I want to take my playing to a professional level, any advice?
Hey guys! My name is Owen Crews and I've been playing music since I was in 6th grade. I switched from percussion to violin in 9th and ever since I have really only excelled as my teacher would say. My parents seem to notice my talent so we took me out of physical school and online school so I can practice more and now I practice 2 hours 3 times a day everyday. I've played Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and Corelli. I know I need to get into some competitions but I am not really sure where to move on from here moving forward, your responses are appreciated! Have a great day! :)
How old are you now and can you give examples of specific pieces that you play?
16 now and my top 3 would be Beethoven's sonata 1 in D major, Concerto No.11 in D minor RV 565 Op.3 by Vivaldi, and mozart concerto number 5. I love fiddle too
To get to a professional level of classical music you need to work with a "professional teacher," one who has a record of successfully training other violinists to that level.
Thank you andrew! :)
Do you have any particular sights as a 'professional violinist'. There are many ways - soloist, orchestra, jazz band, even busker! So much depends on your personal vision.
thank you and orchestra is my goal and soloist is my dream lol. But thank you so much! ;)
thank you :)
do you have a teacher? has that teacher had other students successfully go to conservatory?
A lot of call to get a "professional teacher" without anyone knowing anything about the teacher. It's an unknown.
Yeah but he said he practices for 2 hours 3 times a day. I may be interpreting wrong, but I took that as 6 hours, with a break every 2 hours.
So, age 16... rising junior in high school? One year left until auditions, or possibly two if he takes a gap year.
Just to clarify, most 16-18 year old kids aren't getting in 4-5 hours a day if they're attending school and have any sort of family life. I'm not in the US but I do know several people who have been accepted to the top conservatories there & they would back me up.
Don't forget that even the conservatory-bound kids who are putting in just 2 hours a day of practice may be spending a lot more of the day than that with the violin in hand.
Good advice so far, and I only want to add that teachers are often chosen for their specialties, to strengthen a student's particular weak areas, so when you have the opportunity to play for important people (pros, teachers, etc.) you would do well to get their criticism of your playing and try to figure out where you're weak and need the most immediate help. It's never a bad strategy to ask someone for just two things they didn't like about your playing. Keeping it to two makes it easier on both of you, and gets the most pertinent issues out front.
OP, I was talking to someone your age in a pit orchestra during a local production of the “nutcracker” around Christmas, she was neither going to a conservatory nor aspiring to be a pro, but she has performed (rather convincingly to my untrained ears) the Sibelius concerto with a community orchestra. BTW, we are in what most refer to as the “fly over” region of the USA.
"Just to clarify, most 16-18 year old kids aren't getting in 4-5 hours a day if they're attending school and have any sort of family life"
Where in the world are you situated?
I know people do it, but I really wonder how effective it is to practice 6 hours a day. I really think after a certain point you just can't make that much more progress in a day. I think practicing smartly for 3-4 hours max is about as much as the human body and brain can benefit from in a day.
Practicing that much per day may well be an indication of drive, whether or not it's "useful" practice. The people I know who've made good didn't necessarily think that they needed practice as much as that they just couldn't be prevented by anyone or anything from playing as much as possible . . . If you have to work to make yourself play 3 hours a day, you may not be competitively suited to audition against people who didn't want to go to sleep because they would have to stop playing, and made good use of that time because of their personal level of concentration.
Ok so Pamela frank ( professor of violin at Curtis) has said she never practiced more than 2 hours a day. The most important thing is too Learn efficient practice in my opinion. Also 6 hours of practice plus rehearsals can be incredibly dameging for the body. Please don’t forget that your physical health must come before your musical success of the success with music will be useless as you’ll have to much pain to use it.
Leopold Auer famously said that violin students should practice three hours a day; four if they were a little bit stupid. More than that, they should do something else.
George Wells wrote, "You need to move to a teacher who prepares violinists to become professionals. Generally that means finding them, arranging for and having an audition that will get the professional teacher to want you as a student. That path isn't easy or inexpensive."
Yeah, I was talking 3 hours, maybe sometimes 4 - not 1 or 2. But one would hope someone trying to make a career as a musician was very talented, as that's part of the the standard too.
Now the ones who go to school and practise 2-3 hours do a lot more work daily than those that do not go to school and only practise 6 hours. So one might think that the most enthusiastic players are in the group that go to school also, because they really have to work hard.
Gemma, I agree that personal practice is a very different beast than group rehearsals. My point was that even the 2-hour-a-day-personal-practice kids may very well be spending 4 hours a day with violin in hand.
"personal practice is a very different beast than group rehearsals". I'd agree 'different', but would also argue 'not necessarily less valuable'. You don't learn ensembling and when to yield strict tempo by yourself and since others hear you play orchestra and chamber can serve as a form of supervised practice. I happen to love practicing alone but I realize that playing in an orchestra has forced me to conquer a lot of technical challenges that I may not come across in the comparatively limited repertoire of the violin studio.
I acknowledge they might have the violin in their hand for 4 hours, but was pointing out that that is nowhere near the equivalent of 4 hours focused practice. In some cases orchestra can actually deteriorate the technique if one isn't careful.
Indeed. But OP noted that they dropped their online school too.
"In some cases orchestra can actually deteriorate the technique if one isn't careful."
Even professional orchestral musicians will make this comment about orchestral playing. You can't hear yourself as well as you can in personal practice. And you cannot immediately correct errors, which we know from research on learning is vital.
I had to quit playing in an orchestra to really make technical progress, but my level was pretty low at that time, so I bet someone with a really polished technique takes less of a hit, but I'd still bet there's a hit to be taken.
Lydia said "Even professional orchestral musicians will make this comment about orchestral playing. You can't hear yourself as well as you can in personal practice. And you cannot immediately correct errors, which we know from research on learning is vital."
Oh, I certainly agree that every classical violinist needs to learn ensemble skills, and that the technical problem set that is found in orchestral literature and in chamber music is different than what's found in solo literature. Tone production is also different in those three settings, and the technique for that also needs to be learned.
Rehearsing with an orchestra usually doesn't have nearly the same technical intensity level or duty cycle that individual practice does. For this reason very often private teachers will
I don't think any of us would dispute that being part of an orchestra is an irreplaceable learning experience. That's part of why conservatories make it a mandatory degree requirement.
Hi all, interesting thread. I think the most important ingredients are keen listening (record yourself everyday audio and video) and a good teacher. As Brian Lewis recently said at the Delay Violin Symposium "the best musicians have the fastest ears". I think 2-3 hours a day is totally appropriate, and I think practicing more than 4 hours is actually quite dangerous in the long term - and this is coming from someone who has had several full-time orchestra positions, I'm now teaching University full time. It's all about deliberate, quality practice as others have pointed out. What I think is more important that extra practice is getting better at stress-resilience (playing for others etc) and making contacts (music camps) and finding additional learning and inspiration opportunities (concerts, camps, chamber music, books etc). Above all enjoy the journey.
"But not only do you not hear yourself or have a chance to correct technical flaws, you're also less likely to be thinking about this stuff a lot of the time - as you're more focused on watching the conductor, getting the right notes, being in time with your section, etc. "
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