Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

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staythecourse
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Almost Five Month Update

Post by staythecourse » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:22 am

investingdad wrote:So I probably won't update this thread quite as frequently going forward. But I did want to mention that I've now been doing this violin thing for six months. I continue to do once a week lessons with a very nice teacher. And despite being a 40 something adult, I still get nervous when showing off a new skill or piece to her that I've managed to get the hang of. Good thing she's older than me.

It's funny how easily we slip into the student teacher relationship with the desire to show of what we've learned despite our age. :)

I'm now in the second Strings book and she's guiding me though some new sharps and flats in other keys. I've peeked at what's coming up and it appears third position is at the end of this book. Yikes! That will be my first attempt at anything other than first position.

I've also picked up Suzuki Book 2 at her recommendation. The first couple of exercises are awesome...focusing on notes that ring together. As my finger placement, intonation, and ear has improved, playing the exercises that focus on those lovely, ringing notes is amazing.

I'm still working on Gavotte, Happy Farmer, and Minuets in Book 1, but I can play them all. I even earned a, "wow, that was really nicely played" from my teacher on Minuet 2. Sweet!

And...I'm violin shopping this month. My rental is actually pretty good, but I'm going to buy my own from the local, well reputed luthier from whom I rent.

Seven to nine hours per week is my normal amount of practice. At some point in the future I'm going to see if I can find a group of fellow adult beginners to play with. Probably a little ways off, though...I suspect my teacher can probably point me in the right direction.
Kudos to you. It is not easy to change the way our brains operate as we age. It's called neuroplasticity. Congrats on not letting that prevent you from doing what you want to do. This experience and new skill can only add to your happiness now and in the future.

Good luck.
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investingdad
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by investingdad » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:01 pm

TSR wrote:
investingdad wrote:Oh, I won't be buying new. His hand crafted violins are way more than I want to spend. Instead I'll be looking at a used instrument. I'm going to try to focus on what sounds good to my ear and feels right when I play it. Once I've selected a violin, I'll look for a bow...otherwise I think it's too many variables at once.
Ah, got it. I didn't read closely enough. I don't play violin, but I bet that the new instrument will be a fun change, and then the bow will add a whole new dimension. That's going to be fun. I will say that I'm a bit of an acoustic guitar junkie, and there is a predictable let-down a few weeks after acquiring a new instrument where---like any major purchase---the thrill of the acquisition dies down as you get used to the new normal. Regardless, making sure you have a proper instrument that's your own ought to really open things up for you. Have fun!
Thanks. I know this is going to sound really dumb, but the reason I want to purchase my own violin rather than renting is that I'm sort of thinking of this as a journey meant to be taken by both the student (me) and the violin together. I can only really do that if I own the instrument.

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vinvedi
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by vinvedi » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:33 pm

Inspiring!! I hope that you are also documenting this journey audiovisually. It would make for an enjoyable YouTube upload when you decide that the time is right.

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by investingdad » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:30 am

I just wanted to add one other thing I'm proud of.

When I first started, my teacher would play some of the pieces along with me. I had to politely ask her not to because it was too distracting.

I often ask her to play a practice piece for me when I'm having trouble. Usually after listening to her, I can replicate what she did as far as tempo and melody go. But playing along? No thanks.

So last lesson I asked her if we could play one or two pieces together and see how it went. It went great! Rather then feeling like a distraction, I was able to play along and rely on her to help keep me in time. Of course, all my out of tune notes were jumping out as a result, but when I was in tune with her...really cool. It was like the two instruments just merged for a few seconds and had a single, unique voice.

I didn't think too much of it at first, but she thought being able to make that jump was a sign of real progress.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:02 pm

investingdad wrote:she thought being able to make that jump was a sign of real progress.
It is! Being able to play along with an outside reference--whether it's a metronome, a recording, another violinist, or a whole ensemble--is a crucial part of musicianship.

Congrats. :sharebeer
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by investingdad » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:11 am

:(

I overdid the practice this week and now my wrist tendons and two little fingers hurt. Always the worst case scenario person, I assume this means I'm done for good.

Ok...in reality I'm going to force myself to rest my hand. I can practice open strings and work on smooth bow technique for awhile. It needs work anyway. Boring though.

I know what did it...piece 2 in Suzuki Book 2, Bach's Musica. My fourth finger was strained.

Call it beginner's over exuberance.

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by Jazztonight » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:33 am

investingdad wrote: :( I overdid the practice this week and now my wrist tendons and two little fingers hurt. Always the worst case scenario person, I assume this means I'm done for good.

Ok...in reality I'm going to force myself to rest my hand. I can practice open strings and work on smooth bow technique for awhile. It needs work anyway. Boring though. I know what did it...piece 2 in Suzuki Book 2, Bach's Musica. My fourth finger was strained.

Call it beginner's over exuberance.
This is an occupational hazard, particularly for older learners. When I was 55 I went back to music school and had a saxophone teacher who was an obsessive practicer and expected his students to follow his example. After a couple of months I developed tendonitis in both hands, and he had no sympathy whatsoever. I only had him for one year, but it took several years for the pain to lessen. Fifteen years later, I no longer play the sax, but I still play piano & flute and experience occasional hand pain. I have one of these, which helps: https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/ ... roEALw_wcB
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by Fallible » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:35 am

investingdad wrote::(

I overdid the practice this week and now my wrist tendons and two little fingers hurt. Always the worst case scenario person, I assume this means I'm done for good.

Ok...in reality I'm going to force myself to rest my hand. I can practice open strings and work on smooth bow technique for awhile. It needs work anyway. Boring though.

I know what did it...piece 2 in Suzuki Book 2, Bach's Musica. My fourth finger was strained.

Call it beginner's over exuberance.
Check with your teacher about your injuries as they probably are common. If it's repetitive stress, the injured areas may need complete rest for awhile.
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by aquamarine » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:36 pm

I'm sorry about your injuries. Ouch! I hope you feel better soon.

I did want to say I loved this thread. I thought it was really great that you are learning an instrument and I thought it was inspiring. I hope you recover soon and wish you much joy in your continued pursuit of music.

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:54 pm

investingdad wrote:Ok...in reality I'm going to force myself to rest my hand. I can practice open strings and work on smooth bow technique for awhile. It needs work anyway. Boring though.
Perhaps, but crucial. Waaaaay better to take some time off now than to have to take years (or forever) off later due to overdoing it.

And while I'm giving unsolicited advice, here are some other things you can do during your "practice time" to develop your musicianship (that don't involve your left hand much):


Listen to great violin playing

Listening counts as practice if you actually listen. Having it on in the background while you make dinner doesn't count. :D

Sit down with a good-quality recording of a great violinist and pay close, deep attention to it. Notice to intonation, timing, dynamics. What are they doing that sounds particularly good? How do you think they're doing it? What don't you like? If they're playing something you have the score for (check out IMSLP), then maybe follow along on occasion.

And don't only just listen to the style of violin you're accustomed to. Mostly into classical? Why not also check out some Stephan Grappelli, or Natalie MacMaster, or Aly Bain, or Jean Luc Ponty? Or heck, why not throw some cellists and violists into the mix?


Work on ear training

Practice identifying intervals by ear (you might need software for this if you don't have a willing partner). Practice notating various rhythmic figures you hear. Pull up random songs on the radio or YouTube or whatever and identify time signatures and/or song form.


Work on your keyboarding skills

If you have access to some sort of keyboard and don't yet have much of a facility in playing it, you could work on that with one hand.


Study theory

Don't even know what intervals are? Shaky on how scales and/or chords are built? Mixed up about mixolydian mode? This might be a good time to rectify that.


Study notation

Do you know what the "imaginary barline" is? When do stems go up and when do they go down? This might be a great time to learn the nuances of writing notation by hand--assuming you're right handed. :-) Or you could download and install MuseScore and learn how to use it.
Stay on target...

investingdad
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by investingdad » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:51 pm

Thanks, JJ.

My fear is almost seven months of daily practice is going to be for naught if I have to take weeks off to let my strained tendons heal. One week of vacation in June took three or four days to get back to where I was.

I also fear this will keep coming back preventing me from pursuing this.

I should know better. I had a massive groin tendon tear on the tennis court a year and a half ago. I couldn't walk for two days. About five months of rest and I was back on the court at full strength. Right arm tendinitis from tennis in my 20s eventually healed with rest...that took a long time because I kept playing when I shouldn't have.

I need to be patient I guess and let the body heal itself.

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by Jazztonight » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:04 pm

investingdad wrote:Thanks, JJ.

My fear is almost seven months of daily practice is going to be for naught if I have to take weeks off to let my strained tendons heal. One week of vacation in June took three or four days to get back to where I was.

I also fear this will keep coming back preventing me from pursuing this.

I should know better. I had a massive groin tendon tear on the tennis court a year and a half ago. I couldn't walk for two days. About five months of rest and I was back on the court at full strength. Right arm tendinitis from tennis in my 20s eventually healed with rest...that took a long time because I kept playing when I shouldn't have.

I need to be patient I guess and let the body heal itself.
Don't over-worry the weeks off to heal. I recently went from practicing the flute every day for an hour or more to NO practicing while I walked through California and Arizona for 40+ days. When I returned, I resumed my daily practice routine (as well as my physical exercise regimen), albeit slowly, and within 2 weeks I was back to where I'd left off.

There is even some evidence that laying off a routine and then returning to it might be beneficial. In other words, don't beat yourself up too much; think positive!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by investingdad » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:49 am

Injury Update

So I cautiously started playing again about a week ago. Kept each practice short. Happily everything was feeling good...until last night. Of all the things it was chopping up beef for dinner that restrained my wrist. :oops:

So as frustrating as that was, I found that rest, stretching, and smart practicing seemed to do the trick. But I have to start over again...food processor from here on out.

The silver lining is that I'm now focused on a lighter touch on the finger board. And miracle of miracles, whatever part of my brain responsible for learning to play cut me a break and retained everything. I'm even willing to say there was some consolidation because I'm playing some finger positions with better intonation than before the unplanned interruption. My teacher backed me up on that, not just my imagination.

Also..I took the suggestion above on downtime and did some study. Guess what? I finally recognized the pattern of note changes and finger positions for some of the major keys! This means I'm not playing "by feel" but actually understand the fingering changes for G and D keys. Sweet.

It's a pretty basic thing, but it finally clicked.

Onward.

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? 8 Month Update

Post by investingdad » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:12 am

I wasn't planning to update for a little while but decided to after watching a video I recorded of myself after five weeks of playing versus a video I recorded at eight months of playing this weekend.

Wow.

Doesn't even sound like the same instrument. At five weeks, the sound was pretty lifeless and flat. Even when the notes were in tune, they had nothing in them.

While I'm not suggesting I'm suddenly playing well, the difference in my intonation is remarkable. The violin is starting to come to life as I play and I think I understand what is meant by the instrument's "voice". There is clearly a warm, rich tone that is starting to make itself heard. Improved resonance, sympathetic string vibrations, and a richer sound. Rather than cringing as I did with my five week recording, I could listen to myself at eight months and say, "Yes, that is starting to sound like a violin."

Playing with my teacher is becoming comfortable and last night we tried playing in rounds. It sounded really nice and she complemented my progress on keeping time with her. Actual music!

I am really pleased.

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? 8 Month Update

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:16 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the updates. :sharebeer
Stay on target...

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult?

Post by investingdad » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:27 am

So I started this topic 11 months ago when I first asked for thoughts on taking up the violin as a total newbie to playing music. I posted updates along the way as I started this endeavor.

What a lot of fun this has been!

Having a great teacher makes a big difference. Practicing every day also makes a big difference.

I've surprised myself because the ability to read music isn't something I thought I'd be able do. Turns out I can learn that particular skill.

I'm pleased with my progress so far, which is important. I can only hope I'll continue to progress as much over the next ten months. If I do, perhaps I'll start to sound like I know what I'm doing in a few years.

I'm also excited about the prospect of playing with a group of fellow adult strings beginners for an evening of Christmas carols next month. I've gotten comfortable playing duets with my teacher and she suggested I join them to get a taste of playing with a small group. Should be interesting if not a little nerve wracking!

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult...ten months later.

Post by 123 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:07 am

I see Carnegie Hall in your future. Congratulations on sticking with it.
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult...ten months later.

Post by investingdad » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:40 pm

One Year!

I can officially call myself a second year violin student! I got my rental violin one year ago today (and eventually bought it) and began to learn to play music for the first time. Technically I didn't start lessons until first week of January, though, but today marks a year since screeching that first note.

I've taken 1/2 hour lessons almost every week and practice at least an hour a day (except for vacations away of course). I'd estimate I've probably played about 400 hours.

My goal this year is to finish the 3rd String Builder (it's hard) and be comfortable with all of Suzuki Two. I think that will a challenge. Hopefully my intonation will improve as well.

There are many days when my violin and I do not get along. And there are others when things feel easy. And most days are somewhere in between. And once in awhile I'll surprise myself.

Hopefully it'll be a good year two.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by protagonist » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:44 am

Congratulations! Suzuki violin is how my daughter started, and that was a big part of my inspiration to take up an instrument. You must have gotten past that Gavotte. I recall that was a challenge. Don't give up. No matter what you do.

I'm about 10 years into saxophone, having started around age 55. I now play with a Latin ensemble in VT and a Brazilian ensemble and a jazz ensemble in NYC. Once in awhile we perform. I go to France for workshops every summer and play at 1-3 local jam sessions every week around W MA/ S VT. . I just returned from one.

Music transformed my life. But it is really, really difficult and hard work. Which is part of the lure. It's great to mix work with pleasure. Give it a good ten years and it will all be way more than worth it.
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult...ten months later.

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:48 am

investingdad wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:40 pm
One Year!

I can officially call myself a second year violin student! I got my rental violin one year ago today (and eventually bought it) and began to learn to play music for the first time. Technically I didn't start lessons until first week of January, though, but today marks a year since screeching that first note.

I've taken 1/2 hour lessons almost every week and practice at least an hour a day (except for vacations away of course). I'd estimate I've probably played about 400 hours.

My goal this year is to finish the 3rd String Builder (it's hard) and be comfortable with all of Suzuki Two. I think that will a challenge. Hopefully my intonation will improve as well.

There are many days when my violin and I do not get along. And there are others when things feel easy. And most days are somewhere in between. And once in awhile I'll surprise myself.

Hopefully it'll be a good year two.
:sharebeer
Congratulations!
I can't believe it's been one year already!
Onward!
j :D

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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult...ten months later.

Post by JupiterJones » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:36 am

investingdad wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:40 pm
One Year!

I can officially call myself a second year violin student!
Congrats! Here's to year #2. :sharebeer
Stay on target...

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by investingdad » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:44 am

Thanks.

Day to day, and week to week, it's hard to see the incremental improvements.

But learning is happening. I picked up a "101 Classical Tunes" book for myself this week (easy arrangement). The proof of learning is being able to sight read my way through Hornpipe and Jesu, Joy after just a few tries. I'm not suggesting they sound good, but I can get through well enough to hear the melody. A lifetime of listening to Classical certainly helps.

I'm proud of this. Starting from true zero musically... it has been 400 hours of personal enrichment.

The real credit is to the composers, though... that they could create something that amazing while not making it terribly complex is remarkable.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by Padlin » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:24 pm

Tried the guitar when I was roughly 40, didn't take to it.

Retired at 57. Bought a Ukulele about 6 months later as I always wanted to learn an instrument. I play, if you can call it that, an hour or so most days, I like it a lot. Easy to make basic music, easy to teach your self via the internet and books. Small enough to take on vacations and pretty cheap to buy. Some areas have uke clubs where they play together weekly or some such, a lot of fun.

A Ukulele can be had for about $100 for a decent properly setup instrument.

I'll never be as good with an instrument as someone who started when they were a kid, but I'm getting good enough for me.

I'm glad to have a hobby I can do indoors now that I'm retired and it's winter in New England.
Regards | Bob

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by mrsevansc » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:13 pm

Congratulations!
I discovered your post back in June when my 5 year old started Suzuki violin. I’ve been tagging along with her. I just finished Oh Come Little Children. It’s a drop in the bucket but also quite an accomplishment. You’ve been my inspiration!

P.S. I’m 35 and have no prior experience with strings. I played piano as a kid but that didn’t last.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by investingdad » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:59 pm

mrsevansc wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:13 pm
Congratulations!
I discovered your post back in June when my 5 year old started Suzuki violin. I’ve been tagging along with her. I just finished Oh Come Little Children. It’s a drop in the bucket but also quite an accomplishment. You’ve been my inspiration!

P.S. I’m 35 and have no prior experience with strings. I played piano as a kid but that didn’t last.
Awesome!

I was inspired to start last year after watching my son learn to play his sax, fourth grade at the time. It was at that time I started this thread. My daughter is now three and a half years into playing her flute and they both take private lessons from active members of our city orchestra. Seeing how far she's progressed is what keeps me excited about what I may be able to do with my own teacher's guidance in time.

It's wonderful to share this learning experience along side them, all on different instruments.

I've learned that a motivated adult can learn to play a difficult instrument through perseverance and, most importantly for me, being patient. Being patient with myself, cutting myself slack, looking for the positive on rough practice days, and being self encouraging has been important. I've also learned the importance of being self confident enough to swallow my pride and be ok with sounding bad.

The first year is behind after having plucked up the courage to start. That was probably the biggest obstacle to getting where I want to go.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:18 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:59 pm
I was inspired to start last year after watching my son learn to play his sax, fourth grade at the time. It was at that time I started this thread. My daughter is now three and a half years into playing her flute and they both take private lessons from active members of our city orchestra. Seeing how far she's progressed is what keeps me excited about what I may be able to do with my own teacher's guidance in time.
Have you thought about trying to play with your kids? Maybe find a piece that you could all learn and play together? Playing with others is a whole other challenge. It would be good for all three of you.
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by investingdad » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:13 pm

They're not as into the idea as me.

Sax and violin don't work well together. Though I humor him and play along anyway. It's mostly sax and my violin vibrating along with the sax.

Flute and violin certainly do, and we have duet books, but she's not that enthusiastic about it.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by Fallible » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:29 pm

investingdad wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:44 am
Thanks.

Day to day, and week to week, it's hard to see the incremental improvements.

But learning is happening. I picked up a "101 Classical Tunes" book for myself this week (easy arrangement). The proof of learning is being able to sight read my way through Hornpipe and Jesu, Joy after just a few tries. I'm not suggesting they sound good, but I can get through well enough to hear the melody. A lifetime of listening to Classical certainly helps.

I'm proud of this. Starting from true zero musically... it has been 400 hours of personal enrichment. ...
You may not really be starting from "true zero musically" if you have listened to classical for years, identified an instrument you love, and have an intense desire to learn to play it. I think that comes naturally.

Congratulations on the first year!
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by protagonist » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:07 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:13 pm
They're not as into the idea as me.

Sax and violin don't work well together. Though I humor him and play along anyway. It's mostly sax and my violin vibrating along with the sax.

Flute and violin certainly do, and we have duet books, but she's not that enthusiastic about it.
Sax and violins don't work well together?

Don't tell that to Charlie Parker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THZcptcvfs0

Or Phil Woods and Michael Legrand:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lIAy3WIRuM

Or Art Pepper and Nate Rubin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oItENqEc1HE

Get an electric pickup for the violinist's instrument.

Or consider buying an electric violin, which seem to start around $250 here and go up from there (I can't comment on quality, but you could also try a used one on ebay): https://www.wwbw.com/Electric-Violins.wwbw I go to jazz jams and occasionally violinists show up- they either use pickups or electric violins.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...One Year later!

Post by JupiterJones » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:25 am

What's all this I hear about sax and violins?!

Image
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...Entering Month 15

Post by investingdad » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:01 am

Time really flies.

As noted, I'm now in month fifteen of learning the violin. My progress feels like it has slowed as I continue to work on third position. It will take time to build muscle memory for this shift up the fingerboard. I'm finding that my intonation playing in third sounds like when I first started to play. Once in third, I'm ok... it's the shift itself that's hard for me.

I'm bouncing between the third String Builder book, the second Suzuki book, and a straight scales book for instruction. I also have a 100 Classical Themes book I play out of for fun. In Suzuki 2, I can find my way through everything but the final two Minuets. Though Bocherrini's Minuet is also in my Classical book with an easier key and I can get through the opening.

I use ice on my forearm occasionally after playing, but I believe the tendons have both strengthened and stretched a bit since I started. So that has been less of an issue for me.

I'd guess I've probably put in at least 500 hours at this point. I usually play an hour a day, more on weekends, and I have my weekly half hour lesson with my teacher.

I've also realized that learning is cumulative. What I mean is, when my teacher pushes me forward...the stuff I was struggling with previously continues to strengthen even though we're not focused on it. So if I revisit it a month later...it's not as hard as it was. I went back to some things in a prior book the other week that I had given up on and, without having looked at them in some time, I found they were no longer a problem.

I think playing with my teacher is easier in some ways than playing solo. I can listen to her while we play and hear if I'm in tune or not. She also keeps me in time and following the rhythm, it helps me to play in a much more relaxed manner.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...Entering Month 15

Post by Fallible » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:59 am

Thanks for the update. Your hard work is paying off. You mention the advantages of playing with your teacher, so have you been able to play with a group yet?
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investingdad
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...Entering Month 15

Post by investingdad » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:54 pm

Fallible wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:59 am
Thanks for the update. Your hard work is paying off. You mention the advantages of playing with your teacher, so have you been able to play with a group yet?
Just once over Christmas but it was difficult due to non familiarity with the music and the keys. I don't know any other adults that have taken up strings as a beginner (or any instrument, but a lot of people I know say they'd wish they could learn), but my teacher is aware of my interest in playing with others. So mostly just solo and with my teacher for now.

Maybe musicality runs in the family after all. My daughter recently auditioned for and made junior county band as just a 7th grader (yay!) and my 10 year old was selected by his teacher for district band on sax.

protagonist
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...Entering Month 15

Post by protagonist » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:04 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:54 pm
Fallible wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:59 am
Thanks for the update. Your hard work is paying off. You mention the advantages of playing with your teacher, so have you been able to play with a group yet?
Just once over Christmas but it was difficult due to non familiarity with the music and the keys. I don't know any other adults that have taken up strings as a beginner (or any instrument, but a lot of people I know say they'd wish they could learn), but my teacher is aware of my interest in playing with others. So mostly just solo and with my teacher for now.

Maybe musicality runs in the family after all. My daughter recently auditioned for and made junior county band as just a 7th grader (yay!) and my 10 year old was selected by his teacher for district band on sax.
If you are studying Suzuki, can't you hook up with a local Suzuki group? Granted, it will be mostly all kids, but you will get to play with others, and they will love it that you are there....I recall one or two adults who were part of my daughter's Suzuki group and they had a great time. It is probably a bit daunting when a 7 year old prodigy shows you up , but it can also be great fun and the whole Suzuki network is so connected worldwide.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...Entering Month 15

Post by investingdad » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:27 am

Some modest improvement, but I'd still cover your ears.

Here's two audio files of me playing. I recorded the first one about four or five weeks after I started. The second one I recorded a few weeks ago, after 15 months of playing with 1 hour of practice a day plus weekly lessons.

I recorded these on my phone so quality isn't the best. Little shaky at the start of the second,I didn't know how much until I listened.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yfd6R6 ... p=drivesdk

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pwpGTA ... p=drivesdk

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...now with progress Audio

Post by random_walker_77 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:18 pm

Congrats on the progress! That's pretty good intonation, which proves this *can* be learned as an adult. Please keep sending periodic updates.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...now with progress Audio

Post by HRPennypacker » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:30 pm

Hey, nice work! I finished the Suzuki and studied violin in college. Hearing your recordings has made me all nostalgic...

investingdad
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by investingdad » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:58 am

Time flies. It's now been a year and a half since I decided to start playing the violin, having no prior musical background.

Not a whole lot new. We are a little past the halfway mark of the third String Builder book and I think double stops are around the corner. I don't think there's been much change in my intonation over the last six months, though I've been playing more difficult pieces. And lots of work on third position.

Here's my attempt at Mendohlson's Wedding March this morning:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w8zdRJ ... p=drivesdk

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:54 am

Very nice. I'm glad you stayed with it. I read some of your earlier posts.

I'm a music teacher and would be interested in knowing how much you practice, if you practice slowly, and if you sing.

I've heard that in Europe every student is required to learn how to sight sing before beginning the study of string instruments. I know that here in the U.S. some teachers put pieces of tape on the fingerboard to indicate where to place their fingers. Which way were you taught?

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by Fallible » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:24 am

Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:54 am
Very nice. I'm glad you stayed with it. I read some of your earlier posts.

I'm a music teacher and would be interested in knowing how much you practice, if you practice slowly, and if you sing.

I've heard that in Europe every student is required to learn how to sight sing before beginning the study of string instruments. ...
Is sight singing a way to learn intonation, the idea being that if you can hear the music correctly (in your head), you can play it correctly?
I don't play the violin, but have enjoyed the OP's updates as he continues to learn.
Last edited by Fallible on Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Learning an instrument as an adult? Six Months Progress

Post by HRPennypacker » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:28 am

JupiterJones wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:54 pm
Listen to great violin playing

Or heck, why not throw some...violists into the mix?
Easy, easy. Let's not get carried away.

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:56 am

Fallible wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:24 am
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:54 am
Very nice. I'm glad you stayed with it. I read some of your earlier posts.

I'm a music teacher and would be interested in knowing how much you practice, if you practice slowly, and if you sing.

I've heard that in Europe every student is required to learn how to sight sing before beginning the study of string instruments. ...
Is sight singing a way to learn intonation...
Sight Singing is just singing from a music sheet without preparation, like sight reading on an instrument. Any kind of singing (with a few exceptions) will teach intonation. Singing in a choir is beneficial.

investingdad
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by investingdad » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:15 pm

Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:54 am
Very nice. I'm glad you stayed with it. I read some of your earlier posts.

I'm a music teacher and would be interested in knowing how much you practice, if you practice slowly, and if you sing.

I've heard that in Europe every student is required to learn how to sight sing before beginning the study of string instruments. I know that here in the U.S. some teachers put pieces of tape on the fingerboard to indicate where to place their fingers. Which way were you taught?
I take half hour lessons every week and I practice about an hour a day during the week, maybe 1.5 hours on Saturday and on Sunday. Sometimes less but I'm pretty keen to practice that much daily.

I try to practice slowly but it's challenging not to speed up.

I do a mix of simple pieces, shifting, Suzuki pieces, plus what my teacher has me working on for each practice.

I used finger tape during the first few months but then realized it was becoming a crutch, that's when I ripped it off. I knew my ears would need to be developed and that meant no tape.

I don't sing...I've tried for almost thirty years to sing in my car and I don't have the voice for it.

I've also learned not to play after having coffee. :) That recording above was after my morning double espresso...i can hear my hands shaking. :D

Cheyenne
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:08 pm

investingdad wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:15 pm
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:54 am
Very nice. I'm glad you stayed with it. I read some of your earlier posts.

I'm a music teacher and would be interested in knowing how much you practice, if you practice slowly, and if you sing.

I've heard that in Europe every student is required to learn how to sight sing before beginning the study of string instruments. I know that here in the U.S. some teachers put pieces of tape on the fingerboard to indicate where to place their fingers. Which way were you taught?
I take half hour lessons every week and I practice about an hour a day during the week, maybe 1.5 hours on Saturday and on Sunday. Sometimes less but I'm pretty keen to practice that much daily.

"I try to practice slowly but it's challenging not to speed up."
A metronome keeps me slow. Concert artists are slaves to metronomes. They spend hours every day clicking away, slowly.

"I used finger tape during the first few months but then realized it was becoming a crutch, that's when I ripped it off."
That's the spirit!

"I've also learned not to play after having coffee. :) That recording above was after my morning double espresso...i can hear my hands shaking. :D"
Maybe that'll help with vibrato. :beer

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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by protagonist » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:11 pm

investingdad wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:15 pm


I used finger tape during the first few months but then realized it was becoming a crutch, that's when I ripped it off. I knew my ears would need to be developed and that meant no tape.

I don't sing...I've tried for almost thirty years to sing in my car and I don't have the voice for it.

I can empathize. Having picked up my first instrument (sax) in my mid-fifties, I found intonation to be my biggest challenge (and it must be considerably more difficult on violin). I used tuners for a long time as a crutch, but they don't help when playing in a group and your tuning goes out. I've got it down pretty well now, but it took me years. With bad intonation it doesn't matter how good your technique is. I think fine-tuning the ear for frequency recognition is probably very difficult if not done in childhood.

My only advice here....keep working on it and it will eventually happen, as frustrating as it may be to you (and your listeners) in the interim.

btw that's funny about not playing after coffee. Perhaps you should try "Flight of the Bumblebee" after 3 or 4 cups. You might be pleasantly surprised. Just avoid ballads .

investingdad
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by investingdad » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:44 pm

protagonist wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:11 pm
investingdad wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:15 pm


I used finger tape during the first few months but then realized it was becoming a crutch, that's when I ripped it off. I knew my ears would need to be developed and that meant no tape.

I don't sing...I've tried for almost thirty years to sing in my car and I don't have the voice for it.

I can empathize. Having picked up my first instrument (sax) in my mid-fifties, I found intonation to be my biggest challenge (and it must be considerably more difficult on violin). I used tuners for a long time as a crutch, but they don't help when playing in a group and your tuning goes out. I've got it down pretty well now, but it took me years. With bad intonation it doesn't matter how good your technique is. I think fine-tuning the ear for frequency recognition is probably very difficult if not done in childhood.

My only advice here....keep working on it and it will eventually happen, as frustrating as it may be to you (and your listeners) in the interim.

btw that's funny about not playing after coffee. Perhaps you should try "Flight of the Bumblebee" after 3 or 4 cups. You might be pleasantly surprised. Just avoid ballads .
Thanks... the good news is that I can hear when I'm not in tune, it's a matter of getting the strings stopped correctly to get me in tune.

protagonist
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by protagonist » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:56 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:44 pm
protagonist wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:11 pm
investingdad wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:15 pm


I used finger tape during the first few months but then realized it was becoming a crutch, that's when I ripped it off. I knew my ears would need to be developed and that meant no tape.

I don't sing...I've tried for almost thirty years to sing in my car and I don't have the voice for it.

I can empathize. Having picked up my first instrument (sax) in my mid-fifties, I found intonation to be my biggest challenge (and it must be considerably more difficult on violin). I used tuners for a long time as a crutch, but they don't help when playing in a group and your tuning goes out. I've got it down pretty well now, but it took me years. With bad intonation it doesn't matter how good your technique is. I think fine-tuning the ear for frequency recognition is probably very difficult if not done in childhood.

My only advice here....keep working on it and it will eventually happen, as frustrating as it may be to you (and your listeners) in the interim.

btw that's funny about not playing after coffee. Perhaps you should try "Flight of the Bumblebee" after 3 or 4 cups. You might be pleasantly surprised. Just avoid ballads .
Thanks... the good news is that I can hear when I'm not in tune, it's a matter of getting the strings stopped correctly to get me in tune.

Interesting. Tuning is not a big issue for me anymore....I worked like hell to overcome my deficiency....but when I was not in tune it was a matter of having a drummer throw a cymbal at me to get me in tune *laughing*. (That actually happened to Charlie Parker the first time he tried playing in the big league in NYC, at least according to legend). I don't know what "stops" are but, sadly, we don't have that option .

investingdad
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Re: Learning Violin as an adult...1.5 years later

Post by investingdad » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:06 pm

protagonist wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:56 pm
investingdad wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:44 pm
protagonist wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:11 pm
investingdad wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:15 pm


I used finger tape during the first few months but then realized it was becoming a crutch, that's when I ripped it off. I knew my ears would need to be developed and that meant no tape.

I don't sing...I've tried for almost thirty years to sing in my car and I don't have the voice for it.

I can empathize. Having picked up my first instrument (sax) in my mid-fifties, I found intonation to be my biggest challenge (and it must be considerably more difficult on violin). I used tuners for a long time as a crutch, but they don't help when playing in a group and your tuning goes out. I've got it down pretty well now, but it took me years. With bad intonation it doesn't matter how good your technique is. I think fine-tuning the ear for frequency recognition is probably very difficult if not done in childhood.

My only advice here....keep working on it and it will eventually happen, as frustrating as it may be to you (and your listeners) in the interim.

btw that's funny about not playing after coffee. Perhaps you should try "Flight of the Bumblebee" after 3 or 4 cups. You might be pleasantly surprised. Just avoid ballads .
Thanks... the good news is that I can hear when I'm not in tune, it's a matter of getting the strings stopped correctly to get me in tune.

Interesting. Tuning is not a big issue for me anymore....I worked like hell to overcome my deficiency....but when I was not in tune it was a matter of having a drummer throw a cymbal at me to get me in tune *laughing*. (That actually happened to Charlie Parker the first time he tried playing in the big league in NYC, at least according to legend). I don't know what "stops" are but, sadly, we don't have that option .
Stop just means where you have your finger on the string to get the desired note...a millimeter or two off is enough to be out of tune.

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