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Do I keep playing?
Unsure if I want to keep learning...
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gomubukai
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January 31, 2015 - 8:27 pm
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I'm having a crisis about whether I want to continue to learn violin... 

I know this is a decision only I can make, but I'm hoping everyone can give me some advice. 

I have had a very strange few months, with a lot going on in my life. During this time, I seem to have completely lost interest in playing and learning violin. 

So far, I've only been learning for under 2 years, but have made pretty good progress - at least according to my teacher. I'm starting to learn Grade 3 theory, and am learning double/triple stopping and third position. 

I don't know if it's because so many other things are stealing my attention at the moment, but I don't want to practice - at all - and when I do. My practice is unfocused and unhelpful. I don't have the energy or interest in fixing the mistakes I make in intonation etc, and just generally seem to be damaging my technique even further. 

Does anyone have any experience with this? I know it is normal to hit plateaus where progress seems to stop. But has anyone experienced actually not wanting to play anymore, and seeming to lose interest completely?

If so, what do you do? Do you force yourself to push through, and eventually it gets better - give in and leave the instrument or what?

I discussed it with my teacher yesterday and she pretty much just told me I need to relax and not let things get in the way. But it isn't that easy...

Any advice would be VERY appreciated. If I make the choice to cancel my lessons, I don't think it would be easy to find a teacher again - and my teacher would probably fill in my gap in a couple of weeks and would be booked out and unable to teach me.  

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 31, 2015 - 9:50 pm
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Hi @gomubukai,

In the end of 2012 I went through the same situation as you. Had a lot going on in my life. In between that there were the few violin classes I was still attending. It was a bit of struggle, I simply didn't have the will anymore. And when I stop researching information and watch videos violin related or just grab the violin on my own will, I knew that I lost my interest. The fact that I started losing people to play with also contributed to this.

Almost a year went by and all of the sudden I started to listen to Vivaldi pieces again (my favourite composer) while working and there it was. It called me again. I started to look for stuff on the internet related to violin. Having my boyfriend praticing martial arts also motivated me as well so eventually I asked my teacher to attend classes again. The progress was none, actually it was back to basics again. The boring etudes already conquered were a nightmare again. It was frustrating to me and my teacher. Besides being my tutor, she is one of my best friends so it was very hard on her too since I was one of the her most advanced students. One day, I was envited to see kendo graduation exams with my boyfriend. Seeing the determination of the people that were submiting to the exams, inspired me and made me want to work harder. My teacher gave me Vivaldi pieces to keep for later. I didn't do etudes or scales at home (shh don´t tell anyone XD) instead I was trying to play this.  The joy was back and progress was starting to show up. My teacher suggested that after I graduate I should submit myself to an orchestra because I am back on track again. That idea made me very happy, I had goals again! To extra motivation I decided to join this wonderful forum. 

Don't be scared to have a "time out". Sometimes it's all you need to organize yourself. Try to have a open conversation with your teacher, maybe you could reach to an agreement about it. 

I hope I helped you somehow. 

 

edit: Try suggesting pieces or songs that you love and you would like to learn :)

 
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gomubukai
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January 31, 2015 - 10:12 pm
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Thanks for that! It seems everyone on here just loves violin, and no one ever seems to struggle with wanting to learn it. 

So did you take a year off learning completely before it called you back?

I think that might be what I need to do, but i'm not sure if i would be able to get my spot back with my teacher again. So I would have to talk to her... she doesn't seem to really understand though. 

She has played violin her whole life, it's all she's ever done - she teaches for a living and doesn't seem to understand that I can't seem to physically make myself pick it up at the moment. 

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 31, 2015 - 10:22 pm
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I forgot to add, I started to go to recitals, concerts and plays more often ( I got to see and listen to the Stradivarius Cello Chevillard!).

If you have the possibility, try to modify your violin. A different set of strings can make you fall in love again :)

 
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gomubukai
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January 31, 2015 - 10:31 pm
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Thank you very much. =) 

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 31, 2015 - 10:38 pm
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Yes, I stopped completely.
Just try to reach out to her. Don't be afraid. Even if you lose the spot, if you love violin and eventually get back to it you will find a way :)  

 
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Jacques
San Diego
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January 31, 2015 - 11:09 pm
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I took 10 years off before I picked it back up. Now have and have a much stronger passion for it. It can be a good thing to take a break.

Be in a hurry but not in a rush.

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gomubukai
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January 31, 2015 - 11:24 pm
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Had you guys been playing long before you needed to take a break?

I think that's part of my problem. I'm still a beginner, I haven't even been playing for 2 years yet - so it's not embedded in my life.

I feel like if I stop playing to try and sort out everything else and try and get my passion back for it, I might not ever pick it up again. 

I don't know... i'm completely undecided on what to do... and yet... I still can't make myself pick it up to practice today. =( 

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Bunkei
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February 1, 2015 - 12:02 am
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gomubukai said
Had you guys been playing long before you needed to take a break?

I think that's part of my problem. I'm still a beginner, I haven't even been playing for 2 years yet - so it's not embedded in my life.

I feel like if I stop playing to try and sort out everything else and try and get my passion back for it, I might not ever pick it up again. 

I don't know... i'm completely undecided on what to do... and yet... I still can't make myself pick it up to practice today. =( 

I guess my question is ... what got you playing the violin in the first place?  You could have played any number of other instruments, but you chose the violin.  For me, I am a big fan of Vanessa-Mae as she was the first violinist who showed me what's possible with the violin outside classical music.  However, that's my source of passion.  Now, you have to find yours.  Good luck! :)

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Schaick
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February 1, 2015 - 11:24 am
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@gomubukai Yes I have reached plateaus in developing my violin skills.  Losing interest?  No!!    Who knows I might have if after about months to a year I found bluegrass, then I found a bluegrass jam to attend at around 13 months.  I have played around 1 1/2 years.

I have since day one used my practicing to focus on the songs - learning the skills to play the songs.  Mainly because I started at age 58 and I want to play songs!!

Now that I am beginning to focus on learning more creative back-up I am working on chords and scales but only during a very small part of my practice.

Hang in there!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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Oliver
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February 1, 2015 - 12:14 pm
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Gomubukai

I think it is an unusual person who can fully enjoy playing a musical instrument within the solitude of a rec room or bed room.  Could that be called a "purpose" ?  Hardly.

Fun music demands an audience, listeners, other performers, and (last but not least)  forums :)    Let's call all that "purpose" and the post of Schaick illustrates some successful motives.

Your answer lies in what you want to do or accomplish and that is a hard decision.  Unfortunately, I can't make that decision for you but consider the many different ways to participate in some form of public performance.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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February 1, 2015 - 1:35 pm
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gomubukai, I think everyone has days when it is harder to make themselves practice than other days.  I know that I do.  But if you want to improve on the instrument, you know that it is something you have to do.

You hear here from some folks who stopped for a while and then took the instrument back up.  But from what I have seen with playing music on various instruments for quite a few years, most do not.  The people that come back to an instrument after giving up on it or "taking a break" are the few, not the many.  Still, it is always possible you might beat those odds.  But knowing the odds is part of why I myself avoid such breaks in practice.

That being said, I would have a few questions.

1.) What is your current practice routine or schedule?  What are you supposed to be doing when you practice?  Is it a schedule/routine that was given by your teacher or are they aware of what you are currently doing in practice? 

A common problem I have heard of with practice is students being told "Practice!", but not being told how to go about it so far as how much time on what exercises and etc.  Perhaps you and your teacher need to review what you are doing in practice and talk about some possible ways to get it to work better.

 

2.) Is practice the only time you play the instrument?   If you never pick it up just to play for the fun and joy of it, to enjoy making sound, then practice sessions can get to feeling like a lot of work for no benefit.  "All work and no play" is very hard way to try and learn anything.

 

3.) Is the genre of music that you want to play what you are currently learning in lessons?  It can make things seem pointless and hard to be enthusiastic about learning if you are for some reason studying repertoire that you actually have little or no interest in being able to play.  Yes, many of the basics are still the same.  But that does not make it seem any more enjoyable.

To give a quote by Albert Einstein that comes to mind..

'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.'

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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February 1, 2015 - 2:20 pm
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DanielB

P.S.  Re your post.  Does anyone know the prevailing methods/schools for teaching the violin?  Is Suzuki most common?  KinderMuzik?  Independent teachers?  

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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February 1, 2015 - 2:50 pm
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I don't know offhand, Oliver.  Probably someone has figured out the statistics on it somewhere. 

Doing a quick search, I found this:

http://www.essortment.com/popu.....40020.html

But I'm not sure if those are the absolute most popular.   All mentioned quite often, though.

I think there likely is also a difference between if one is learning in the school system or from a private teacher. 

There sure seem to be an awful lot of methods/schools for violin teaching.

I think the matter is probably further complicated by a lot of teachers using more than one book/method in their approach, so there are quite a few "hybrid" schools/methods out there too.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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February 1, 2015 - 8:42 pm
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Glad I was never a student OR a teacher !

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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lexiconlush16
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February 2, 2015 - 2:53 pm
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I agree that a time out is not necessarily a bad thing. It depends on the person, but it can be a good time to reassess and revamp things. I have done it a few times and the "itch" to play always has me returning to it. 

2007: I've been playing in a public school environment since 10 and a combination of teenage angst and moving led to a backlash against the violin. I switched to viola for two years. Not a complete break, but a break from that particular instrument. I took a music theory class during that period and made sure I could still read treble clef.

2009-2013: Entered college and was tired of playing classical. I switched my focus to South American/Brazilian music for three years and didn't pick up a violin again until the end of those three years. The break allowed me to hone my other musical skills and realize that I did miss playing the violin.

2013-now: School stress and health issues made practicing almost impossible. I took another break to get my self together, but once again, kept up my musical skills, like helping my sister with reading her sheet music. It took awhile to get back to all of my interests, including violin, but I'm on the path.

I also second @ElisaDalViolin's suggestion of seeing more live performances, especially of different genres. I've been doing that to get out of this last break and it is helping a lot. 

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Fiddlerman
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February 2, 2015 - 10:21 pm
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Everyone goes through those feelings gomubukai.

The best thing for a person to get motivated is to plan your future. Ask yourself what you want to get out of playing and how you will get there. Make your goals reasonable and find creative ways to accomplish them. By all means write them down.
Some good motivators are:

Performances (parties, events, churches, streetjelly.com, busking)
Playing with others.
This forum. ;)
Listening to your kind of music played on the fiddle.
Lessons, free or paid. (with lessons, a good "motivating" teacher is vital)

Feel free to add some.

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

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Shane
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February 2, 2015 - 10:52 pm
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Something that helps me keep interested is having a couple of songs to play that are fun, and challenging. Early on I downloaded Ode to Joy from Fiddlerman.com. I would work on it when I got frustrated. Now I'm working on Oh God Beyond all Praising. It's very challenging for someone without talent like me. But, it really helps keep me interested when the drills my teacher has assigned get frustrating.

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