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I took an ensemble class for a couple of times. I like to play with others. But the instructor is like an old school teacher - I felt like I'm being yelled at and being judged on first impression - I can't play at the correct rhythm, I can't play the music. Yes, the level is beyond my level, but I like to be challenged so I could improve. However, both times, I don't feel welcome and felt like quiting the group.
I also joined a fiddle group. The instructor teaches by ear, which is very challenging to me. We have student aged five and to me and the five year old picks it up much faster and much better than I am. The repetitive style of music is also challenging for me. The instructor is very positive and would do whatever she can to help.
Should I stay in the groups? There's no other choices. I still have about 8 more sessions for fiddling (already paid), and about five more in ensemble (I haven't paid yet).
I would ask if I could go to ensemble rehearsals and listen. Then practice at home what they are working on until you reach the right level. Then "they" have no reason to judge or yell at you. But you still have the challenge.
I would NOT pay to be treated badly.
From the way that you have written your post it sounds like you already made your decision. Playing violin is supposed to be fun.
Maybe there is another group and you just have not found it yet!
I agree with Screech - don't pay to be insulted.
Why are some people that play violin kinda snooty? Pierre is really cool and down to earth for someone of his advanced level. How do these people expect to grow the next group of fiddler players? But then again I experienced the same thing in the pilot crowd, skydiving, math club etc. Cliques must be part of our DNA...
'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
You have to do what you feel is best. I guess I would stick it out with the fiddle group being you already paid and they are not being judgmental. The ensemble class is another matter. Learning to play or playing in a group does not have to be an intimidating experience. If they allow different people to join at different skill levels and don't require auditions then they shouldn't be judgmental, make people feel uncomfortable, or make people feel unwelcome. It certainly isn't going to help build your confidence and skill if you are treated harshly and made to feel unwelcome. Certainly an instructor should know better. You might want to consider dumping the ensemble group and just sticking with the fiddle group for now. Perhaps at a later date you can join a community orchestra or local ensemble that is more accommodating and non-judgmental.
BTW as a child in the mid 1960's my first violin instructor (an accomplished musician himself) was a rather harsh "old school" type who's temper would flare and would swear like a sailor if he felt you weren't practicing enough and/or he wasn't satisfied with your playing. It made my earliest learning experiences and group playing experiences somewhat frightening and I often found myself practicing and learning out of fear of being reprimanded and hollered at at our next group lesson (we learned in small groups of 3 to 5 young pupils). Going to lessons was scary as heck for me because I was so scared of being hollered at that I knew I would end up making mistakes out of fear and then definitely get the teacher riled up and get yelled at. And trust me, I did get yelled at. Every lesson was like constant stage fright... a real nightmare... While I stuck with it and I did learn to play it was still a frightening and intimidating experience all of the time. Later on when I studied under other instructors I realized there was no reason for that type of harsh intimidating approach to teaching music.
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