Is it too late for me to master the violin?

December 24, 2014 at 03:44 PM · I'm new here, so first of all, Hi everyone :)

Note: I apologize in advance for this very long essay. And thanks a lot for everyone who will read it.

I started playing the violin when I was 12. I played it for 6 years. But I enrolled in a public music school and didn't have my own private tutor. As my music school wasn't really teaching us in the goal of being professionals, the lessons consisted of only half an hour every week. (And no lessons iat all on holidays or in summer).

I should admit I didn't take practicing the violin seriously. During my first year I was passionate and all so I practiced every day. But since my second year of violin, the amount studies in (normal) school increased a lot and I became lazy to practice at home. (I prefered doing other activities during the ever decreasing free time rather than practice the violin). I barely practiced one hour a week before going to the lessons.

I was also frequently absent. Sometimes I go once every two or three weeks... During my third and sixth years, I barely did the 1/3 of the supposed number of lessons...

It didn't help that my violin is of medium if not poor quality. I bought it for $220 approximately. And when I play, the strings make a bad noise. That really frustrated me. However, whenever I tried my teacher's violin, the sound was so clean and the music was so beautiful. But the thing is, mine is the best quality violin available for students here. Well, I understand they can't really suggest for students any more expensive violins because most -if not all- of us were just practicing the violin as a hobby and no one of us took it seriously enough...

What was even less helful is that I shifted between 3 teachers during those 6 years: 3 years with one teacher, 2 years with another teacher, 1 year with another one.

It was the system of this school to shift teachers because there are not many of them to cover all of the students. ( But I am lucky, as some of the other students changed teachers every single year).

And every one of my teachers uses a different book/curriculum.

- With my first teacher, I studied basically all of the fingers in the first position and some bow techniques like Staccato and others. But the pieces I studied weren't part of a specific book, so I don't know what level I really reached during my first 3 years. (Well maybe just 2 years because I practically studied nothing in the third because of my absence).

- With my second teacher, I reached the half of the Petit Paganini's 2nd book by Ernest Van de Velde (if anyone knows it?). I learned the 3rd position and all of the bow techniques in the book, during those two years. I was supposed to start the 5th position the next year (it's the last lesson in that book) but I got my teacher changed again.

- My last teacher made me restart everything from zero, because she used Suzuki's books. I did the 1st Suzuki book and the half of the 2nd one during this year. So my last year was a waste because I was absent a lot and because I already know all of what I was studying. (I never practiced at home at all before the lessons because I played them correctly without any effort...).

But then, the next year was actually my last year of high school, and I had a high school graduation exam on a national scale. So I stopped taking lessons and stopped playing at home too. In what little free time I had (one or two days every month. [Yeah even in weekends I was busy...]) I prefered doing other "passive" activities that did not require effort or thinking (like watching anime, listening to music, reading novels, connecting to fb, etc...). Without mentioning that my passion for the violin has really decreased a lot over the years (since my level started to drop & because I didn't enjoy the pieces with no melody that we play during lessons. I prefered other kinds of music like anime and movies and games' soundtracks; movie trailer musics; orchestral dubstep; and even orchestral classical music).

And then, after passing the exam, I was too lazy to resume playing the violin. And I felt that I lost my interest and my passion for it too.

But just some days ago, a change happened.

I was actually searching for some orchestral dubstep music on Youtube when I bumped into a Linsey Stirling music video: Crystallize. I somewhat liked its music. So I started watching her other videos, curious to see what kind of music she plays exactly. And I found her Master of Tides video and fell in love with it. And then I saw her covers for some movie soundtracks like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones themes or for video games like the Zelda medley and the Pokemon theme. I loved them. I loved her Shadows and Minimal Beats songs too. I like most of her music actually. When I watch her play I think: "Hey, the violin can be fun!". Lindsey said it herself, and I totally had the exact same idea when watching her videos.

She made me remember my old passion for the violin.

I was getting bored of the pieces we played in lessons.

I just needed something/one to remind me that violin is not only about learning techniques; that it is fun.

And it was Lindsey that reminded me of this.

She inspired me to play the sort of music I like, to be creative.

So I decided to resume practicing at home. Since I already missed the enrollement date for the music schools, I will just practice at home my old books to remember what I had already learned.

But I plan to enroll next year.

I do NOT plan on giving up the classical way of learning for the excuse of "just boring". I know the classical teaching is necessary to be a good violinist. But as I have a goal set before me, knowing that I can play the music I enjoy after mastering the classical lessons, it is easier to practice without getting bored.

This explains everything about my violin "journey" I think.

Now time for the questions:

1. I am actually wondering what grade/level I am according to what I explained earlier?

2. Do you think this is just a passing passion too? That after some time I'll become bored and lazy and give up again?

3. I am studying a medical course in college right now. I have class from 8 am to 17:30 pm (sometimes to 16 pm). And we have a LOT of studies and research to do at home too. Hundreds of papers to learn by heart. So I probably won't be able to practice more than half an hour a day. But on the other hand, I would like to reach a respectful level in violin. I do NOT want to be a world-class professional violinist like a world-class soloist or get in a world-class orchestra. (Because I plan to be a medical doctor for a living, hopefully. And I know being a professional musician is impossibly for me by now). I really just want to master all of the different violin positions and techniques. And to play in tune (not including the most advanced super hard and complicated kinds of orchestral music). I also would like to perform in public, but not as a part of a professional orchestra, and not performing to the elites and orchestra fans. I just want to perform on a local (and maybe national?) scale, for the masses. But at the same time I don't want it to be mediocre or average. I just want to be in a "satisfying" level (in the orchestra elites and professionals' point of view). I want, even if I'm not one of the best, to at least play all of the positions and techniques correctly. Is that too unrealistic for me given the amount of practice I can afford? What grade/level should I reach to just master the violin without being on a world-class level? And if it is impossible for me, given the amount of time I can spend on practicing, what is the most likely grade/level I can reach in 10 years or so? (I'm 19 yo, in 3 months I will be 20).

I have one month of 100% free time in summer though. So I'm planning to practice as much as I can then (+6 hours every day).

4. When practicing at home, what books should I repeat? The Petit Paganini or the Suzuki ones? Which ones have the best and fastest route? And should I just stick to repeating what I already did in the past years or should I advance on my own and start the next level before enrolling again next year?

5. When I start lessons next year (or if possible this year), do you suggest I enroll in my previous school or in a private school (they only have lesson once a week and no lessons in holidays or summer too) or to have a private tutor at home (so that I can have lesson in holidays and summer)?

6. Actually, I would like to compose my own music too. I did 7 years of music theory. I reached the last grade, but I didn't sit for the national exam to have my deploma because I was afraid I would fail. So composing should be in my reach right? Or should I be a good violin player to compose?

Thanks again for everyone who had the patience to read all (or even some) of this.

Replies (30)

December 24, 2014 at 04:11 PM · TL;DR everything.

Mastering the violin is nearly impossible unless you can put in a few hours of deliberate practice every day for ten years. That is assuming that you are studying with a good teacher.

If you cannot sort out your priorities, it is extremely difficult to make progress, no matter how old (or young) you are.

December 24, 2014 at 05:02 PM · It's hard to say anything about your level without a recording, because you can move through repertoire with good technique or with bad technique, however, it sounds like you have a sort of piecemeal education on the violin. The best option, even if you don't want to be a professional, is to still get a good teacher whose playing you really like, and who you trust. Be careful with the 6 hour days in the summer, because going from almost no practicing to 6 hours per day is a good way to hurt yourself, which you absolutely want to avoid.

I know your time is going to be limited, but consistent practice every day (or at least 5 or 6 days per week) will be worth more to you than cramming practice in. Getting to a good level isn't magic, and it isn't limited only to children, but it requires dedication, consistency, good training, and a long-term mindset.

I didn't give a huge amount of time to practice in college, and only got really serious about it afterwards. If I were to go back, I would have probably looked for a good teacher, because I needed (and am still doing) a good amount of remediation to get rid of a lot of my old habits and sloppy technique. There are always a lot of basics you can work, like open strings, but a GOOD teacher will really help you work through those things so that you understand why you are doing them. Also, you can really wear your enthusiasm out if you start too fast. Shoot for 30 minutes every day, and see if you can increase that time little by little without feeling like you are depriving yourself of a life.

December 24, 2014 at 06:52 PM · I am often suspicious of sudden inspirations, because I am not convinced they lead to lasting passions. Lasting passions imply perseverance, and if that passion happens to be violin, also time, patience, and discipline.

To play popular music, you probably don't need a lot more technique than you have now. What you need to do is to refine that technique so it's rock-solid and you produce a good sound. Likely what you need more than anything is a good teacher, meticulous attention paid to what they tell you to do, and the time to do those things.

Passion does not fundamentally change whether or not you enjoy practicing, I think. Ultimately how much you really want to practice will probably determine to what degree you find time in your day to do so. Note that playing is a *mental* activity; you will need to devote attention and brainpower to it. It cannot be what you cram into the end of your day after you're already exhausted.

December 24, 2014 at 07:34 PM · I want to thank everyone for your replies.

I think you're right, 30 min a day is probably not enough at all.

But actually, it's not that I don't want to practice for a longer time, I really prefer playing the violin over sitting on my desk studying...

But, during the past months, everyday I would spend the whole evening studying at home for the exams. The only "wasted" time was the time to have lunch or talk a little with my family. And inspite of that, I still feel I am lacking a lot and not ready to sit for the upcoming exams. So if I had even another thing that would decrease the time dedicated for studies, I don't know what would happen... Because I'm really not a fast learner. And I get distracted a lot when studying. So it takes me a lot of time to revise. But it's not like I am enjoying it. I would really love I would be playing the violin during that time instead if I could.

Does anyone have a suggestion on how I can devide my time between studies and violin please?

I am thinking of this possibility:

1 month of 1-2 hours a day (Studies are not yet serious during this time of the school year).

2 and a half months of 30 min a day (Revision for exams started).

Two weeks of no violin at all (Exam period).

2 months of 1-2 hours a day (Going back to the not very serious studies).

Two weeks of x hours a day (Holiday).

2 months of 30 min a day (Revision for exams again).

Two weeks of no violin (Exams)

One month of no violin (If I didn't pass the school year I would have to re-sit for some of the exams). Otherwise x hours a day (Holiday).

One month of 2 hours a day (Morning class only).

Two weeks of x hours a day (Holiday again).

x = any number of hours as I am completely free. What number do you suggest for such times?

December 24, 2014 at 07:58 PM · I know your heart is set on the violin, but may I suggest other instruments you can go to for your musical outlet?

Truth is, violin is a really hard, it has so many variables in sound production and intonation. With your jam packed schedule, maybe it's less frustrating and more rewarding if you go for something like piano or guitar, or singing in a choir. They are just as artistic and expressive in their own way as the violin but way more friendly for a non-professional playing for fun.

Because even if you do practice 30 minutes everyday, which is probably impossible in reality, if will take you many many years before you will sound "respectable" in your ears in front of others.

P.S. If you're interested in composing, I would definitely play piano, even on top of violin. It's the most accessible instrument for harmony and counterpoint.

December 24, 2014 at 08:24 PM · "Mastering the violin is nearly impossible unless you can put in a few hours of deliberate practice every day for ten years."

Ten years? That's pretty optimistic. Maybe we should just leave it to

"mastering the violin is impossible."

December 24, 2014 at 08:44 PM · Just start.

Asking "can I.....X, Y, Z..." is an exercise in futility.

Pick up your vioin every day. Play it, practice, take lessons from a good teacher, and see what happens. It's a wonderful endeavor, no matter if you become a Master, a mediocre hack, or whatever. Just give it YOUR best.

December 24, 2014 at 09:58 PM · Thanks again for the new replies.

@Dorian thanks a lot for the suggestion. But I personally prefer the violin. Even if it is not rewarding I'm planning to keep playing it anyway.

@Scott, is it really impossible? I mean, I do not want to be a professional. And I think I didn't explain myself correctly. I apologize . But when I said mastering I didn't mean to play it perfectly, not even in excellent or very good way. But just play to an OK degree. By mastering I meant exactly learning the techniques and positions without necessarily doing it perfectly.

But thanks for the honest opinion nonetheless.

@Seraphim Actually I did start. I was just asking to hear some advice and suggestions from people with better expertice than me, because maybe there are better ideas I didn't think of. And I wanted to know if my dream was unrealistic given my schedule. But even if it was, I was planning to practice anyway.

And thanks a lot for your advice.

December 24, 2014 at 10:40 PM · I'm sure you can imperfectly mangle all techniques and positions in a lot less than 10 years. But setting out with a plan to only be just good enough is destined to produce mediocre results. You surely don't really aspire to become a violin hack do you? Someone who only family and supportive or deaf friends will politely smile and say "that was lovely dear."

Plan to learn everything that is introduced as perfectly as you can. At some point in time you can then say no more lessons or standard repertoire, but at least you will have some skills. If you do that in 5 years time then you should have a decentl vibrato, be able to consistently play in tune in whatever position, have solid bowing for a range of strokes and double stops.

But in reality I'd be dubious about your long term prospect if you've akready had a long term exposure and not had some spark ignited that says you have to make this sound beautiful. Regardless of your teaching and methods so far, that spark has to come from within you. And even now you're not exactly saying that's what you want.

December 25, 2014 at 03:29 AM · Let me also say this as a 47 year old:

19 years old is still VERY young in the overall scheme of things. If you continue with your violin studies, by the time you are my age you will have played for TWENTY EIGHT YEARS.

That's a lot of playing. Just stick with it every day.

December 25, 2014 at 06:43 AM · Thanks both of you. That's actually encouraging.

@Sharelle I definitely don't want to be a violin hack. I included the 10-year span because I actually have a (crazy) project in mind. And I plan to start it at that time. So I hoped I could reach an acceptable level before that (because it includes violin). But no matter what my level is at the time, I won't stop practicing when I start the project. I will continue learning in parallel.

And I hope this is not just a passing passion. I want to challenge myself starting from now to see where I'll get in the end.

And thanks a lotfor your advice.

@Mr Seraphim thanks again. I think you're right. I'll just try my best.

December 25, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Amel,

A half hour a day, as long as it is everyday can actually add up to quite a bit over time. So don't despair if that's all you can do.

I am an adult beginner. I have a full time job and two kids. I don't have much free time either. I try and squeeze in 15-30 minutes before work, 30 minutes at lunchtime, and hopefully 15-30 after work if I can. I try and find the time, because I love playing. I'm a beginner, but I'm better than I was a year ago. I'm better than ai was 3 months ago. I have no idea how good I may, or may not become ten years from now. I will never ever be a virtuoso. And that's fine. I will become a competent violist though. I am sure of that. Because every time I pick up my instrument I try to make the best tone that I can. I try to learn he new material Im working on, and continue to polish the pieces I already know.

My teacher works with me to correct the things that need correcting, pushes me to try things that are outside of my comfort zone. In my opinion, having a private teacher is the best investment you can make if you really desire to make progress. It is expensive to get private instruction. It is also quite worth it.

I wish I had started violin/Viola earlier in my life. But I did not. I am not persuing it because I want to attain some goal. I do it because I enjoy the journey. It is never easy. But it is very satisfying to make progress. The violin is infinite. You will never fully master everything about it. There will always be something you could do better. Even the world class soloists have to work so very hard to stay where they are.

If you feel passionate about it all of a sudden-good! Go with that, see where it will lead you. There will be days that will frustrate you, You may feel like you don't want to play "Twinkle", or some other beginner piece because you want to soar off to the greater heights...

Well, without a solid foundation, built on Twinkles, scales, etc. You won't be able to build that skyscraper of ability that will allow you to reach those heights. Many, many violinists have gone before us. Nobody has had a shortcut to sucess. Keep at it!

December 25, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Mr Seraphim, I really appreciate the advice. This really encouraged me to do my best! I will try to practice as much as I can and to find as much time for the violin as possible everyday. Thanks for sharing your experience. It gave me hope to improve, so I won't give up! I'll try harder and harder everyday!

Thank you very much!

December 25, 2014 at 04:07 PM · This has been a unique year for me, marking another "round-number birthday" and 76 years since I was given my first violin as a birthday present. I played virtually every day since, except for a hiatus between ages 12 and 13.

I have a couple of things to say about improving.

1. Even if you don't have regular lessons, you NEED a teacher or coach to asses how you do things because practicing with bad technique will not lead you to your goal.

2. For improvement you need a practice routine and a teacher can give you that by assessing what you need to work on.

3. 30 minutes a day is a good warm-up. I used to find that initial 30 minutes would get me back to where I had stopped the day before and any improvements came from the next hour or more of practice.

4. I never had a violin lesson after I was 12 years old, but I had experiences of playing with better violinists, some master class and coached sessions and those were immensely helpful in advancing my playing as an adult.

5. Consistent motivation is essential. You need goals for your playing. The goal that moved me most was to become concertmaster (CM) of my high school orchestra when I was 13 - I did and held the chair for 3 years. When I was in my early 30s and the best violinists moved away I felt CM of our community orchestra was attainable for me and I renewed practicing to advance my playing. I held that chair for the next 20 years.

6. Violin is tough, and it gets tougher as you get older - even if you have played for your whole life. But I have seen former violinists, who had quit playing when their medical careers and raising family took over their lives, resume playing and lessons in their early 60s and be good orchestra and chamber musicians that others wanted to make music with.

It takes real commitment. Good Luck with that.

Andy

December 25, 2014 at 04:48 PM · Mr Adrew, thank you too for the advice and for sharing your experience.

I will try to find a private teacher (though I never heard there were any violin private teachers where I live, so I might end up in a music school instead).

I will also try to find a practicing routine.

Also, I agree that having consistent motivation is essential. Maybe part of why I "quit" practicing before was because I didn't see where I was going with it, nor did I know where I wanted to go. But as I have a clear goal right now, I'll work hard and do my best to achieve it. And when I do, I'll set to myself an even bigger goal to keep myself motivated.

Thanks again.

December 25, 2014 at 08:12 PM · I'll admit, I didn't read all the responses, just the first few that seemed to discourage you. You sound like you are very busy, so may not be able to give the violin your full attention right now, but don't stop playing! If you can manage a few lessons (some teachers will do occasional lessons), then that may help you to form good habits with posture, etc. It does not matter if you end up playing professionally or not, or whether you reach your goals with the violin. If playing is in your heart, you will enjoy whatever level you are at! It is better than saying "what if..." someday. And if you truly enjoy it, you may find you advance more than you expected. Make your violin time your study break for now....you may even find that you are more effective in your studies.

December 25, 2014 at 09:41 PM · Thanks a lot Laura! Yes, that's the best I can do for now. I will practice as much as I can. And who knows? Maybe I can reach my goal one day. So I can't give up. As for enjoyment, this past week of 30 min practice per day was pretty enjoyable to me that I often forget myself practicing and exceed the supposed 30 min so mom comes to remind me to go back studying. (But when I resume studying afterwards I find myself not concentrating on my studies but thinking back about what I practiced like how I to play that part of the musical piece or that other part, etc... hahaha).

And thank you so much for the encouraging words. I really am thankful for the advice too.

December 27, 2014 at 02:19 AM · Amel, do you do electives in your course, and if so, where are you planning to do yours? None of us know the teachers in Tunisia, but when you do your elective you might be able to get a few lessons with a teacher someone in this community can recommend.

December 27, 2014 at 06:42 AM · No unfortunately in the medical course here (at least in my College) we do not do music electives. We have actually only one elective which is Semiology in English. (And it is taught in the college itself, we don't go to study it somewhere else).

But thanks a lot for the suggestion.

December 27, 2014 at 07:27 AM · Perhaps the best option for you is to skype lessons. On the down side its obviously not as good as being with the teacher - there is also a delay between the image an sound. However, it does allow you to take lessons from the best teachers anywhere and some people specialize in it to optimize the quality of the teaching.

December 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM · I see. Thanks for the suggestion. I might think about it.

But also, the problem is not that my previous teachers are bad, but the lack of private lessons. So it may be easier to ask one of the teachers in my previous music school to teach me at home and during holidays and summer. I think I'll start by asking my second teacher, he is an excellent teacher and violinist. He is one of the best, if not THE best violinist in my city, and in the whole state. And I think he is one of the best violinists in the whole country too.

My first teacher was very good too. But he no longer works here and he lives in another state.

December 27, 2014 at 01:51 PM · Amel, I think you and I mean different things by "elective". In the UK, when a medical student does an elective, it means he chooses somewhere in the world, typically for three months, to gain further knowledge of (e.g., in a specialist hospital) or novel practical experience in (e.g., in a third world country) medicine. I was suggesting you took advantage, when somewhere else in the world, of the opportunity to try out another violin teacher and see what they think of you - it would not be the primary purpose of your elective!

December 27, 2014 at 04:02 PM · Another aspect of the whole picture is how you use your big blocks of time. As both a student and as a professor (not of music, but the principle remains), I've found it much easier to make and sustain progress by not trying to stay with the same activity too long.

Study for an hour; practice for 30 minutes. When you return to your studies, your mind will have been refreshed/refocused by the practice, and you will use the next block of study time far more efficiently than if you had simply blasted along without a healthy--useful--break. Then, at the end of the second hour of study, return to the violin...same thing.

My students who (with great skepticism) have tried my method, whether they use athletic, musical, or some other alternate activity) have been surprised at how much better they retain BOTH activities and how much less wearied they are at the end of the 'big' block of time they have divided and conquered.

Another point: don't worry about 'mastery;' start where you are, build from there, and enjoy the journey.

December 27, 2014 at 07:56 PM · I second Marjory. Even a 10-minute "break" for violin can be useful. But you should seriously consider starting your morning with 30 minutes of violin if you can. Properly done you'll get the runner's high of endorphin flow. It'll wake your brain and body up nicely for the day.

December 27, 2014 at 09:08 PM · Thanks everyone for the answers.

John, Oh I see. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Yes, we have the option to go study in germany after 6 years from my current grade. Still long time away. And I still don't know yet if I'll go or I'll stay to continue the rest of my studies here. So I can't make decisions based on this option. But thanks a lot for the suggestion nonetheless.

Marjory & Lydia, thanks both of you for the advice. These are good ideas. I'll consider them.

December 29, 2014 at 11:37 PM · Amel, if you can afford it, go to Germany; or France, if that opens up (not so much Italy). Elise (a much higher ranking scientist than I am) might add the USA to that, but that's so jolly expensive and the atmosphere is pretty frenetic. I'm not saying this as a violinist, I'm speaking as a biomedical scientist who has worked in teaching hospitals most of my working life, has got to know consultants over lunch, and got a feel for what's going on.

December 30, 2014 at 07:05 AM · I see. So you mean not just for violin, but also for my medical studies, studying in Germany and France and the US is a better option than continuing in Tunisia? (Well of course it is I guess. I just am the kind of person who is overly attached to family; that's the only reason why I am hesitant about it.)

I have another question: from the way you put it, I understand you worked in many countries and maybe you knew the conditions in Tunisian hospitals so you compared? Because here some are bad, but some are very good hospitals. The one I'm training in is one of the best in the whole country (both for its equipment, working conditions and doctors).

And thanks a lot again for your suggestion.

December 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM · Amel, I wasn't talking about long term relocation, which is a separate issue (It may or may not be a good idea for you), but about where to spend an elective period, which for our medical students tends to be somewhere around 3 months. They generally try to do something positive with them: Quite a few will go to underprivileged hospitals or rural clinics in the "third world", where they get to do things that they wouldn't be trusted to do in this country - They get a real experience of "practising real medicine". Others may elect to go somewhere more advanced or more specialized than where they are, or where there are areas of research they might be considering making for in later life. I'm not entirely up to date and I certainly don't know much about Tunisia, but I would imagine that in Tunisia there may not be an awful lot of research going on, and possibly the highest ranking practitioners may be more passionate about their own pockets than about medicine - and they may be all men.

I don't know whether you've come across the joke we have in this country on the name Amal: http://www.rinkworks.com/jokes/jokes10.shtml #93. I was confused when I heard it, because the only people called Amal I knew were ladies, but apparently in Egypt the name is also given to boys. Your name is slightly different ... What I am getting at is that if there's a clue about whether you're a boy or a girl, I've missed it. And I don't know whether it makes a difference in your case as regards clinging to the family, etc.

However, I'd have thought a change of scene for three or so months, simply from the point of view of medical studies, could be a good idea.

December 31, 2014 at 12:03 PM · Oh then no, we don't have this kind of electives. We only have long term relocations.

About the lack of research, I think it's not the doctors' fault. It is mainly due to the lack of financial support of the State and lack of investement in the research field. Which is actually due to our weak economy at the moment... But the level of doctors and practitioners here is actually good, many of them participate in research all over the world and attend the biggest medical and scientific reunions and some have major contributions there. But I agree few of them tried improving the research *here*.

And no, they are not all men. The oldest ones maybe have more men tgan women, but the younger ones, maybe starting with those from back to 15 years ago to the most recently graduates, are actually a lot more women than males, even in the medical universities, women are the vast majority of students. (for example, for the first grade in my university, less than 100 are boys out of 350 students. So more than 2/3 are girls.) Actually this is one of the things Tunisia is most known for compared to other advancing countries: Women do have the same rights and contribution in society as much as men, and sometimes even more).

I never saw that joke before haha. Amel is actually similar to Amal. In Arabic one means "hope" while the other means "hopes" in plural. But there is no rule to how they are written in latin alphabets, so some people write Amel for the singular, while others use Amal for it. And the opposit too. For me, I use Amel for the singular "hope", which is my name.

And I'm a girl. But that does not influence nor change why I am overly attached to family. Because my brother is just like me too. It is only because we have relied on our parents on all the important things this far, so living on my own with a lot of responsibilities at the same time (cooking, shopping, financial care, transport,etc...) added to living alone, with no moral support or someone to rely on on harsh times; all of it combined would be hard on me personally.

Thanks a lot again for your suggestion but unfortunately we don't have that option here.

(For the next two weeks I will be very busy so I apologize in advance for not being able to reply to any future messages for two weeks. And thanks to everyone who did or will reply).

December 31, 2014 at 08:00 PM · Amel,

First, let me say that if you are passionate about playing the violin I know you will pursue it regardless of what anyone here tells you.

Second, you need to assess your current level of ability. I am an adult learner and I thought I could easily master such techniques as vibrato. But I found out that the violin is a difficult instrument to master and now I work really hard to play simple songs in first position with good intonation and rhythm, and I am satisfied with my progress.

Third, the use of modern technology can really help. Set up a computer or tablet or even a smartphone to record your playing, both audio and video. You need to do use this to evaluate your playing continuously. Also use headphones to play a tune while you play. This will really help you with intonation and rhythm.

Fourth, find a teacher or mentor if possible. Also use an online resource like ViolinLab.com. And try to interact with other players by joining a string band or other group as soon as you can. Some of these recommendations may be difficult now with your studies but someday you will get around to spending more time on your violin practice. For the non-professional it is a spiral learning process whereby we go forward some and back some, etc. Good luck!

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