Never too old, study advice sought

August 9, 2004 at 11:32 AM · Hi all,

Am a new member of the community and reading your forum with much interest.

I'm 60 years old (feels like 16) and used to play the clarinet for rather some years, but for physical reasons have to continue that at a lower level.

So finally a splendid excuse to pick up a violin, which I did half a year ago. Had some professional coaching with regard to technique and posture and can play (after some trial and error) songs that are in my head, no sheet music so far (i can read).

However I feel the need for a more structural approach (no teacher) like daily playing some



Hope you have some advice on suitable books etc.?

kind regards, bluebert

Replies (9)

August 9, 2004 at 08:37 AM · Hi,
Bert, I wish you a lot of success and fun with playing the violin. However, please don't try to ascend that summit without a teacher - at least not yet. As an orchestra member you'll probably need little or no guidance as far as musicality is concerned. Learning violin without expert guidance is a hard row to hoe. I (40 years old) tried this for years and was getting stuck. Since a little over two years, I go to a terrific teacher for 1.5 hours every week and I've progressed like you wouldn't believe.
As for etudes: Kreutzer seems a little bit much for a beginning violinist, I'd recommend you start off with Wohlfahrt, then Kayser.
Bye, Juergen

August 9, 2004 at 02:37 PM · I second Juergen's opinion...try a while longer with a teacher...I returned to the violin last fall (at 42)...and I've progressed a great deal in the months since I started with my instructor...I wouldn't have gotten to where I am on my own...reading about what to do is entirely different than being shown what to do... seems like you need to be shown first, before you understand what you're reading...


August 9, 2004 at 06:57 PM · Dear Bert: My best advice from experience is, get a teacher. I started violin at 39. I'm 52 now and a somewhat decent player. I am studying with my fourth teacher and she is the best one yet. All of my teachers have made a difference in some way but perhaps this last one seems the best because my technical skills have allowed me to do a better job with the music. A teacher can observe and listen in a way that you are not able to when you play. They can analyze what kind of books, exercises and other technical things you should be doing in order to become a better player. The violin is the most difficult challenge I have ever taken on. When I first started I thought (foolishly) that in 10 years I would know enough to be a good player. Well, I've played 13 years and see that I still have so far to go. I don't mean that to be discouraging. For me, it's exciting. There is always another piece of music to learn or another technique to practice. For me, it's as much about the process as about the playing. I just love playing all by myself in my practice room. I look forward to playing for at least 2 or 3 more decades. Working with a teacher keeps me structured so that I can be working towards some specfic goals of pieces learned and techniques improved. Teachers can make the difference between staying at the same level for years and being able to consistently improve. Yes, find a teacher. It's worth it. Ardene

August 10, 2004 at 06:51 AM · Hi Bert:

teacher or no teacher, here are some things that have helped me a lot (also a late starter):

1. Get the book 'Basics' by Simon Fischer and use it daily. It is absolutely brilliant. Pleeeeeasse buy it right now!

2. Read every scrap of Buri's advice on this board - well maybe not about the prunes...

3. Work out the finger patterns for every key, every position (there's a logical sequence), so you develop a mental map of the fingerboard.

4. Understand that teachers are usually people who started young and won't understand all our late-starter problems. You'll need to work some things out for yourself.

Good luck and have lots of fun,


August 10, 2004 at 08:04 AM · Hay susan i'm a late starter my self 43 years old now playing 6 month with a teacher i feel as if your words were ment to me exactly


August 10, 2004 at 08:34 AM · If you haven't already, it might not hurt to refresh your knowledge of music theory either. I found useful.

August 10, 2004 at 05:40 PM · hi all

thanks for all your advice; that indeed is a lot of usefull and inspiring

stuff i have to digest (and try out). i certainly will keep you informed

on my future experiences, thanks very much, bert

August 10, 2004 at 09:02 PM · Meir and Bert

Please let us know when you buy Basics and how useful you find it. I think it should be compulsory and wish I'd bought it as soon as I started.

October 2, 2004 at 03:50 PM · hi susan (and others)

yesssss, after scraping the bottom of my treasure box, i bought BASICS by simon fischer, and i must say , it's just GREAT.

really a huge amount of knowledge and i must force myself not to keep on browsing but attack the whole thing in a structured way.

i'll just start at (1) and keep on going for at least a year, see where that brings me, thanks very much, kind regards, bert (i'll let you know the results!!)

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