Progressing without a teacher

September 17, 2017, 7:06 AM · Hi everyone!

As of last month, I took a mock grade three exam with my tutor and passed - didn't take the official test as the violin for me is a hobby and nothing formal.

However, I then moved to a foreign country and had to give up lessons with my teacher. It would be immensely difficult for me to find a teacher here as I'm working on a full-time job and don't speak the language.

I don't want to give up playing the violin as it would make this past year a total waste, but as I'm a beginner there's obviously a lot I still need to learn. Does anyone have any tips on how to continue progressing even without a teacher? I don't want my time abroad to negate the time I spent learning and would like to eventually return to my home country *better* at the violin, not the same level or worse.

Thank you in advance!

Replies (14)

September 17, 2017, 7:10 AM · Skype lessons: The world is small.
September 17, 2017, 7:16 AM · To progress, or even to not regress, we have to pay attention as a teacher would do: observe what to keep, what to change, and choose how and when.
Edited: September 17, 2017, 7:29 AM · I agree with Paul. If I moved to a country where language is a barrier, I would try to have lessons via Skype. I know my teacher does Skype lessons with other students, and I'm sure many other teachers also do them.
September 17, 2017, 11:41 AM · Probably a risky choice, but video lessons and texts.
Edited: September 17, 2017, 1:26 PM ·

there are ads here too - to the right

September 17, 2017, 2:07 PM · I was 11 or 12 when I had my last violin lesson. I was definitely not advanced - even after 8 years of lessons and had no vibrato and only gotten to 3rd position. After quitting for a year a resumed - and have been playing until now for the intervening 70 years. During those years I definitely advanced by accepting every bit of advice i could and by setting attainable goals. I was concertmaster of my high school orchestra for 3 years and later one after age 30 i was concertmaster of my community orchestra for 20 years. I have been playing chamber music and in orchestras pretty much for the pst 7- years and having a ball.

In retirement for the past 28 years I consider my occupation me amateur musician!

I'm so glad I never stopped playing. You will be too. There are ways to pick up hints from better players whenever you find them --and there are coaching opportunities at various workshops and community colleges. If you continue playing on your own with the skills you now have and try to add to them carefully will will probably not go far wrong.

September 19, 2017, 12:12 AM · Thank you all for your comments!
I think I will try and find a teacher for Skype lessons, however my violin is also an electric one (to reduce noise) so I don't think you would be able to hear it through Skype, unless anyone has any advice on how to hook it up properly?

For the time being, what can I be doing by myself in order to help myself not only maintain my skills, but also progress? I find it difficult to find music that is my level - for example, at the moment I should really begin practicing third position and vibrato more.

Thanks very much!

September 19, 2017, 12:15 AM · Hi Megan,

While I would be suspect of the sound quality, especially on technique beyond basic legato, detache, and staccato, there are adapters where you can plug your audio cable directly into your microphone port, allowing you to play your violin right into the computer.

September 19, 2017, 3:59 AM · Or just get a little amplifier. The Fender Rumble is what I use for my violin when I'm using a pickup. The smallest one I think is 15 amps, that's plenty for your lessons -- and later even for small-venue gigs.
September 19, 2017, 5:53 PM · Buy sheet music that challenges and excites you and keep working at it. I've slowly acquired various baroque violin sheet music and I enjoy my very slow progress. Had 3 lessons a year ago, been playing 2 years and a few months, and as bad as I am, I'm better than I used to be! Vivaldi, Corelli, Handel, Vitali, Baroque Violin Anthology (vol 1 & 2), etc. --this is the stuff that keeps me inspired and happy. Find whatever suits your taste and keep playing!
September 21, 2017, 5:26 AM · I highly recommend violinlab. Lots on video lessons, with syllabus, feedback and discussion forum
September 22, 2017, 10:24 AM · How is violinlab useful? As far as I know, they don't offer personalized lesson. I thought it was basically a bunch of violin videos, which I'm not sure if they will do much more for you than watching youtube videos.

You might want to check artistsworks. I ultimately decided against it because for my understanding it was somewhat expensive at the time. I still plan to get a yearly subscription as soon as I receive an offer in the mail (though for piano instead of violin).

Edited: October 1, 2017, 11:08 AM · I probably was held back about 30 years by character traits getting in the way - being self-taught on violin since 17, so not a good advisor perhaps. But I think I am maybe learning something about how to teach yourself violin.
I would suggest you need determination and stubborness perhaps; - to cultivate your own drive and inspiration and channel it into attaining your vision of perfect violin playing. Needs stubborness , energy, faith and belief in yourself to a high degree - but coupled with humility to see your present flaws and shortcomings and admit it like turning on a dime.
Quite difficult to have the fire-power of will and self-belief and the genuine humility at the same time but I feel that is the best combination for something as difficult as teaching yourself violin ; and of course equpped with that combination- keep at it and keep at it and keep at it. Good luck !!
October 1, 2017, 1:15 PM · I listed violinlab because that's where I started, how be it briefly. Once I realized, for me, it would be better to have a live instructor for at least the first year, longer if my finances hold out long enough. But violinlab is affordable to almost anyone and Beth Blackerby's videos are well presented, and there is the online community where she will take the time to evaluate you if you record a video of your playing. The others I listed, the price goes up considerably since they do private live streaming.

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