Hello Community! Back to the instrument after a decade away

February 7, 2019, 11:29 AM · Hello Violinist community,

After falling out of love with playing music a decade ago, as well as a few years of waffling about, I've decided to pick up lessons again and give the rep an honest try again.

This is all partly inspired by the local audiophile community where I live, and partly by TwoSet on youtube (although jokes on them, after paying for lessons and sheet music I can't afford to buy their merch anymore).

Nice to meet you all. Looking forward to exploring some of the knowledge here, and shitposting about acceptable intonation.

Replies (15)

February 7, 2019, 11:32 AM · Congrats on picking it up again! And don't mind us arguing with Krakovich - uh, yeah, just ignore that stuff. So it appears you've started up again - how long has it been since you resumed lessons?
February 7, 2019, 11:34 AM · TwoSet has merch? Heaven help us.
February 7, 2019, 11:36 AM · I'm in the same boat as you, James, I took about 9ish years off (age 13-22 with some putzing around in between) and I've been back for a couple years. There's lots for me to learn and relearn.

I somewhat regret stopping lessons during such an important developmental phase in my life, but at the same time I don't because I've become quite a good oboist/English horn player. I'm glad I've returned to my first love though! I missed it tons!

Edited: February 7, 2019, 11:54 AM · @Nina
I think we are all David in some way. My intonation is god awful, and even worse, I have a hard time hearing it unless it's really blatant. How I wish I could just shred it fast, but that's not the way the instrument works...

I took my first real lesson last week at a local Chicago studio. Still figuring out what to play with the teacher, so I did the only logical thing for a bright-eyed yappie...bought ALL the sheet music from Shar, and we'll figure it out as we go. I'm not very good at judging difficulty, and since I"m not really looking for professional/conservatory programs, I hope the study can be a little bit more free-form/self-directed.
A personal goal of mine is to get to the point where I can buy a really good instrument. As a data analyst in my day job, those "studies" about strads sounding like modern violins are done so poorly. But if you take the studies at face value, the solution for me is obvious...I should work towards buying a modern that "sounds like a Strad". I think learning about tone and acoustics is going to be a large part of this journey anyway.


@Paul

Yes they have merch, although thankfully most of the apparel is just clever(ish?) memes about practicing.

February 7, 2019, 11:56 AM · Yes, but the difference is David denies his intonation, and even if he isn't, he's defending his intonation. He even continues shredding even though he (probably) knows it's bad. You seem mature enough to know the difference between your behavior and his, and with some ear training, you'll be fine. David is unwilling to listen to us for the most part, and will likely not improve without accepting some guidance.
But really, it doesn't matter what Krakovich wants, does it? We can only change our own playing.
Also, it's only your first week back - cut yourself some slack. My intonation was probably crap too when I first started (I only remember a portion of my first lesson, quite a while ago).
And you're right about the studies conducted about Strads. They seem rather vague and I'm not sure how well controlled they were.
Anyways, good luck on your journey as a violinist! Don't forget to enjoy it.
February 7, 2019, 11:56 AM · Yes, but the difference is David denies his intonation, and even if he isn't, he's defending his intonation. He even continues shredding even though he (probably) knows it's bad. You seem mature enough to know the difference between your behavior and his, and with some ear training, you'll be fine. David is unwilling to listen to us for the most part, and will likely not improve without accepting some guidance.
But really, it doesn't matter what Krakovich wants, does it? We can only change our own playing.
Also, it's only your first week back - cut yourself some slack. My intonation was probably crap too when I first started (I only remember a portion of my first lesson, quite a while ago).
And you're right about the studies conducted about Strads. They seem rather vague and I'm not sure how well controlled they were.
Anyways, good luck on your journey as a violinist! Don't forget to enjoy it.
February 7, 2019, 3:56 PM · James,

Getting back to your main topic: the return to the instrument -- what are your short and long term goals? Where do you want to play and what kind of music?

Just curious: how old are you now?

Edited: February 7, 2019, 5:14 PM · Hi George:

Short term goals are to play bach in tune. Long term goals are...well...to play bach in tune.

But in all seriousness, for the short term I'm still nailing down starting pieces with my teacher at the moment. At the moment it looks to be Partita 2, one movement + a couple pages of the chaconne (ciaconne?) at a time, and then one of the PG13 concertos (I've been dodging mendelssohn and mozart 5 since my teacher back in high school suggested them, don't know if I can run from them forever) and we're going to see how far I get down the Intro+Rondo.

Long term goals are to play all 3 of Tchaikovsky Beethoven and Brahms. I don't really care about performing or anything, I'd be pretty content just jamming all 3 out with a pianist. A long time ago I had already accepted that Brahms might be out of reach for my lifetime (and also, according to my teacher, finding somebody who can teach Brahms can be a little bit of a challenge on its own).

Chamber music also seems fun for me, but TBH I don't even know where I'd start finding people who have the time/energy/money/desire etc... to do that. Was going to make a post later asking people how to find chamber groups...

To answer your last question, I'm 29.

February 7, 2019, 5:21 PM · Welcome! It's good to see a relatively young, ambitious late returner here. We've got a bit in common: I'm a late-starter violist, only a few years older than you, and last year I added a new long-term goal of playing all three of Walton, Bartok, and Der Schwanendreher (Hindemith) after thinking for many years that all three were out of reach for my lifetime.

For me, the best way to find people to play chamber music with has been to join community orchestras. In fact, some of the people in my orchestras joined mainly in order to find chamber music partners. In the last two years, I've also found people through summer chamber music workshops where I went out of my way to try and meet everyone on the workshop roster who was listed as being from my city.

Edited: February 7, 2019, 9:27 PM · Hi James! I am in a similar situation, played some 7 years, quit for a while - well a bit longer than your 9 - started again at similar age (30, now 31.5 tho) and in Chicago. Just curious, where are you taking lessons?
February 8, 2019, 4:41 AM · Welcome James T !
February 8, 2019, 5:11 AM · Welcome back!
February 8, 2019, 3:19 PM · @Leslie

There is a studio called Chicago School of Music kind of near my office. I'm taking lessons there.

February 8, 2019, 7:41 PM · James, if your goal is to get your intonation back up to par -- make friends with daily scales! :)
February 9, 2019, 8:38 AM · Hi James - not sure if I hold a record but I stopped at age 13 and then picked it up again age 56 - that's 43 years. The worst thing was intonation; after that long I could be as much as a whole note out (and worse, I was blissfully unaware until I made a recording - you can imagine the horror). With time the intonation comes back by itself, or at least imperceptibly, as your brain retrains.

You obviously were pretty advanced when you quit, which is a big advantage too. Give some thoughts to doing summer camps - I found them invaluable as non-threatening playing opportunities - and also community orchestras. The latter has the big benefit of meeting others in the community for possible chamber music or repertoire play-throughs.

Welcome back! ee

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