Return to the violin

September 15, 2006 at 11:25 PM · I started the violin in 6th grade, and played until 10th grade. I quit because it wasn't cool anymore, and I thought it wasn't fun.

I am now 30, incredibly saddened that I didn't stick to it, and trying to play again.

I have signed up for lessons. And, while my reading skills are OK, my technique is horrible. How long do you think it'll take to pick it back up again...be able to use my 4th finger and regain my posture etc?

Replies (8)

September 15, 2006 at 11:39 PM · Greetings,

forget all that. Just get the good teacher, work hard and take it one day at a time. You need neither live in the past nor worry about some nebuluous future. Just enjoy making music again.

Cheers,

Buri

September 17, 2006 at 04:23 AM · ...yes, to what Buri said...

...I did something very similar...and it took me a couple of months to get to where I was when I quit...I'm currently moving ahead, albeit slowly...but definately continuing to improve! Good luck!...

September 19, 2006 at 03:33 PM · There's another thread from Virginia Sigh about quitting the violin (and coming back). I posted my own experience there with quitting twice and coming back twice (I'm currently in the middle of the second coming back). You can read it there, so I won't rehash that right now, except to highlight a few things.

One, your relationship with your teacher is going to be really important. As an adult, you can call the shots somewhat and find one who really clicks with you. If the teacher is too focussed on a traditional trajectory, prodigies, Heifetz-worship, competitions, "greatness," and all that stuff, walk away. Don't waste time with a teacher who regards maturity as a handicap or who says stuff like "we adults just overthink things and get in our own way." Thinking is good! In general, if you don't enjoy just shooting the breeze with your teacher as adult equals on subjects other than violin, again, walk away.

Pay attention to the physical aspects of playing. Now that you're over 30 you really can't afford to abuse your body, and if you try, it won't let you. It will complain, loudly. I saw an Alexander Technique teacher for the first time at age 29, and she made a huge difference in how I felt when I played. When I was younger, I had had back pain that prevented me from being able to practice for more than half an hour or so at a time. Getting rid of that was so liberating.

Read _The Inner Game of Music_. Read _The Artist's Way_. Use any ideas you read that resonate with you to help you approach practicing from a fresh and joyful perspective. Best wishes!

Karen Allendoerfer

September 19, 2006 at 05:42 PM · You will probably want to search carefully for a teacher with lots of experience teaching adults and who enjoy it. Ask around your musical community. Teachers like that exist, but you need to search them out.

September 19, 2006 at 05:45 PM · I had played for 25 years and didn't play for 25 years now after 6months I am ahead of where I was when I stopped 25years ago.

September 20, 2006 at 01:56 AM · At 57, I am taking lessons for the first time in over 30 years. Although I started playing at 7, I never could afford lessons. My sister showed me how to play, and then I was on my own.

I took about 6 months of lessons to prepare for my successful audition to Boston University music school. But, with the lack of preparation, and the struggle of recovering from severe burns on 60% of my body two years previous, I was not equipped to thrive in music school. I gave up on the idea of a music career.

Since then, my violin spent about 15 years in the closet, but then about 15 years ago I took the violin out and set it up in the living room so I could play at a moment's notice. Playing more led to improvement, and now I'm in two serious semiprofessional orchestras.

Last year, something clicked (or snapped) and I started to get serious about the violin. I have a teacher now, a student of Eric Rosenblith, who is delighted with the idea of pushing me hard to see how far I can take this thing. I won't be vying for a recording career, but I do look forward to being able to 'really' play all those pieces I can now play 'except for . . . '

The bottom line is, if you feel it, go for it, don't compare, don't look back, don't worry about where it will or won't take you.

September 20, 2006 at 01:22 PM · I stopped for only a few years, but found my love of the instrument again through playing irish fiddle. Previously i had gone to college as a violin major but stopped playing for about six years. Now I find it's so much fun to entertain yourself and others... i hope you stick with it.

September 20, 2006 at 05:22 PM · Believe that you can do it!My dad left the violin at a fairly advanced stage but returned to violin playing after nearly 30 years and plays wonderfully...30 years is no joke!Hard practice...:)

AN.

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