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Starting violin at 30
Finally decided to do an introduction after lurking for 8 months
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
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Bella86
Sweden
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October 24, 2017 - 8:09 am
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 10
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Hey everyone!
I've been lurking on this forum on and off since February. I've made a few posts but maybe I too should do an introduction. It might be a bit long. 🙂 But it's the thorough introduction stories I enjoy reading myself so. Wall of text!

My name is Gabriella, I live in Sweden, I'm 31 (well, tomorrow anyway \o/) and I just had my 8th violin lesson yesterday. Which means I've played for just over 7 weeks.

My interest in the instrument(or more like obsession) started quite suddenly. I've always kind of liked it and the thought of playing has passed very briefly but I've never actually considered it. I used to be like most other people, "I can't play an instrument". The fact that I had never really tried didn't make a difference. 

When I was little I had this keyboard with tunes you could play along to, which I could do just fine, it was just the right hand melody. Then one day a few years ago my sister REALLY wanted to play "Promise" from Silent hill on piano. All we had was an old organ. I found a youtube video and learned it to teach her, and realised I could coordinate my left and right hand without any problem. After that I bought a keyboard and started memorizing songs. No scales and improper posture, but all that is boring right??

After I moved out I bought myself a digital piano and kept going for a few years. Then I got bored with forgetting songs if I didnt play them for a week. Felt like such waste of time slowly working my way through sheet music just to forget it all later. I sold this piano a couple of years ago, which I do regret now. I never even considered taking lessons. Probably because of where I live. Far from everything!

One day in February when I got home from work one morning, it just popped into my head. The violin. I don't know why I started thinking about it. But I youtubed videos that day, and the day after, and the day after that. I came across Taylor Davis, and her music really spoke to me, so I got hooked. It all sound so good and I wanted to be able to play it all. 

So I obsessed about it for a few weeks until I had to give up the thought. Told myself I had to. I've had to help family with money for years and it's left me kind of broke, so doing something for myself that requires a fair bit of money wasn't an option. So I forgot about it. Until I obsessed about it in June again. And actually signed up for a 10 lesson course. Amazed I even found a teacher. This is a remarkable thing for me to do, because I tend to give up before I even try things. Thinking it's all pointless. 

I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it in the beginning, just doing open strings. Those short 10-15 minutes the first couple of weeks passed so fast. I still feel like it's a waste of time some days, but that is probably my depression talking to me. Because I do really enjoy it when I'm practicing, and find myself wishing I could practice more often.

My teacher saying she's never had anyone progress this fast helps motivate me too.  Just yesterday she said I must be born to play the violin. I can't quit if I'm a natural right?? ;D But I'm not sure why she says it, I don't feel like I'm doing THAT great. But I am my own worst critic. Maybe she's just not used to having students that practice every day? I did spend a half year watching videos and instructions and whatnot so being aware of what you should and shouldn't do might have given me a headstart.

Now I'm only struggling with deciding if I can keep putting money on lessons or not. I can't stop though, I've already ordered and paid for a violin outfit from FM so I better keep at it 😛 Not that it's that much fun to keep at it with the rented one. I'm positive it gave me bad pain in my upper back, because it went away during this last week when using a trial violin. But now it's all I've got until the new one arrives. I've got a long neck so I'm pretty sure it's the pretty-much-flat-chinrest that causes me trouble. But just a couple of weeks or 3 more hopefully! Depending on how fast Pierre can satisfy my pickyness. ;P

I also worry about the fact that I will be having double jaw surgery in a few months, which means 6 weeks with fixed jaws. And I don't know how soon after surgery I can't start putting pressure on it to hold the violin properly. So I'm afraid of going backwards when it comes to progress and that I will have to start over from the beginning. But not much to do about it. I'll get to where I wan't to be sooner or later, just do it, right? 🙂

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Bob
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October 24, 2017 - 8:32 am
Member Since: July 13, 2017
Forum Posts: 61
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Hi Gabriella, thanks for the introduction. There is something about the violin that draws people in... me included. 

I grew up playing in bands in school, but always played brass instruments. Where I was they didn't have strings. In the 60's I jumped on the folk music wagon and learned guitar and sang in "coffee houses". After college I didn't do much in music and finally ended up working as an engineer in the semiconductor industry.

In 1996 I decided to give in to the allure of the violin and bought one and started taking lessons (age 49). I must have been pretty bad. My teacher finally gave up teaching and moved to California 😉 After that work and building a house got in the way of violin. 

Now 20 years later, the bug bit again. Now I have retired so have more time to practice. Also, finding this great resource (this forum) has given me the encouragement to give it another try. It give me a lot of enjoyment and frustration when I go practice. It's all worth it.

Bob

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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October 24, 2017 - 9:08 am
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Nice to read your introduction 😀 I love Taylor Davis' music, so I can understand your obsession 😀 

I started learning at 35 after a lifelong desire to play. I would have been happy learning to play anything, but really the violin was my dream instrument and obsession, haha.

I understand the internal debate whether or not to keep spending money on lessons. I had intended only to take lessons for a couple months and then go it on my own, but here a little over two years later I'm still taking them, lol. I think I'll be forced to quit for the winter this year during the slow season at work, but that I managed to fit lessons into my budget for so long makes me happy 🙂 

How soon do you have your surgery? I'm sure your doctor will let you know any restrictions. Hope it all goes well and you have a speedy recovery 🙂 

☆•*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆•*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
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Bella86
Sweden
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October 24, 2017 - 10:28 am
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 10
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@damfino I'm expecting to talk to my surgeon soon. After new years I'm assuming. I need time to gain weight beforehand since I'll hardly be able to eat after. I'm really hoping I'll be able to get some kind of practice in, I'll have a lot of time for it. 

I wouldn't really be able to learn something like the violin on my own. I'm too unorganized and would give up simply because I'd get overwhelmed.

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zpilot
Kansas City, Mo.
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October 24, 2017 - 3:16 pm
Member Since: September 29, 2017
Forum Posts: 71
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Hope you heal fast.  Try a Stuber chin rest.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 24, 2017 - 3:32 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12740

Thanks for your very interesting introduction. I'm glad you transformed from lurker to poster. 🙂

We have a lot of adult learners here and one thing to keep in mind is that whether you feel that you are not making a lot of progress, or doing well..... or as your teacher said, "she's never had anyone progress this fast... is not everything. Your progress, regardless of how much it is, is rewarding. One of the hardest things to know is whether or not you have made progress. Recording yourself is a great way to confirm that you are.

The most important thing is to enjoy it. It should never become just work.... Join any groups or jams for beginners. Post videos here. Eventually, perhaps join an amateur orchestra... Have and make goals but not expectations.

We will do our best to motivate you if you let us. The members here are incredible ,super nice, humble, and very helpful. I can't remember the last time we had a member that was problematic.

Just out of curiosity, which city do you live in? I was a concert master in Gavleborg Symfoniorkester for 4 years and a principle in the Malmo Symfoniorkester for 16 years.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Bella86
Sweden
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Members
October 24, 2017 - 4:06 pm
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 10
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@fiddlerguy I live up north, about 45 minutes north of the city Umeå.

And the northern parts of the country are pretty much ignored by government and people in general. That's why it's so hard to do pretty much anything that isn't extremely main stream. :s

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Mark
Honorary advisor
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October 24, 2017 - 10:19 pm
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 375
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Welcome to the forum, lots of folks here learning as adults as stated some coming back after decades away from the violin some fresh at it.

Focus on having fun if you put the time and work into it you'll progerss just fine. 

Welcome aboard

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Bella86
Sweden
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October 25, 2017 - 4:47 am
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 10
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Bella86 said
@fiddlerguy I live up north, about 45 minutes north of the city Umeå.

And the northern parts of the country are pretty much ignored by government and people in general. That's why it's so hard to do pretty much anything that isn't extremely main stream. :s  

Just feel the need to point out that"Fiddlerguy" is what happen when you type things on your phone lol Of course i meant "@fiddlerguy
Although when I'm looking at it in the quote as I'm writing this, it does say fiddlerman in the first post :s Can someone explain that?

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Charles
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October 25, 2017 - 10:47 am
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Bella86 said

Just feel the need to point out that"Fiddlerguy" is what happen when you type things on your phone lol Of course i meant "@fiddlerguy
Although when I'm looking at it in the quote as I'm writing this, it does say fiddlerman in the first post :s Can someone explain that?  

If you pick Fiddlerman, it will change it to "admin". If you leave that alone, it will show as "Fiddlerman" in the final post. "fiddlerguy" is actually somebody else's ID, who hasn't done anything on the forum in several years.

 

Bella86 said
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it in the beginning, just doing open strings. Those short 10-15 minutes the first couple of weeks passed so fast. I still feel like it's a waste of time some days, but that is probably my depression talking to me. Because I do really enjoy it when I'm practicing, and find myself wishing I could practice more often.

My teacher saying she's never had anyone progress this fast helps motivate me too.  Just yesterday she said I must be born to play the violin. I can't quit if I'm a natural right?? ;D But I'm not sure why she says it, I don't feel like I'm doing THAT great. But I am my own worst critic. Maybe she's just not used to having students that practice every day? I did spend a half year watching videos and instructions and whatnot so being aware of what you should and shouldn't do might have given me a headstart.

 

Especially if you're prone to depression (which lies to you almost constantly), trust other people's opinion more than your own on the subject of progress. Your teacher, especially, may be looking for things that are not at all obvious to you, but indicate real, solid progress that will show up in forms you can hear it further on down the line.

I suspect all the work you did before picking up the violin did help. Knowing before you ever touch one what NOT to do is a great way to avoid ever forming bad habits that you later have to break.

Bella86 said
Now I'm only struggling with deciding if I can keep putting money on lessons or not. I can't stop though, I've already ordered and paid for a violin outfit from FM so I better keep at it 😛 Not that it's that much fun to keep at it with the rented one. I'm positive it gave me bad pain in my upper back, because it went away during this last week when using a trial violin. But now it's all I've got until the new one arrives. I've got a long neck so I'm pretty sure it's the pretty-much-flat-chinrest that causes me trouble. But just a couple of weeks or 3 more hopefully! Depending on how fast Pierre can satisfy my pickyness. ;P

I also worry about the fact that I will be having double jaw surgery in a few months, which means 6 weeks with fixed jaws. And I don't know how soon after surgery I can't start putting pressure on it to hold the violin properly. So I'm afraid of going backwards when it comes to progress and that I will have to start over from the beginning. But not much to do about it. I'll get to where I want to be sooner or later, just do it, right? 🙂  

 

I suspect the problem was less the violin than the accessories (chinrest, shoulder rest) not fitting you.  One of the more dangerous myths about violins is that everybody should be playing them with the stuff that came with them (usually a Guarneri chinrest, and no shoulder rest). At most, some people might add a shoulder rest.

The truth is that everybody's body is different. You will probably have to do quite a bit of experimenting to find a shoulder rest/chinrest combo that works well for you.

Take a pillow, fold it in half, and then lay it on your shoulder. Lay your head down on it. That's about as much as your head should lean to the side when playing. If you have a long neck and were using a "standard" chinrest (most likely a Guarneri style), your head was leant over WAY too far. That's a guaranteed source of pain, and you could even give yourself long-term injuries if you were stubborn about it.

There are taller chinrests, and a shoulder rest will also help lift things up closer to a proper position (for you). Your teacher should be able to help you with finding equipment that works.

And, if you're doing everything in 1st position (almost certain, if you're a beginner), you don't need a chinrest at all. And not only do you not need to press down with your cheek or chin to hold the violin in place, you shouldn't. Exerting pressure down is another good way to hurt yourself. It also creates tension, which will show up in non-obvious ways in your playing.

Try this experiment:  Use a shoulder rest, a rubber pad, or anything that will keep the violin from slipping off your shoulder. (This isn't essential, but it will probably make you less nervous about the second step.)  Step 2, don't lean your head down at all.  You can turn it some, if you want to watch your fingers or your bowing, but don't even attempt to touch the top of the violin with any part of your head.  Play for a while.  Everything will sound normal, and the violin will not jump up and run away. (If it does, get pictures - they'll be worth a fortune. 🙂 )

My teacher, in fact, is adamant that people lift there heads up off the violin periodically. If you don't, there's a danger you can start clamping the violin with your head/jaw/chin, and the tension involved is not good for your playing (and tends to be painful, eventually).

So the entire time that your jaw is healing, don't put any part of your jaw on the violin. That should handle any issues with potential pain/injury from doing it while recovering from the surgery. (Good luck with the surgery, by the way.)

You can spend that six weeks or so researching things that will get the chinrest up to where your jaw/chin is, and when you do go back to touching (not pushing/pressing down!) the violin with your head, you can hopefully do it painlessly. (If you can't, keep looking for answers.)

And finally, happy birthday! 🙂

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 25, 2017 - 11:29 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12740

LOL, Umeå is about 7-8 hours from the maker of my own bench made Jan Larsson violin made in Lima. 🙂

I've been in Umeå. When I played in Gävleborg Symfoniorkester we used to tour their a few times a year.  I used to know people who played in the NorrlandsOperans Symfoniorkester but I can't remember who. LOL

Don't worry about the @Fiddlerman thing. You are not the only one. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Bella86
Sweden
Member
Members
October 25, 2017 - 2:43 pm
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 10
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Charles said

If you pick Fiddlerman, it will change it to "admin". If you leave that alone, it will show as "Fiddlerman" in the final post. "fiddlerguy" is actually somebody else's ID, who hasn't done anything on the forum in several years.

 

Bella86 said
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it in the beginning, just doing open strings. Those short 10-15 minutes the first couple of weeks passed so fast. I still feel like it's a waste of time some days, but that is probably my depression talking to me. Because I do really enjoy it when I'm practicing, and find myself wishing I could practice more often.

My teacher saying she's never had anyone progress this fast helps motivate me too.  Just yesterday she said I must be born to play the violin. I can't quit if I'm a natural right?? ;D But I'm not sure why she says it, I don't feel like I'm doing THAT great. But I am my own worst critic. Maybe she's just not used to having students that practice every day? I did spend a half year watching videos and instructions and whatnot so being aware of what you should and shouldn't do might have given me a headstart.

 

Especially if you're prone to depression (which lies to you almost constantly), trust other people's opinion more than your own on the subject of progress. Your teacher, especially, may be looking for things that are not at all obvious to you, but indicate real, solid progress that will show up in forms you can hear it further on down the line.

I suspect all the work you did before picking up the violin did help. Knowing before you ever touch one what NOT to do is a great way to avoid ever forming bad habits that you later have to break.

Bella86 said
Now I'm only struggling with deciding if I can keep putting money on lessons or not. I can't stop though, I've already ordered and paid for a violin outfit from FM so I better keep at it 😛 Not that it's that much fun to keep at it with the rented one. I'm positive it gave me bad pain in my upper back, because it went away during this last week when using a trial violin. But now it's all I've got until the new one arrives. I've got a long neck so I'm pretty sure it's the pretty-much-flat-chinrest that causes me trouble. But just a couple of weeks or 3 more hopefully! Depending on how fast Pierre can satisfy my pickyness. ;P

I also worry about the fact that I will be having double jaw surgery in a few months, which means 6 weeks with fixed jaws. And I don't know how soon after surgery I can't start putting pressure on it to hold the violin properly. So I'm afraid of going backwards when it comes to progress and that I will have to start over from the beginning. But not much to do about it. I'll get to where I want to be sooner or later, just do it, right? 🙂  

 

I suspect the problem was less the violin than the accessories (chinrest, shoulder rest) not fitting you.  One of the more dangerous myths about violins is that everybody should be playing them with the stuff that came with them (usually a Guarneri chinrest, and no shoulder rest). At most, some people might add a shoulder rest.

The truth is that everybody's body is different. You will probably have to do quite a bit of experimenting to find a shoulder rest/chinrest combo that works well for you.

Take a pillow, fold it in half, and then lay it on your shoulder. Lay your head down on it. That's about as much as your head should lean to the side when playing. If you have a long neck and were using a "standard" chinrest (most likely a Guarneri style), your head was leant over WAY too far. That's a guaranteed source of pain, and you could even give yourself long-term injuries if you were stubborn about it.

There are taller chinrests, and a shoulder rest will also help lift things up closer to a proper position (for you). Your teacher should be able to help you with finding equipment that works.

And, if you're doing everything in 1st position (almost certain, if you're a beginner), you don't need a chinrest at all. And not only do you not need to press down with your cheek or chin to hold the violin in place, you shouldn't. Exerting pressure down is another good way to hurt yourself. It also creates tension, which will show up in non-obvious ways in your playing.

Try this experiment:  Use a shoulder rest, a rubber pad, or anything that will keep the violin from slipping off your shoulder. (This isn't essential, but it will probably make you less nervous about the second step.)  Step 2, don't lean your head down at all.  You can turn it some, if you want to watch your fingers or your bowing, but don't even attempt to touch the top of the violin with any part of your head.  Play for a while.  Everything will sound normal, and the violin will not jump up and run away. (If it does, get pictures - they'll be worth a fortune. 🙂 )

My teacher, in fact, is adamant that people lift there heads up off the violin periodically. If you don't, there's a danger you can start clamping the violin with your head/jaw/chin, and the tension involved is not good for your playing (and tends to be painful, eventually).

So the entire time that your jaw is healing, don't put any part of your jaw on the violin. That should handle any issues with potential pain/injury from doing it while recovering from the surgery. (Good luck with the surgery, by the way.)

You can spend that six weeks or so researching things that will get the chinrest up to where your jaw/chin is, and when you do go back to touching (not pushing/pressing down!) the violin with your head, you can hopefully do it painlessly. (If you can't, keep looking for answers.)

And finally, happy birthday! 🙂  

Thank you! 🙂

I do know about all the discussion (or war?? lol) on equipment surrounding violins. I've read a whole ton of stuff the last 8 months.

I actually don't really use my jaw to hold the violin right now as I'm back to the rental, and it's just too low and I don't want to raise the shoulder rest as that causes issues too. Plus with my dodgy jaws right now, I can't clamp down on the instrument anyway, any kind of excessive tension makes my joint scream at me. So I keep it loose. 🙂

I've also got problems with lock-ups in my upper back which doesn't really help with pain in this position. (yes I do see a physio regularily) But I'll get this all sorted once I've got my own instrument. 🙂

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 31, 2017 - 8:35 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12740
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Whatever equipment you get now can transfer over to another instrument later. 🙂 I hate the thought of you suffering.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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