Have you ever thought playing an instrument is childish?
Hello, I've sometimes in the past "struggled" about playing the violin, although it could be any instrument really. I sometimes have these bad thoughts about playing an instrument as an adult (20 years old or older), as if it was something that is childish, not mature, not important, a distraction to give up for childish urges and hobbies more than something productive an adult would do.
For those that don't really get what I mean, compare it to videogames, something mostly for kids, teenagers and mid twenties, but that one starts to stop doing when finishing college, finding a house, job, marriage... yeah, that's a great example, videogames.
It's not that I think this way, but it's something I've asked myself sometimes and I wanna know what answers you've come with, if you've asked yourself something similar.
It's related with frustrating practice days, but not really the same thing. It's different, it's not about myself thinking that I'll never be good and it's not worth it. Just in case someone says it's a question you ask yourself when you think you're bad at violin, it's not, at least in my case. Related, but not the same thing.
Share your thoughts, and if you've never asked yourself something remotely similar, think about what would you say to a student of yours asking you this.
I'd say not even remotely, that never crossed my mind. If anything I would think of it as being mature behavior for a child.
Most folks learn to walk well before the age of 2. Sounds like walking must be quite a childish activity.
More than 1 out of 3 Americans over the age of 50 -- more than 40 million people -- play videogames. So even your baseline analogy is ridiculous.
Yes, but unless you're a regular performer making music is also fundamentally self-indulgent. I can see how one might ask oneself how devoting such an huge amount of time to useless amusement can be justified? Surely we should spend every spare minute doing things that will benefit the planet?
It sounds like you have a rather limited concept of what being an adult is, like going to work, and fixing stuff around the house, and then get old fast and die.
What's the definition of a childish activity? The closest one I could find (and not yet think it's perfect) is generally something a child does but an adult doesn't.
My parents tried to pressure me to quit music the day I got into college and didn't pursue it as a career, saying that only children and retirees could afford to have hobbies. (Needless to say, I didn't quit.)
Video games, yes, undeniably. But there's nothing deeper than music. Instruments are just a vehicle for it.
being an adult = "being productive"? Where does that come from? Why should people quit being creative, curious and seeking fulfillment in sports, arts, learning and even playing video games once they have reached a certain age? Making music is not an activitiy restricted to childhood that is outgrown one day. To me life-long learning and pursuing things that enrich our lives beyond "being productive" is deeply human.
We work to support our life, work is not our life. Making music is one of many ways with which to connect to our inner being and to enrich our lives, as Gemma and others have said, nothing is deeper. I enjoy listening to music, but that doesn't compare with what it feels like to make music - even if the music I make is far below the expertise of the recorded music to which I listen.
Well, it's common to force music upon children, to find out if they are musical, and because children's brains need stretching, and because children need to be aware of what life has to offer, etc.
I'm sorry if some of you took the question badly or got "offended". I'm not trying at all to attack any of you, nor your profession or hobby, it's mine as well, very proudly.
Personally I’m not offended. I’m just surprised (and curious) what chain of logic would lead someone to the conclusion that playing violin is childish.
What's interesting is that, in spite of the meme that persists, most Americans aren't busy 24-7. We just like to THINK we are. But that's what we tell everyone, and ourselves, right?
I have a very intimate feeling about this question.
That is "office job-think" to me. Is it childish to watch movies/play games/hike/watch and/or do sports on your leisure time?
Did you play as a child, Paul? Any deep-seated resentment of other kids who had music lessons? :)
If playing an instrument is childish, what should we think of soccer! Isn’t that childish to make a living kicking a ball?... well maybe ;-) ... but it pays well!
My father was an amateur violinist. His music friends would come to our home every 4 weeks to play quartets (the other 3 times they played at the others' homes). So, to me playing an instrument was a very adult activity and when my Grandpa Victor gave me a violin for my 4th birthday I felt it was an invitation to begin to join that adult world.
Milstein said playing the violin was silly.
@Marty where's the source?
Actually, I remember thinking that I was doing something adult when I was a child.
I would argue that many modern jobs are not all that more 'serious' than trying to learn the violin. Would we really say that something like designing algorithms for displaying more 'relevant' ads to people is so much more of an 'adult' thing to do?
This thread is childish.
Somtimes I can lapse into feeling that playing violin, reading, creative writing and so on are self indulgent past times, but then I remember, accurately I believe, that art, music, enjoying nature, complicated cooking, etc are such life enhancing dimensions for those of us fortunate enough to be able to access them in any way or in many ways, alone and/or with others. I watch my father at 84 having lived a good life of teaching and family, even more deeply value his cello playing, alone, with others, in chamber groups, orchstra and lessons, now, as his cello helps him find his way through widowhood.
Maybe it depends on what you do with it? If you're a professional, obviously not. If you tend to play in public regularly, maybe not. If you're not very good and do it only for yourself, it begins to feel pointless-- what am I doing all this playing for if I'm not practicing to perform? Why am I doing it if I still am not good? Etc.
That is whay it is SO GOOD!!! I am viola maker, whenever I enter my workshop, I feel as a 10 years old boy again!!!
The whole anti-video game thing is hypocrisy of the highest order.
"Take the factor where people tend to automatically assume that if you do something, you're good at it... and if you're not (whether because you're just a beginner, or because you're simply not good), they might feel like it's pointless, wonder why you bother, or even look down on you more than they might if you simply didn't do it at all (is it better to be boring with no hobbies, or to have hobbies you're bad at?).
Possibly. My guess is that often if you mention a hobby such as music, dance, painting, etc., the first question you'll get from a lot of people is, "Are you any good?" As the song says, under pressure! If you have to say no, you feel foolish, and they lose interest.
The art of the violin.
Love your commeng LUIS CLAUDIO MANFIO that this is why it is so good! That is just how I feel about riding my bike, too. At 60, hop on it and I'm the best side of 12.
"Or maybe parents like mine are more common than I thought -- as in, the kind of people who think adults shouldn't put time into anything they don't have a decent shot at make a living doing"
I should mention that my parents also tried to pressure me to quit sports because it was clear that I had no future in professional sports. For them it was purely a matter of job prospects, and having hobbies at all was "childish." They would have had no objection to me continuing with music if I was going to try to pursue it as a career, and would have had no objection to me continuing to play soccer if I was considering going pro. (I didn't quit either of the two.)
I would think of it as much more active than most of people's pastimes. Watching sports is pretty accepted, although sometimes considered childish, but maybe it has less of that connotation because alcohol is pretty heavily associated.
If taking out my violin every day and thinking "I love this" is childish, then bring it on. I want more of that in my life.
Steve Jones wrote:
Oops! This one slipped out by accident.
Actually Charlie I totally agree with you - always worth asking oneself the questions though! Among equally self-indulgent but even more useless pastimes I could name carp fishing and surfing. The latter also seems a bit childish to me, but redeemed by being harmless (I guess) as well as useless. As for benefiting the planet, I think the best thing I might do is volunteer for fertiliser.
Justin Martyr's unknown source only wrote that playing a musical instrument in public worship was childish (?in the sense of being childish under the Law), not the use of musical instruments in general.
A couple of thoughts here:
I've heard this idea, especially when I was a teenager, but I never agreed with it. I agree with MD's point above: some people seem to think that the process of growing up necessarily means leaving aside the things you do for yourself or your own enjoyment in favor of being in service to other people, particularly in service to raising children. This idea gets applied to women especially. But I think it's sexist when it's implied that a woman's most important calling is motherhood, and it's outdated when applied to anyone. Nowdays there is more widespread understanding and recognition that people need to take care of their own needs first and set healthy boundaries before they can be of real service to others. In my opinion (and speaking as a mother) that's true for mothers as much as anyone. I think that being a musician has probably made me a better parent!
"Childish" is just a term originated by close-minded people to lock others into a certain way of existing.
Not at all. The word 'childish' has a pejorative connotation, and I consider music as one of the most sublime activities one can engage into.
I love what Erik wrote in his 3:31 am post.
It's past time we (including those on this board) consider video games to be just a "waste of time". There are games out there for all purposes. Some, true, are for passing easy time on public transport, but there are a great many games that challenge us mechanically, many that challenge us mentally, and some that tell a great story, and even some that use gameplay itself as a story telling technique.
Guys, I said videogames because it's quite normal to hear "gaming is for kids/teenagers/college". Once you're an adult (late 20's, 30's), playing videogames is considered a waste of time by many people, and again, I'm not talking about playing chess in the PC, I'm talking about your regular Call of Duty, League of Legends, Fortnite... games that are popular and are played for many hours each week (violin practice, another common ground). It was just the perfect example for you to understand what I meant. I'm not talking about spending 1h each week playing videogames, in fact, spending so little time tells a lot about who's that hobby for. No one would say anything negative about that, unless, I don't know, you play princess and castles with your 40 YO sister.
Another vote for, "NO"
Your implicit definition of "childish" seems to be any activity that does not produce [money, goods, a service that would otherwise be purchased] or reproduce [birthing and rearing children]. To think this way is the hegemony of capitalism, which ironically, is a legacy of Karl Marx's definition of what it means to be a whole person, that is, "a species-being."
I understand what you meant, Paul N. I think video games are actually very similar in levels of engagement to music. And they have the distinct advantage of being group activities right from the beginning, which promotes rapid improvement. When playing the violin, it's hard for it to be an effective group activity right from the outset, so you're usually just competing against yourself. That can be discouraging.
I'm not a big video game fan, although occasionally (maybe once a decade) one will grab my attention. My latest one is
I kind of miss the Guitar Hero / Rock Band fad. I was playing during a period of time when I wasn't playing the violin, and it filled a void of sorts. (Also, because I was raised almost exclusively on classical music, those games turned out to be my proper introduction to the rock genre.) I was a top 100 Guitar Hero player on Xbox Live for a while.
Karen wrote, "I think it's sexist when it's implied that a woman's most important calling is motherhood, and it's outdated when applied to anyone. Nowdays there is more widespread understanding and recognition that people need to take care of their own needs first and set healthy boundaries before they can be of real service to others."
Ah, Matt, as an economist (you, not me) don't you think the fact that entry level jobs in the US no longer pay a family wage (or even a wage sufficient for renting a 2 bedroom apartment independently) has anything to do with the decline of people in their childbearing years delaying or even foregoing having children?
@Jocelyn thank you, like you I do think there are lots of reasons. I do note, however, most countries with higher birth rates than America are actually poorer. And within those countries, the poorer section of society tend to be more 'profusive' when it comes to child bearing.
About the off-topic... the fact that in Nigeria (poor) the child birth rate is way higher than in Sweden (rich), for example, does not let you determine and say that wealth is inversely proportional to births. The more money a society handles, the less children they have is a fallacy. What you probably can say is that there's no correlation between wealth and number of kids. I mean, sure, if you have no money you're probably not going to have children, but even then, still a lot of poor people in developed countries have 2 or 3 children. There are thousands of factors that can make a society have more or less children.
Yes, James, I agree. In middle-class USA, we view children as consumers. In developing countries, the household is frequently the unit of production, and children are valued as producers from the time they may be 8 or 9 years old.
"You know, I've always wondered what would happen if a serious violinist (i.e. professional or conservatory-class) got their hands on Guitar Hero and put in the work. But maybe you don't refer to the time you put into Fire and Flames as "studying repertoire""
Indeed, I suspect the Guitar Hero / Rock Band guitar patterns are far more like violin patterns than they are like guitar patterns.
(from James T)
I did not hear anything like this before. Playing music is beautiful and cultivate and high level for me. Not concerning the age.
A very revealing documentary series has been playing on the BBC about the music of India. The spectrum goes from "classical" (raga etc) through folk and street music traditions through to types with increasingly strong western influence - Bollywood, rock and even rap. And of course multiple local variants of each. It's impossible to encompass in a few hours but the presenter's conclusion of "unity in diversity" was quite profound I think.