When did you stop taking lessons

May 8, 2019, 3:01 PM · The recent thread about quitting suggested another (related) question: When did you stop taking lessons and go it on your own? Or didn't you? And why (if you know that)?

I had my last lesson at the age of about 30. Then I moved away to my first job and decided to try it on my own. I have not had any lesson since. Any violin lesson that is. There were quite a few chamber music coaching sessions and I have learned a lot from those and also from conductors in orchestra rehearsals. I ended up making slow but somewhat steady technical progress (more comfort in high positions, also double stops, generally more ease and comfort) which I did not expect beforehand.

I believe it would be interesting to read answers to this question from both amateurs and professionals since they obviously would act differently.

Replies (12)

May 8, 2019, 4:49 PM · I suspect (but do not know) that even the top pros have coaches.

The real objective of a university education is to teach you to teach yourself. However, there are always areas where experts have more information than you can find in books, journals or by yourself so why stop?

Edited: June 6, 2019, 7:31 AM · I had my last violin lesson when I was about 11-1/2 years old. I had cello lessons from age 14 - 17. From that point, on both instruments, I was self-taught with only asked-for help from my father, advice from conductors, and a few coached sessions from about age 60 to 70. I stopped violin lessons because I wanted to and after resuming playing before high school I saw the way the other violinists my age were playing and knew I wanted nothing to do with their teacher, who was the only one in town - so I just willed myself to be better than they were or could be and I worked on it the summer between 9th and 10th grades.

I think my basic childhood training must have been pretty good (Manhattan School of Music) because I was able to be concertmaster at my high school (in a different state than NY) for 3 years and community orchestra concertmaster for 20 years (in another state) and even some out-of-town gigs as a "ringer."

A few strangers (not many) on seeing me play have asked if I was a professional - so maybe I look like I'm doing things right. But I don't let it go to my head because I have always known the truth but tried to get away with as much as I could, anyway.

May 8, 2019, 10:40 PM · I stopped taking lessons when I stopped taking auditions, which roughly coincided with when I started having children.
May 9, 2019, 10:22 AM · I stopped violin lessons at 18, when I left school. I was happy with the stage I had gotten to, and had no desire to continue lessons on the violin. However, I play regularly with local orchestras, where I am continually learning from either the conductor, or my desk partner.
I only recently started viola lessons.
May 9, 2019, 10:42 AM · I had my last violin lesson at age 18 (I started at age 5). It was pretty much right after my senior recital, which happened the summer of 1987 after I graduated high school. I took a long break from the violin after that and returned to regular practicing again in 2011. Since then, I've been learning on my own, and have completed the Mendelssohn and Bruch concertos, as well as Bach's Chaconne. These were the 3 major works I wanted to learn upon returning. Now that I have them under my belt (the Bruch was just performed in March), I'm deciding what to do next...
Edited: May 9, 2019, 3:17 PM · Started out self-teaching in my teens, and essentially used community orchestra rehearsals in lieu of lessons for a long time.

I took in-person viola lessons for 3 months in 2016 at age 33, and stopped because my teacher had no evening or weekend openings and scheduling every single weekday lesson individually around my work schedule was a massive pain. (I averaged about one lesson per two weeks but never had a regular time slot.)

I later took monthly Skype lessons for seven months in 2017-18, but that was always going to be a short-term thing because my teacher was a violinist without viola experience, and the purpose was to fix specific technical things and not to work on any repertoire.

I was looking for a viola teacher as of summer 2018, but stopped looking due to a shoulder injury that prevented me from practicing regularly.

June 5, 2019, 2:13 PM · My last lesson was when I was 20, in 1993. However, I really had to figure out nearly everything :p.
Edited: June 5, 2019, 2:49 PM · I stopped somewhere around 12 or 13, then had a few sporadic ones from my mom, and then got back to formal lessons at 23 or 24 and have been going ever since. Switched to 2x per week a little over a year ago.
June 5, 2019, 10:32 PM · There were serious gaps in my training, which is one reason I am not major-league professional. Almost continuous lessons from 4 teachers to age 22, then one more year with teacher #5 at age 27.
June 6, 2019, 7:25 AM · I would ask someone like Gene, who I've heard play and who's really quite accomplished, whether they think they might be able to really raise their game by having a lesson, say, once in two or three weeks.
June 8, 2019, 8:27 AM · started lessons at age 42, and still taking them 17 years later. I agree with the primary goal is to teach how to learn on my own. Realistically that is correct. What is interesting is 95% of what teacher says in lessons he’s said before. In many respects its a personal training session, where I’m guided thru an intense practice session. Can I do it on my own?
June 8, 2019, 12:00 PM · Gene I think I recall that you posted you playing the Chaconne in your apartment, with the kids running around, I still remember that video, it was very very good for an amateur, that must have been shortly after you resumed practicing?

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