Measuring progress as an adult re-beginner & teacher 'fit'

October 14, 2009 at 05:12 PM ·

I'm coming up on my one year private lesson anniversary as an adult re-beginner. I'm trying to assess my progress and how well my teacher and I 'fit' together. I know the answer to this is probably going to be 'it depends', but do you all have any advice for me? What is the best way to determine sufficient progress and pace (if there is even a way to measure this)?

The primary reason I ask is that I have the feeling I'm not being pushed enough to progress more quickly. But obviously I can't view my own playing all that objectively. I recently joined a chamber group and have been handed some challenging-for-me pieces. In working on pieces that are well beyond what I'm working on in private lessons, I have noticed a significant improvement in my playing- and so has my teacher. But we continue to work at a very slow, detailed level on easier pieces for months. I've dropped a few hints and asked about the plan, but haven't gotten a clear answer - just that we'll probably wrap up the pieces I've been working on next week (and the same answer the following week etc.).  I kind of feel trapped. I want to perfect my playing on the simpler pieces, but I'm growing restless and really want to move on to more difficult work because I saw what an impact it had.




Replies (33)

October 14, 2009 at 05:32 PM ·

I just celebrated my 2nd year of relearning.  What ettudes are you working on?  And how long was the hiatus?  Before the Hiatus when did you first start and when did you stop?

October 14, 2009 at 07:57 PM ·

I am an adult learner, and have been studying privately for 2+ years.  You didn't say whether your teacher has been working with you on the pieces you are studying in your chamber group.  If not, and you want her to be, then I'd be concerned based on that.  I too have been working for months on just a few pieces, but I understand that a solid basis will stand me in good stead later.  What keeps me going is that my teacher knows my musical interests and supplements my exercises with pieces that reflect those interests.

October 14, 2009 at 09:21 PM ·

We have worked on the chamber pieces together - I'd say about every other lesson since the group formed. 

As far as Etudes, I'm still working in Wohlfart Book 1. I started when I was 9 and played through high school (but the last years did not have private lessons). So it was a 17 year break.

We spend a lot of time in my lessons working on bowing - very important I know - and I fully realize I need to improve, but it just seems like we could move on to different pieces while doing that. I will have to find a way to discuss it with my teacher, because I'm finding myself not wanting to practice the two simple pieces we've been working on since August.


October 14, 2009 at 10:30 PM ·


I am not a re-relearner, but I started late, when I was 36, though I have been with a 3 teachers, but the last one lasted for 3 years. The last few months were tough, it was in a way that it seems that we both have nothing to bring to the table so to speak. I mean I felt that we are not going no where, and I have no space to take it. Maybe her decision to stop teaching gave me an oppotunity to think what I really need or looking for a new teacher this time.

I found one, she's from Ukraine, at first I thought she has no plan, but she does, we worked and still working on my right hand, though I worked really hard on it from the last teacher, the present teacher are more adamant to work on it more. Every nuances are mentioned and in the process of fixing it, with tons of etudes and exercises. I could say that I play better this time, I am more relax and I listen to my body and my instruments more. Of course I have to give credit to my last teacher all her effort for the techniques and all, but the fruits of those work has come, with a new teacher, a new approach to learn.

I told her that I am not aiming that high, in terms of playing, all I want is to play decent, and she said, and I quote" Oh no, not because you join an amateur orchestra doesn't mean you sound like amateur, no one will raise your standard except yourself, and everytime you are given a chance to play, play at your best, because your best is always above amateur, and playing at your best, you have to work really, really hard"

So, I guess, with the other thread about late starters, its not about how late or early you started to play, its about, learning and working on it the best you could, that's the bottom line anyway.

October 14, 2009 at 10:31 PM ·

Dr. Pinell had me on Wohlfahrt book one and Schradiek book one and bowing was what we worked on also.  I began at 10 stopped at 15, restarted at 18 in college on 1/2 scholarship that I won and the only private lessons I ever had was 6 months before auditioning for the scholarship.  Then 23 years later I am at UW with Dr. Pinell.

If it's any concellation, I felt the same way.  And many relearners voice this here on  A student should feel comfortable to ask her/his teacher questions.  Ask what are our goals, what goals have been met/not met yet and why do you (the teacher) say so?  Things may sound wonderful too us.  But the teacher has been at it continuous for alot longer than we have.  It is nice to know where we are, in the teachers opinion and or observation and where we are going.  what yet needs to be accomplished before the next step and why.

October 14, 2009 at 10:54 PM ·

My two cents: No one should have to pay money for private lessons and not feel like their teacher isn't giving the motivation to continue lessons!  This is getting into the realm of the personal and may not apply to you, but I'm putting it out there as an example of what can be... My teacher says she enjoys teaching me, partly because she doesn't have to groom me for a profession as a violinist, which I assume most of her students aspire to.  She feels she can concentrate on whatever she thinks needs to make me the best violinist I can be.  But she doesn't "talk" down to me.  Right now she is working on some tough modern pieces to perform with the Berkeley Symphony (first violin part) and she takes time to show me the music, discuss the hard parts, and discuss her strategy for mastering them.  She does this on her own time, on top of my lesson time.  She realizes she has to keep me motivated.  So, Ophelia, I think you are right to be thinking about whether your teacher is the best fit for you.

October 14, 2009 at 11:01 PM ·

Oops--re-reading your question, I realize I haven't said anything about determining pace.  I don't feel qualified to, any way.  But from what you said, satisfaction with your teacher seems be the overall theme.   Pace just seems to be a part of that.  If your teacher sees improvement from working on harder pieces, why can't SHE give you harder pieces?  You can practice a technique while working on several pieces just as well as by working on one piece.

October 15, 2009 at 12:43 AM ·

I have a lot of empathy for adult beginners/returnees and their teachers. After a long school career, I found myself pretty much accidently w/a private studio which now includes several adults, widely varying ages, aims & backgrounds. While content isn't all that different, how I explain things seems to be. I offer lots of encouragement. I give assignments; I also suggest a lot of practice strategies. I recognize that all my students, any age, sometimes don't find enough time. I encourage my kid-students to try again. I certainly don't feel any more comfortable cracking the whip at adults than I would with kids. Sue 

October 15, 2009 at 04:08 AM ·

Some are more cautious, others more risky. The good balance between the two is crucial!!! Ennough challenge to feel good but also work on good old things to learn to be solid. (Solidity comes when you are not always doing things that are at your extreme limit) 


October 15, 2009 at 04:09 AM ·

I agree with most of what has been said here by others.  You are paying not only money, but also time and effort.  You must have a teacher you can talk to about your goals and how you will accomplish them.  It sounds to me that you need to find another teacher.  You might "interview" more than one.  Talk to them and maybe have one lesson with them, tell them your goals, and gauge their responses.

Now I will brag.  I have one adult rebeginner who is very goal directed.  He came to me and said that he had never learned good technique.  He wanted to start at the very beginning (Suzuki Book 1) and work his way up, always focusing on technique.  After one year with me, he told me that he had learned more about technique from me in one year than he had learned with his previous teacher in five years.  He is a rather easy student to teach because he is very  self-directed and goal-oriented.  At one time, I told him that he was spending more time on a given piece than my other students and that he could move on faster if he wanted to.  He said that he wanted to stick with a piece until he was sure that he got the maximum benefit from it.  At some lessons, I only give him positive feedback and validation.  Other times I find things that he needs to work on and suggest ways to do that.  In one case, we independently reached the same conclusion on what he should do:  go to a different book of etudes which would help him strengthen his area of need.  We even selected the same book independently.  I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching him.  We have a great relationship.

October 15, 2009 at 01:14 PM ·

 This is a challenging question.  Do you keep a practice log?  I find it helpful to go back to my old practice logs and lesson notes and see what I was doing last year at this time, and the year before at this time.  I'm coming up on my 2-year anniversary of taking lessons again, and my 3-year anniversary of re-beginning (after a 7-year break when my kids were little).

Sometimes it's a bit embarrassing to see that I'm still having the same problems I was having last year.  But on the other hand, sometimes it's also kind of nice to see that the number of serious problems I have to deal with is not infinite, and I realize that while it's the same problem as last year, my view of it and approach to it is more nuanced (and hopefully more successful).

I think it's perfectly reasonable for you to discuss these issues with your teacher.  A good way to open the conversation might be do first do a self-assessment, on your own, and make a list of issues that you think are important and then articulate what progress you think you've made.  

For me, one of the items might go something like this.  Topic:  Vibrato.  Issues:  Was too tight, unreliable, always the same speed (too fast).  What have I been doing:  vibrato exercises with scroll against wall, scales with vibrato, bought a new violin (more responsive, I don't have to work as hard, keeps my hand looser), vibrato exercises on viola (makes the violin feel a lot easier).  My teacher has also pointed out that I tend to vibrate only from the note and above, which pulls the pitch sharp (and relates to another problem of mine:  intonation), so I have just become conscious of that recently, and when I do my vibrato exercises and scales with vibrato I make an effort to vibrate around the note in both directions.  How has my teacher helped me?  Suggested exercises, diagnosed problems.  Has my vibrato improved? (not enough)  Have I followed through consistently on the exercises? (not enough).  Hmm.  

I'd do the same kind of analysis for intonation (what is the problem?  what have I been doing?  how is it going?), and then I might talk about these at my next lesson.  Summarize for her, demonstrate how it's going, admit I've let the vibrato exercises slide more than I'd like, ask if I should do anything differently while practicing.  If I felt like my teacher wasn't interested, or wasn't engaged, or didn't have helpful diagnoses and/or suggestions during one of these conversations (but I feel I've been lucky, my teacher has always been interested, engaged, and helpful), then I'd start looking for another teacher.  

October 15, 2009 at 05:27 PM ·

IMHO, Karen gave an excellent example on how to journal in a practice/lesson log.  And note whatever the teacher says, plays.

October 15, 2009 at 06:32 PM ·

Karen- like a lot that you keep your own notes :) I hand a new spiral to every student, but w/most I do the writing. I have had JH/SH kids write their own assignments & comment on practice, & will consider expanding on that idea. At least give hints. / Re vibrato, in common practice, vibrato is from the pitch, below it & back to pitch again. "Above" or "around" sound out of tune to western ears. You can find other posts about that here. Sue

October 15, 2009 at 07:06 PM ·

Wow thanks so much everyone. You've given me a lot to think about!

I'm happy to report that I spoke to my teacher at my lesson and played my heart out on the pieces. We were able to cross them off and put them into practice rotation. I think you all may have just given me the push to speak up, and to then play to the best of my ability to prove I was ready to move on. 

But, I will see how/if my teacher changes the pace of my lessons going forward. I was assigned a new piece alongside the five+ pieces I am working on for chamber group. I like the idea of a written log and a few months ago began recording myself to see if I could hear my progress (hopefully I can be somewhat objective!).

Thanks again for all the great information - what would I do without! 

October 15, 2009 at 07:53 PM ·

Karen, you keep a very detailed, analytical practice log.  I think I  detect your training as a scientist here.  I keep a much less detailed practice log.  I think I'll start to do some of the things you do.

October 15, 2009 at 08:13 PM ·


>At least give hints. / Re vibrato, in common practice, vibrato is from the pitch, below it & back to pitch again. "Above" or "around" sound out of tune to western ears. You can find other posts about that here. Sue

Yep.  So the actual sound of the vibrato needs a reframe.



October 15, 2009 at 08:48 PM ·

I love all the different responses on this thread so far.  Here's a couple of thoughts from my perspective.

I am a teacher who has  had experience teaching adult beginners.  They progress at all different paces.  In the beginning, things can seem a little slow because we are waiting for certain good basic habits to set up like concrete.  During this phase, things like a proper bow hold or left hand position will come together more quickly if they are given consistent mindful attention.  I tell my students what the objective is for the week (I.e. play all of your pieces with a curved bow thumb, or put your focus on sinking into the strings and creating a good tone).  They move forward when they succeed.  They are simple assignments, really, but what I'm also cultivating is an attitude of mindful, objective-oriented practicing methods.  Every single piece has a specific purpose, and during the lesson, I describe it and help them understand it.  Then they are to go home and practice that objective.  

In explaining the purpose of the assignment, I hope to eliminate any feelings of lack of purpose.  When they practice, they should be able to tell if they are achieving their goal or not.  I also try to give them a glimpse of how their current skill development fits into the bigger picture.  For instance, I tell them once they can hear the first three notes of three blind mice in tune, they can find those notes anywhere on the fingerboard.  Or, this slurring exercise is going to come in handy on this next piece.  If they are finding difficulty with something in their repertoire, I can always point them back to a few basics that we spent a lot of time developing.  Basic skills work like a bag of tricks.  Ask any college music student, and they will most likely have some story about how their professor made them go back and work on basics again.

I believe that a good teacher won't let you get away with neglecting the details.  I've been teaching long enough to see what happens when you do and when you don't.  It's simply amazing, how a good foundation will snowball a student into advanced repertoire almost effortlessly.  Suddenly, they sound very good on concertos the first run through, and only need to polish them.

I know, I know, I'm rambling.  I guess my point is, you should feel like you know each week what you are looking to achieve from your practice time.  This will eliminate feelings that you are being held back. 

Also, from what I've seen about playing chamber and orchestra music is, at the right time, if I throw a student in, sink or swim style, a lot of things will suddenly start to come together.  It's a good thing, but most of the time, the stuff is truly a bit over their heads.  They don't always sound awesome playing it.  But it's a good stretch.  Orchestra is good for moving forward with musical ideas and making music.  It's a rather "big picture" scope on music.  With it, you learn how to be part of a group and stay with a group, regardless of what comes out of your instrument.

I'm glad the chamber music has been a good experience for you.  Perhaps the best thing you can do about your private lessons is have a good talk about your desires and your teacher's expectations from you.  If your teacher doesn't have any objectives and can't really tell you why you are playing what you're playing, then you could be right in thinking you're being held back.  If your teacher does have a list of reasons for assigning the pieces you're being assigned, then make sure you understand specifically what you need to be working on, and be extra diligent to complete that objective to the best of your ability.  My motto is, those who prove themselves diligent with little will be given much.

August 2, 2016 at 06:56 AM · Hi! Everyone.

I know this topic is already cold and gone quiet. But, I am spreading my hand at every space just hoping to find a helping hand or at least a dim light.

I am now 27 y.o male and started learning violin 3 months ago, at Yamaha school, Singapore. I don't have any background for music. I really want to get out of my current career and want to be really good at playing violin. I am aiming to become a professional and to be the playing the violin as my next career.

My problem is, I cannot find a proper place to practice.I have to go to the nearest park or wait till no one is at home. But, lately I am always making mistakes and play wrongly when I am with my teacher in the class studio. And, the teacher gets so impatient lately. She will raise her voice and point to the music notes and stand with her bow intensely. The more she reacts that way, the more mistakes I make.Everytime, I left the class, "I must practice more and more!"is my always thought even though I can't practice well on later days.

Then,the week ends and the class time starts again and the teacher will get mad again. It's been like a cycle for a few weeks. Now, I am scared to meet her and to play in front of her. Once, I almost cry on the train, on my way back home. I am starting to think to stop learning.

I live as a tenant of a local Singaporean family, which feels like I'm always under surveillance cameras. My work hours are from 8 am to 6pm, fully for 6 days and the violin class is on Sunday afternoon. I suffered depression for a few years consecutively starting since 18 and I barely made it to reach today's state. And still easily get depressed. My income is limited and so is my free time. I can't call private teacher and even if I can afford, I am still afraid that the next teacher will be the same as the first one. I am taking the drum class and the situation is almost the same as Violin class.

Now, I am lost, depressed and devastated.

Hope there is a way to solve this with my current situation.

August 2, 2016 at 03:13 PM · I wish I could say something more upbeat, but unfortunately, your current situation isn't going to lead to a professional career. A professional level of skill, assuming you're talking about classical violin, takes a decade or more to achieve. That includes private lessons, and once you reach intermediate level, the very best teacher that you can find. It requires being able to afford a decent violin and bow, as well, at some point. And you're probably going to want to practice a minimum of two hours a day.

Pick something else for your career switch. If you want to play the violin as a hobby, persevere with it, but find a way for it to be fun.

August 2, 2016 at 03:28 PM · I agree with Lydia's assessment. Being a professional violinist in this age is a very long and difficult path even for an unusually gifted 6 year old.

August 2, 2016 at 04:31 PM · Hi Ophelia,

It seems to me that you are really in need of a different teacher who can re-inspire you. One way to progress is to have that exhilarating feeling of trying something, which you think is too hard and then it turns out you get on fairly well with it with proper support.

Having said that, being a new teacher for someone is easy: anything you say is probably different from what your predecessor has stated before, which is likely to be perceived as "much better' by the student. Time will tell after about a year or so, whether the new teacher has been able to continue being inspiring. However, in that year you have likely made tons of progress and enjoyed playing!

Henriette de Vrijer, Pro-Am Strings

August 2, 2016 at 04:44 PM · Hi San-Min,

Your question is in a way a bit different:

To be a successful professional violinist, you have to be very advanced on the instrument and also mentally very strong. Competition in the world of professional musicians is fierce and there are many very talented players who fall by the wayside somewhere along the line through no fault of their own, but simply because there are too many players competing for too few jobs.

That said, it can be done. I know several professional players who started at around the same age as you, although I must admit that those people had partners or spouses who would provide a steady income and they would have a space where they could practise for many hours a day.

You have already concluded that playing the violin is expensive, time consuming and frustrating at times. At the end of the day, what we are aiming for in life is to be happy and content with what we do. I am not sure if playing the violin has put you on the road to happiness to be honest.

I am sure there is a way to get you out of this situation, although I am not sure this forum is the right place! Perhaps you might talk to your family doctor or your supervisor at work. Perhaps you can sit yourself down and think about things that you are good at and that you enjoy doing and that have a realistic chance of success.

Wishing you all the best,

Henriette de Vrijer, Pro-Am Strings

August 2, 2016 at 09:28 PM · San Min, have you considered organizing a union to deal with those oppressive work hours? 60 hours a week is too much for a wage job. I agree with Lydia about your career choice. It's not realistic. (I'd like to know which "professional players" Henriette knows that were raw beginners at age 27. That surprises me greatly. It's even somewhat difficult to find people who became full-on pros starting at 15.)

You can far more easily train to become an accountant or an internet security specialist or a physical therapist. Once you have a career that is stable and that is not working you half to death, then you can take up the violin with more enjoyment.

You should see a medical professional about your depression. You are not in the right state to be undertaking something that causes you only more stress.

August 2, 2016 at 09:53 PM · I echo Paul on players starting out at age 27. I've never met anyone like that, and I'm curious what kind of regimen they followed and when they were able to turn pro. I can think of very few spouses who would be supportive of intense and expensive training for a decade or more with completely unknowable results when starting out. Someone who's becoming an accountant, for instance, knows that at the end of four years of college they can reliably get a decent-paying job. Someone who is beginning the violin at age 27 is totally a black box.

August 3, 2016 at 05:03 AM · Ophelia - I will soon begin the teacher hunt and I have put it off for too long because of past experiences with teachers. I too am a returning student.

Teachers are individuals.

The teacher who taught me the most, well I hesitate to say that, I was blessed with two great teachers plus a couple more.

Anyway, the teacher who advanced me most became fed up with my poor work habits (practicing pieces and not etudes) when I was 17 and cracked down and pulled me back, but instead of working for me her slow down approach was the beginning of my quitting the violin - lack of inspired music and lack of progress. It did not help that after five years she had given to me so greatly that there was not a lot left for her to share with me. It was time to move on but neither of us knew how to make that happen. Unfortunately she has a long history of alienating students rather than finding the right teacher to pass them along to.

I kind of think, in hindsight that a teacher has to teach to the student you are and not the student they want you to be, however frustrating that is for them.

I then had two other teachers - teacher number three was a marvelous performer but could not convey his methods so while nice and while he attempted to be helpful his lessons were of very little value to me personally. For others he may have been far more helpful but the situation simply did not work in my favor.

Teacher number four was very helpful in a very short time frame before he moved to a different area. He basically said that I needed to tackle much harder pieces and etudes if I wanted to progress, to challenge myself. He saw that I was not diligent at that time and told me if I wanted to go pro (I was 19 then) I needed to get to work, very hard work, and to "stop being half-assed."

Since my 23 year hiatus I have been self teaching and I must say, I took his parting thoughts to heart and they have benefitted me greatly. I attempt difficult material and if I find it too hard, I set it aside and go back to it later after interim material, and attempting the tough stuff has been working for me.

I try to challenge myself and I have made technical strides as a result. I have also increased/developed some bad habits. So, I like the idea of a teacher who challenges you and hope I can find something similar to what you are searching for.

Go with your gut instinct, IMO.

If you want a more challenging teacher and are putting in the time on the violin, I think you should shop around and go for it.

August 3, 2016 at 05:22 AM · First, Paul Deck, I knew a woman who started violin at age 25 and became section leader of 2nd violins in a regional full time pro orchestra when she was 31.

I can't remember her 1st name but do remember her last and her husband. She was married to a very good pro-violinist who is still working as a violinist and also had an excellent teacher. I think that being married to a professional violinist who is earning a living might be an ideal set up for a late starter.

San Wen,

On that note, to become good at violin you need time. I think either a supporting family or supporting spouse or supporting educational institution is necessary to have the time and freedom to achieve what you are looking for. Your teacher sounds like she/he is either fed up with your lack of time or simply not a patient human being.

I think your teacher is stressing you out, but frankly, if you want to do your best at violin you need to find the time/freedom to practice enough to achieve.

I am not one to say anyone's goals are realistic or unrealistic, but in order to achieve what you seem to be searching for you are going to have to find a way to drastically alter your current lifestyle to revolve around the violin, in my opinion, or realign your goals to your circumstances.

Explore possibilities of changing your life focus and then reevaluate your goals.

This is just my two cents as an amateur who has never lived in China.

When I was young I knew of a young man who was already good at playing violin in China where he practiced in a basement because it was a Western instrument and not allowed. He swam with his violin strapped to his back to Taiwan to escape Communism and then went on to Julliard. This was long ago - I did meet him in person and was at a festival at the same time he was there and heard his story from others, but I do not know how accurate or exaggerated the story was. A great story though.

My teacher pointed out to me that I did not want the violin as much as he did, and she turned out to be right.

August 3, 2016 at 12:40 PM · I'm trying to fathom the six-year trajectory of learning that takes someone from being a brand-new adult beginner to being the principal 2nd in a full-time regional pro orchestra in just six years. (For comparison purposes, that job is a good description of what Mary Ellen Goree here has, as principal 2nd in the San Antonio Symphony.)

Actually, I'm trying to fathom how one even gets the audition in that situation. Did she end up in the same orchestra that her husband played in, or with some other personal "in" that would have caused her to receive an audition despite not passing the normal resume filter?

August 3, 2016 at 02:18 PM · San Min: I have no idea of the work/life culture in Singapore, but to start with, I think you need to talk with your teacher. She should not be yelling at you and adding to your depression. You are paying her to teach you, not demotivate you. You should not be uncomfortable going for lessons.

If she will not be nicer, then start by finding another teacher.

In the meantime, look to see if you can find a practice space. Maybe there is a space you can make in the storage area of your building? Or maybe there is a common room you can borrow? Ask around. Maybe you can put up a sign in the lobby of your building asking if someone has space...etc.

THEN...decide if you really want to play the violin and take it further. How far? At this point you don't know yet.

The process itself has to be rewarding, because even as a professional you spend hours practicing. You have to enjoy practicing and you have to have a comfortable place to practice. If these two conditions are not met, you won't continue.

It all begins with baby steps. First you need to try to 'fix' the two most pressing issues...your teacher and your practice space.

August 4, 2016 at 06:28 AM · Lydia, I can only tell you that this is all true re the 25yo beginner.

She was a second section player before becoming principal second.

I know specifically much of the story and can't believe that I don't remember her first name. I am not going to write the second although I bet there is someone reading this who knows exactly who I am writing of.

I know that she was regarded as remarkable in terms of what she achieved in a limited time. She also had four children and another friend was her nanny...

I can also tell you that, as I pointed out, she had a husband who was a very good violinist around her while she was practicing tweaking her practice. Imagine having lessons that much.

Also, her teacher was very good at teaching and performing.

She was actually held up as an example to me by my teacher of what not to do - don't wait until too late, don't quit because you will go back to it and only end up principal second...

I do not believe she had special consideration regarding her audition, but I don't know. She won her principal seat around 1986 I would guess.

Anyway, I think the landscape regarding orchestras is different today.

I believe auditions were much less competitive at that time. For me personally, I auditioned for open seats same orchestra when I was 17 and 19 and did not get a seat, but I knew two who were on a similar level who did that year. I had severe performance anxiety which was a contributing factor. There were only maybe ten people who showed up that year to audition. A year later only nine. The landscape re auditions has changed tremendously.

August 4, 2016 at 07:20 AM · I believe the story. That it's not realistic for most (even during that era), doesn't mean that it's impossible. I am personally always reluctant to limit someone else's aspirations, within reason-not convinced that adults are somehow less able to play the violin just because they started later than most (there ARE other factors, just not solely age/"stiffer muscles"/"self-consciousness"/whathaveyou.)

August 4, 2016 at 07:54 AM · Yeah age is certainly not a limiting factor. Might be hard to be an international soloist, but 2nd violin? Sure. Based on my progress rate I could achieve that. But I'm fortunate to be able to practise 5 or more hours a day and have an excellent teacher.

August 4, 2016 at 01:23 PM · The particular anecdote reminds me of the old saying: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

August 4, 2016 at 01:34 PM · That's a fascinating story. Although I take issue with your teacher's incredibly condescending statement, "Don't quit because you will go back to it and only end up principal second..."

Do you have any idea whatsoever how difficult it is to win an audition as a principal 2nd violinist in a full-time professional orchestra? This is a title chair, which I believe pays similarly to the associate/assistant concertmaster, and certainly pays more than a section 1st violinist. It is not a consolation prize.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine