is, most people stop themselves before they get started. why? because it is considered too difficult and made impossible by others and themselves.

little kids with violins do not necessarily have it easy. they have to overcome adversities as well.

since you cannot pick and choose age, stop make it an issue bigger than it is.

December 8, 2006 at 01:12 PM · These are my sentiments exactly. I am so glad to see that people have the same opinions as I do. Especially what you said, Jon O'Brien, about classical music being intimidating,which is why more people run to pop, rock, and hip hop.

You guys are really pumping me up. I am really going to get this thing started. :0)

December 8, 2006 at 01:17 PM · Where do you think I could hold the camp? Where are people most willing to travel? Right now, I live in California and New York. But I am willing to think outside the box.

December 9, 2006 at 12:19 PM · Best of luck Jasmine. Keep us posted with how you go with your camp.

al ku, you are right of course.

December 9, 2006 at 01:36 PM · I think this is a very neat idea. But it sounds like if you want people to travel and you want to keep it free, you are going to have to find some sponsors.

Having either a beautiful natural location or an interesting big city would be an attraction. The natural location would be cheaper.

I disagree with the idea that "the more we talk about barriers the more they exist." In contrast, I think the only way to break them down *is* to talk about them. Talking is only a first step, of course, but I don't see how one can build a solution if one doesn't even talk about the problem.

December 9, 2006 at 02:37 PM · Hi Jasmine,

check out these links, there might be some inspirations or do-nots for your idea inside.

"Where do you think I could hold the camp?"If it's fiddling --> Germany!!

December 9, 2006 at 06:34 PM · Thank you for the link Mischa. But I could only find camps for older people that weren't exactly what I am looking for. See, whenever there is a camp for beginners or late starters, it's always labeled amateur camp. I am trying to stop that stereotype and say, "A camp for aspiring professionals no matter what age you started." Although a lot of those camps are very encouraging for amateurs, I need to start a camp that is encouraging for those who started later that want to become professionals. I believe it can be done and that is what I am promoting. Thank you for the link though. I am happy to see that there are camps out there for everyone to enjoy.

January 30, 2007 at 05:05 AM · I really like your idea. I'd go if you really pulled this off.

Part of my theory of what contributes to the "start in the womb or suck" phenomenon is that young players tends to have more opportunities studying intensely with great teachers.

If you are a pedagogue and you see a five year old and a thirty five who plays at the same level, who are you gonna take? And if you are thirty five you can only go to camps where nobody whips your behind and pushes you to fulfill your potential. Most people without thinking feels that old age+ not yet virtuosic=must not have taken it seriously. So they treat you that way too.

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