Thinking About Learning

April 16, 2004 at 05:53 PM · i'm 15 and have been thinking about learning violin for sometime. but money is quite tight at home and i would hate to ask my parents to spend a lot of money on somthing that i might just give up on after a month. so is the violin an instrument that many people throw down in disgust after a month? any help on deciding would be much appreciated

Replies (21)

April 16, 2004 at 06:43 PM · some do throw it down, but if you stick with it, it can be extremely rewarding

April 16, 2004 at 09:51 PM · Greetings,

different ways to think about the problem.

You are interested so that is a good start. The reason people throw down the violin is because they do not have a good teacher from the beginning. Without this it really is quite problematic. So the next question is do you have the money for lessons? A violin can actually be rented for a reasonable sum.

Difficult to comment on committment of somebody I don"t know. But, what about investing something in the process yourself. What I mean by that, is if , for exaple , you did a part time job in the summer and earnt 500 dollars or whatever for renting an instrument and taking some lessons then that would be something -you have done- and whether or not you give up (which is actually quite reasonable- everybody has diifernet needs from different instruments)that would be something to be proud of.

It would also show your parents that you are willing to be responsible for stuff and next time you want somehting real big they er, might be more inclined to cough up,



April 16, 2004 at 10:02 PM · buri is wise, always listen to buri, except of course when his views conflict with mine.

April 17, 2004 at 06:07 AM · I always take Buri's suggestions serious except when it comes to prunes, even though I read that it's actually good for my health.

The first time I thought about learning the violin was around your age. But because back then I was already learning the piano, I didn't have the time for anything else. During University years I went ahead and bought a violin and was having lessons with the money I was earning from a Japanese restaurant washing dishes.

Since then, it has been really rewarding even though I do throw my violin on the bed with frustration once in a while. But I would play a violin CD, listen to it for 3 minutes and fall in love with my violin all over again.

April 17, 2004 at 08:00 AM · If violin playing is Your own choice (not your parents'one) and you have taste for challenges then go on you won't give up despite difficulties and sometimes discouragement. If you are not a conqueror think it over before starting it

April 17, 2004 at 01:08 PM · From what I've observed, even violinists who have played their entire lives still get disgusted, "throw it down" and walk away, but it gets picked up again. So, I'd have to agree that the challenge and rewards of seeing yourself progress is what will keep you coming back to it if you love the violin. I'm not aware of any instrument that is easily learned, they all require work. A certain amount of frustration just comes with the territory! :)

April 17, 2004 at 03:38 PM · Buri said it all, I think.

Best of luck and let us know what you decide to do! :) As long as you're stubborn enough, anything is possible.

Musically, Emily

April 17, 2004 at 11:29 PM · Hello,

What about having a lesson to get some idea of what it is like?

I also wondered about playing the violin for a while before finally deciding to give it a go. My teacher let me use her violin for the first lesson, so I didn't have to invest beforehand. I thought it would be hard to decide upon that one time if I wanted to carry on or not, but oh no: I fell in love! "Wow, *I* am making those lovely sounds!" (yes, my first notes on open strings must have sounded lovely to me only! ;) Anyway I bought my own violin the very next day, and have now been learning for a little under a year.

I would say that amoung other things you need a certain amount of motivation which you seem to have, time to practice, and patience. It takes a bit of time to start to play more interesting sounding pieces, but I found that even the exercises and open string tunes that you play when you begin can be fun.

Well there's my little bit of newbie feedback!


April 18, 2004 at 10:00 PM · Learning how to play music is all about determination and learning to love it. I think most people do stick with an instrument for more than one month if they enjoy playing the instrument as the first few months provide the most things to progress on I think:)

I totally agree with you on the price of music lessons these days, can someone answer why they are so expensive?

April 18, 2004 at 10:20 PM · I don't know about your country, but I have to increase my price because of tax/business expenses.

April 19, 2004 at 01:48 AM · Greetings,

One-Sim, i can`t speak for any one else, but this is why I am -extremely- expensive ;)

I gave up the pleasures of childhood to lead a monastic existence practcing many hours a day until my fingers bled. I accumulated many hundreds of hours of orchestral experience before I went to college by giving up my weekends. I graduated from a major music institute after consuming too much coffee. I spent a further year studying orchetral repertoire day in day out, week in week out courtesy of the BBC orchstral studies program. I paid thousand sof punds for private lessons and training courses after u graduated. I have like wise spent and continue to spend a fortune in order to explore the relationship between the physical skill of playing the violin and natural body use.

I spend a fortune attending masterclasses and studying with top soloists ta irregular intervals in order to keep my plaing to the highest possble standard.

I do a 9 to 5 job but I rarely practic eless than five hours a day becuase i belibe I have that obligation to my students.

I spend a fortune on scores and cds to study evry work in depth that any student could possibly wnat to study.

I prepare every piece and etude any student is going to play in a lesson before ht estudnet comes to a lesson. I give the student my undivided attention for as long as thye need without watching the clock.

I take detailed notes of everything importnat at that time and discuss them with the studnet. After the student has left I consider what needs to be none next time and take notes.

So yeah, you want to lose an arm and a leg- ask me for a lesson.

But if you want to just come and drink with me, fool around on the fiddle, listen to some music and have a good time, then go ahead. I might even pay you,



April 19, 2004 at 04:03 AM · I love that explanation, Buri! I think maybe I'll xerox it to include in my "new student" packet. ;)

April 19, 2004 at 04:09 AM · Greetings,

Laurie, I had some reservations about posting it. But then, as the song goes, if you don`t know me by now...

The thing is, any half decent teacher could write something like that (in fact a heck of a lot better) if they thought about it. Most of us really have given up a lot and are willing to do so until time immemorial to help out students. It is never jsut the half hour of torture for the kid. Yet, one of the aspects of this glorious list that troubles me at times is how litlte good is said about the teaching profession as a whole, including even the worst of teachers. Maybe somebody needs to stand up for them every now and again just to redress the balance?



April 19, 2004 at 05:30 AM · it always did seem weird that a violin master would only charge 100 an hour whereas many professions that require massively less mastery charge so much more. SOd the violin stuff, i'm gonna be a therapist!

April 21, 2004 at 05:40 AM · Greetings:

I also live in Japan (Tokyo, Shinjuku area) and would like to get some information on good violin teachers for beginning/intermediate level. Does anyone have any suggestion?



April 21, 2004 at 06:51 AM · Greetings,

well, there are a lot of good teachers in Japan. There are two possibilities I think depending on your Japanese ability as well as playing.

First , if you wanted a foreign teacher then check out the members lists for the professional orchestras. Not exactly sure how you do this. Maybe a Japanese friend can help. Then just try to get in touch with them.

You might find that a lot of the top Japanese soloists/teachers have a pretty fair grasp of English because they went to America (Galamian or whaever) to study during the boubble economy when lucre flowed like prune juice. How many of them accept beginners is another story.

(or you can travel a long way at great inconveninece and expense to me...)

The other way would be to go into a music shop and see if they have any advertisments for private teachers.

An option you could explore is to visit the more commercial violin schools but this is really hit and miss. I know of some really good teachers in thse kind of insititutes but you have to pay through the nose and the system tends not to be flexible.

Let me know if you have any further thoughts on this. I may be able to ask around a little.



April 21, 2004 at 09:58 AM · Dear Buri;

Thank you for the prompt reply. I did go to several violin shops in Tokyo and asked for teacher information. Until now I have had trial lessons from 3 different teachers I knew from a Japanese music teacher search website ( My current teacher (I go to her apartment for lessons) is a violin major (grad student) at the Toho Conservatory. We get along quite well; however I don't have enough experience to judge her teaching skills. I think she plays wonderfully though. She also teaches at a commercial school (ongaku kyousitu) and told me that the schedule there is not flexible and lesson time is rather short. If possible I would prefer private lesson although I don't mind going to the school if I can learn the violin better that way. I speak fairly good Japanese, by the way. Seki seems to be a bit far from where I live (is it near Nagoya?) so I don't think I can go there, even with prunes ... Thank you again.

April 21, 2004 at 11:33 AM · Greetings,

Jesse, it is very hard to evaluate a teacher from just one lesson. Indeed, they may be struggling to evaluate you. It is easy to recognize the problems, but the cause is more complex and it is the cause thta a teacher has to address. Any fool can tell you a simple technical exercise or tell you something is not so well in tune...

The graduates of Toho should be excellent. My thought is why don"t you explain the problem honestly to her and then offer to pay for say, five lessons with no strings attached on either side. After five lessons maybe if you are happy payfor ten lessons in advance with the same proviso.

It is not normal to do things this way here (as you know) but sometimes this works out well for both people. Teachers too worry about where the next pay is coming from.

Seki is way too far to travel for a lesson but I hopewe can meet sometime I am in Tokyo. I teach at a university there ...sort of .....Japan is starnge at times.

Let me know if I can help in any other way,



April 21, 2004 at 04:19 PM · The best advice I could give you given your situation.

Is to spend some time listening to the pros play whenever you can.If you find yourself being inspired more and more by them and find yourself falling in love with the sound.Then you are ready to take the plug.

If you do take the plug,two things to remember;

1.Practicing will come easier if you are in love with sound.

2.Dont expect it to come easy to you and you wont be disappointed and quit if it does'nt.

April 21, 2004 at 04:54 PM · As for instruments, there is no reason for a complete beginner to consider buying one. You should rent a violin until you've had a chance to learn & play so that you have a better idea of what's involved, because only then are you in a position to decide whether you want to & will be able to stick with it. Many reputable shops have an arrangement where you can rent from them & if you later decide to buy an instrument from them , a percentage of your rental fees goes towards the cost of the instrument.

Also, for anyone wanting to start any instrument with no musical background, I think it's best to learn the fundamentals of music on piano before adding on the technical demands of learning the instrument itself.

April 23, 2004 at 04:46 PM · Ev Hig,

My suggestions come as a parent with children your age. Since, you've been thinking about taking violin for sometime, then you have the desire and that's all that is needed to get started. It's not very expensive to get started less than the cost of a new video game. You could rent a a violin or perhaps find a teacher who could loan you an instrument for awhile. Many teachers are willing to do this. As parents, we know that our children get interesting in things and then later change their minds. That's OK. Sometimes, we may even say something like, "oh you're just going to change your mind in a month." But, we don't really mean it the way that you think. We are always interested and encourged when our children show an interest in something worth while like music. As for throwing down the instrument, yes learning the violin or anything new can be frustrating at times. But, learning the violin will teach you an important life lesson on how to deal with frustration as you journey toward your goal. Finding a good teacher will help as they not only teach the technical aspects of playing the violin, but also help you deal with frustration, keep you motivated, and encouraged. Music teachers are different than the teachers at school. Like I said you have the desire and that's all that's needed to get started. You're not making a decision that you have to keep for the rest of your life. If after a couple of months you change your mind, so be it. At 15, I've change my mind many times. But, I think and hope that a decision to start learning to play violin will last a life time. Good luck on your decision.

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