I am thinking about coming back to violin after a hiatus of almost two years. Just before I gave it up, I was working on Corelli's La Folia with my teacher, along with Mazas etudes.
I used to practice like a fiend, all with the goal of playing chamber music on violin. I had just started venturing into it when I got to the level I described above (early intermediate?).
My foray into chamber music was a complete letdown. I tried through multiple venues (local music school, workshops, ACMP, and even a weeklong festival for adult amateurs). I found that the ad hoc groups through ACMP always fell apart (inevitably, at least one person would flake out after a meeting or two) and the playing level in the more structured groups was quite low. I became discouraged, stopped practicing, and eventually sold my violin.
I've tried to make myself practice piano, because it doesn't depend on other people for a complete musical experience. But I'm just not that excited about it. Recently I played for a few minutes on someone's violin and I can't stop thinking about it. I want to play again...but for what? I learned the hard way that I can't depend on others for a satisfying chamber music experience. My primary (wind) instrument will always be my choice for orchestral playing. I don't know of any teachers in my area who hold recitals for their students (I "interviewed" probably 5-6 when I was searching for a teacher a few years back), so solo performance may not be a viable goal either...
Do others play without the promise of performance opportunities? Should I just stick with piano and see if I can make myself like it someday?
I don't know if you are religious, but you may be able to find a pianist at a church that is down to have someone to play with, and if you aren't religious, you might be able to find some Unitarian/ humanist kind of place that has some music, although a good bet might be a Lutheran Church.
It really sounds like the violin is more satisfying for you than the piano. I understand! I use my keyboard chops in recording (mainly) but it doesn't satisfy me like playing violin. I am working on the Bach S&Ps for exactly your reasons. I mean, maybe at some point I will play this stuff in public probably, but it's not ready now. I don't have to rely on anyone, though, and it is very satisfying and completely absorbing to work on. I give it an hour or two every day. You could start on the easier movements and work your way towards the fugues and the mighty Chaconne.
My guess is that you may need to get to a higher technical level before you are able to play with partners that you'll find more satisfying.
Emily, I gotta say, you sound kind of impatient to me and that may be inhibiting your enjoyment of your chamber music experiences.
I went a long way playing with a chamber orchestra and choir that play both religious and secular music. We have really great occaisonal vocal soloists and I play quite a few solos myself from time to time (I used to be last chair—I joined when I was about RCM level 2). Though I stopped getting anything out of it technically a long time ago, it's still fun to play and tour with them.
I second the suggestions to join an orchestra. Even if you don't especially enjoy orchestral playing, it's the quickest way to meet a lot of other string players. Other than summer chamber music workshops, almost all of my chamber music playing comes from orchestra contacts, and I know several people who joined orchestras mainly in order to find chamber music partners.
What about finding another violin player who is about your level and play duets? There are lots of violin duets out there for your level.
Mozart and LeClair too!
a lot depends on your location... here in Toronto we have (are blessed with) a really active amateur (avocational) music life, with many musicians on all possible levels. One of the groups is called "Rusty musicians" and I visit them occasionally to meet my friend and just have some fun. My own groups are quite serious about studying music together and performing a few times per year. There are many, many more groups with different levels of commitment.... plus there are community orchestras.
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I look forward to getting back into playing, but am trying to set goals that aren't as dependent on external performance opportunities. As those arise, I'll take them, of course, but I'm trying to find ways to motivate myself to keep practicing even when those opportunities are few and far between.
Consider performing in retirement homes, hospitals, and the like, for free. It's usually low-pressure. Yes, hiring a pianist is totally normal.
There are the Beethoven violin-cello duets (which were written for clarinet and bassoon, but they're nice).
There are some nice Stamitz duos for violin and viola if you can find a violist -- intermediate level (as long as you're comfortable with double-stops), quite satisfying.
I play without the promise of performance opportunities, and just made my own by hosting a recital with a fellow adult learner. We hired a pianist to play with us, and my favorite part of the recital were the rehearsals leading up to it.
Great suggestions, everyone! Now, to get my hands on a violin again...
I agree with "love for the violin itself". No point otherwise.
As Rocky says.
I read the above and they are great ideas - a lot of which I did too as a returner. There are two more:
I was at a string quartet performance last night, at an excellent performance in an experienced audience, reportedly one of the best audiences in the city, and found myself thinking that the environment wasn't quite as quiet as I might have liked, to be more free of the extraneous noises and distractions caused by the audience, and thought that, if I was among the musicians, and played at their level with as much sensitivity to the music as they did, that I might feel the same way, and prefer the complete silence of a practice or recording studio with a group of like-minded individuals, for the music. But of course I'm happy that they decided to share that with an audience.
I agree with Elise about summer camps. I'll bet that Maine location is beautiful. How do you get there? Do you fly into St. John or Bangor? I don't like tiny little planes ...
Lubec (the most westerly location in the USA) is stunningly beautiful - a run down fishing village extending into the bay of Fundy. The bridge to Campobello island (with the Roosevelt compound and Canada)is within walking distance just south of the village. Family members that came with would certainly not be disappointed. It was primarily a piano camp originally but now accommodates a wide assortment of classical instruments (and more). They have three violin/viola teachers that alternate to cover the whole summer - but the level of tuition is up to 'intermediate', not much more. The OP can contact me if she wants any more info on that or other camps (I researched it quite thoroughly a few years ago - there is also a topic here).
It is hard to be motivated when you are learning in an isolated environment.
One of the small delights of being a neophyte FIDDLER......
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.