Learning to Play the Violin as an Adult
As adults, we have a lot of obligations on our plate. Squeezing a violin education into the mix might seem impossible. In the midst of being tired, worn out, stir crazy....
Oh, wait! I am going to stop us right there. Let’s take a moment to eradicate some of these excuses.
“You can only learn the violin if you start as a young child.” FALSE.
“The violin is too difficult to learn, so it’s not worth the effort.” FALSE.
“I don’t have time to practice five hours per day, so I’ll never be good.” FALSE!
For adults, the only thing stopping us from learning the violin are excuses. Some of us fall for the idea that playing the violin is best reserved for young children. We are taught that responsible adults focus on career, family, bills, and more work.
Before we know it, hobbies and other extracurricular activities get pushed to the far side -- more like collecting dust in a cluttered storage space.
However, studies show learning to play an instrument, specifically the violin, is not only beneficial, but super important. As we age, our brains need stimulation to stay sharp. Music is just the prescription.
Besides bringing great joy and boosting endorphin production, playing the violin will improve memory, motor, and other cognitive and intellectual skills. Not to mention, it teaches you to connect and communicate with others in a rather unique and universal way -- through music.
So, how do you start learning the violin as an adult? Here are few tips to get you going.
Find a (GOOD) Teacher
Violin is a challenging instrument. To alleviate some inevitable frustrations, it’s nice to have guidance from a professional. A teacher will structure the way you learn and practice, taking away a lot of the overwhelm of all the new information.
To find a teacher, contact local music shops, schools, community centers, and public schools with music programs to inquire about teachers. In addition, search in the classifieds.
If you live in an area that doesn’t have many teachers or none at all, you can learn through a video chat program. Many teachers make a living teaching online, using Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and more.
“But I can’t afford lessons.” Thankfully, we live in an age of numerous free resources on the world wide web. There are quite a few quality apps (uh hmmm…) and websites, loaded with quality violin learning tools. While nothing can replace the ultimate benefit of learning with an excellent in-person teacher, these apps and websites are a fine way to get you going.
Make Time for Musical Activities
You need some “me-time.” Use your time to shuffle in a musical activity which will aid in your violin progress, such as attending a music camp for adults or musical retreat.
Less than 20 years ago, it was hard to find community orchestras, music camps, and even competitions for people of all ages and skill levels. But, they are more readily available nowadays. You’ll make new friends, and you’ll come away knowing much more about the violin.
Quality Practice in a Few Minutes
It’s true. The only way to improve as a violinist is to practice. However, more practice doesn’t necessarily mean you will progress. Slow, efficient practice 30 minutes a day beats five hours of mindless fiddling around. Therefore, it is the quality of your practice, not the quantity, that matters.
That is good news for adults with a busy schedule. Write out a plan, set small goals, and execute it within the minutes available to you. Try to practice during your lunch hour, before bed, or early in the morning. You will improve over time.
See, that’s not as scary or impossible as you thought, huh? Learning to play the violin is well within your grasp, and the most important part is the enjoyment it’ll bring you.