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Finding the Motivation to Play
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spirryn
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December 14, 2017 - 5:19 pm
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I have been playing the violin for almost two months already, but I seem to have hit a rut.. I have had much less motivation to practice recently, and it doesn't help that I've been fairly more depressed over the past few weeks as well. 

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips for staying motivated. I did ask for some violin music books for Christmas, so if I receive them, hopefully that will help. 

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ryonass
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December 14, 2017 - 5:39 pm
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As you know everyone reasons for playing are different and that means motivations will be different too. What works for me is to pick up my violin and play it. By that I mean, even when you don't feel like playing just pick it up. You will be amazed at how long you play just because you have it in hand.

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Bob
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December 14, 2017 - 5:45 pm
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This time of year, when the weather turns colder and it gets dark so much earlier (in the northern hemisphere anyway) I always have to struggle to do my "normal" activities like exercise, feed the animals, practice violin, etc. Once I get going, and start whatever task it is, I don't feel so down. 

Keep you chin up and realize it will get better 🙂

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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damfino
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December 14, 2017 - 6:31 pm
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Is there a tune in mind that you want to learn? If you have something in mind (or even if you don't) I would suggest doing a little search on youtube for some tutorials. Learning a fun little tune can often help pull you out of a practice slump 🙂 I know when I'm feeling really down, ignoring normal practice (scales, etudes, shifting, etc) and just playing tunes I know and like, or learning one that I enjoy listening to, helps get me back in the groove and cheers me up a little. There's so many helpful tune tutorials available on youtube, so no need to wait for your new tune books 🙂 

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AndrewH
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December 15, 2017 - 3:10 am
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Sometimes I find I need to "just play" -- that means forgetting about everything I've been practicing for a day or two, and either sight-reading new things (there are plenty of places to find sheet music online) or just putting everything aside and improvising. You don't have to be really good at playing to start improvising. Just start playing and experimenting to see what works and what doesn't.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 15, 2017 - 12:26 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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spirryn said
I have been playing the violin for almost two months already, but I seem to have hit a rut.. I have had much less motivation to practice recently, and it doesn't help that I've been fairly more depressed over the past few weeks as well. 

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips for staying motivated. I did ask for some violin music books for Christmas, so if I receive them, hopefully that will help.   

Ruts are normal and come and go. Try listening to much more violin on youtube. Look at some of the suggestions that this forum has made for favorite fiddlers and tunes. Check out some of the most popular fiddlers to get motivated to learn.

If your progress has you in a rut, know that progress can be slow and inconstant. Think of it like building a house from the ground up.....

Weather plays a huge part in our moods and motivation. Lots of people are depressed and down this time of the year... You may need to force yourself to get started on your practice or playing sessions from time to time but it will pay off.

Perhaps listen to online music with your instrument in your hand. Even if you can't do much, you may be able to play whole notes, half notes, quarter notes on the base tone or more, and perhaps add some fun rhythm.

In any case I hope you stick it out.  We'll do what we can to motivate you.

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

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spirryn
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December 22, 2017 - 5:11 pm
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Thanks everyone for the input. I still haven't had a lot of time or motivation recently, but I've been practicing whenever I get a chance. It's going okay.

I found out that I have a lot of fun with practice if I play with my brother, who's learning the guitar.. He plays chords and I try play melody on violin. Although neither of us are very good, it's still a pretty good time. I've also been able to find a couple new songs that I have been practicing. 

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damfino
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December 22, 2017 - 9:59 pm
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Glad you're finding a way to make playing fun! 😀 My brother and I were going to play a tune together, but as both of our short attention spans go, it never happened, haha.

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spirryn
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December 25, 2017 - 9:27 am
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@damfino Yes, it’s pretty fun. We usually don’t plan it, but instead he just comes bursting in on me while I’m practicing and starts playing too. LOL

What does your brother play? May as well try play a song with him sometime despite the short attention spans!

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damfino
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December 25, 2017 - 9:39 am
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Haha, that would be fun to have them do that 🙂 

My brother plays piano. He can't read sheet music but taught himself to play by ear when we were teenagers. He recently pulled that dusty old keyboard out of his garage and got it working again, and I was going to help him with some sheet music reading, but that hasn't happened yet. 

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Raef
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January 2, 2018 - 2:31 pm
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@ryonass it is exactly the same for me. When I have a day where I don't really feel like practicing, I take up the violin anyway and sort of force myself to play a little. After 5 minutes or less, I forget about everything else and the sound of violin seems to feed my motivation (so to speak).

Also when I am not so much in the mood, I find that just playing something will work - it does not have to be the usual things I practice at the moment - maybe it is even better if it isn't my usual practice routine stuff - but maybe some play along with spotify or I try to play a disney song from memory or maybe just something I like to sing or whatever - anything that will just get me going. Sometimes these days where I am not in the mood end up being extended improvised practice or just plain having fun. And having fun is what it is all about right? At least for us non-professionals.

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spirryn
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January 5, 2018 - 3:02 pm
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Thanks again for the input! I got a couple music books for Christmas and those have helped a lot, especially since one is a little more advanced, which gives motivation to practice more. The music in that book goes past first position, so I've been trying to practice second position more. 

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damfino
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January 6, 2018 - 9:30 am
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That's great that your new books are giving you some motivation 😀 Which books are they?

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Demoiselle
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January 7, 2018 - 7:02 am
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spirryn said
Thanks everyone for the input. I still haven't had a lot of time or motivation recently, but I've been practicing whenever I get a chance. It's going okay.

I found out that I have a lot of fun with practice if I play with my brother, who's learning the guitar.. He plays chords and I try play melody on violin. Although neither of us are very good, it's still a pretty good time. I've also been able to find a couple new songs that I have been practicing.   

That's good for you and your brother. You can musically grow together and you both learn to listen to other players. Playing an instrument is a bit like having a dog. If you go out without a dog you hardly talk to people, but with a dog you all the time talk to other dog owners. If you even have a dog plus a musical instrument you will never be lonely. And some of the people you meet will not unlikely become your friends.

It happens often in live that you have to move to another area where you don't know anybody. If you are a jam session person you meet people who share your interest. Without instrument you would probably have never met them. And if you're ready to join or form a band that's even better. For these people will likely be your friends. In sessions you can meet people to form a band with.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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ritaspeaks
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January 10, 2018 - 9:58 pm
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I guess we all have been there, we lost our motivation then try to get back on the same track all over again. Now I would like to ask you why do you want to play in the first place? 

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Demoiselle
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January 11, 2018 - 5:44 pm
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ritaspeaks said
I guess we all have been there, we lost our motivation then try to get back on the same track all over again. Now I would like to ask you why do you want to play in the first place?   

I was deeply yearning to play violin since at least 2001 but I think it must have started 1 or 2 years earlier because I got to know authentic baroque music in 1999. In 2001, just having moved to Berlin, I found the Breton-folk community and was almost dying whenever I heard a violin (Breton-folk is fairly close to French baroque music). There I deeply understood the violin is the most beautiful instrument in the world as I felt!!

But I sadly explained to myself that it was too late in my life. "Maybe in my next incarnation...." I said to myself and that made me very sad. I was playing other instruments and felt like it would be reasonable to focus on just them, than starting something completely new. Today I wish I had given in to the temptation already 2001. It happened 2015 after jazz had disappointed me once more and I came to the conclusion that the jazz community is not my kind of folks. At age 25 I had been able to get by with jazz folks, but not around 40 in 2001. So my reaction in 2015 was like, "Now I do exactly what I like, I'm gonna buy a violin!"

You can count me out with loosing motivation. It never happened since I started and it won't ever happen in the future. I'm just too happy and I know exactly what I had missed and why I wanna play it. Because since 1999 I loved baroque anyway more than jazz. And the violin is the best way to express myself in baroque music. Without vibrato of course because that whimpering already turned me off when I was a child.

It also gave me lots of identity. If somebody asked me to define myself I would talk about my improvised baroque violin style first. I also bring in my recorders but just recorder wasn't enough, because deep expression isn't possible on the very limited recorder. I'm also a baroque singer and dancer and this all belongs together. I've built a new house which is much more magnificent than the old jazz derelict.

I can only give suggestions from my perspective and I suggest to build more around your violin than just owning the instrument itself. Here are more people who clearly have strong identities which make a strong connection between them and their instruments. Some are folk fiddlers, others jazz violinists, others deeply live the romantic era. Or like the little girl who fell in love with Mozart at age 7 and dreamed to be a princess who would once be allowed to meet her crush. If she starts on violin she knows exactly why. Later she will play Mozart so deeply heartfelt, she'll never lose motivation. Now I remember an old friend from my baroque dance class who had a crush on the sun king! That was 13 years ago and today she still dances. Because she's positively crazy and it pays to be that kind of crazy.

Don't just play, find out your favorite music style (everybody has likes and dislikes, that's human!), read books about that kind of music etc. ......  Fanaticism is the safest prophylaxis against ever losing motivation. 😉

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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