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.
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