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Lessons?
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StaceyC
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January 27, 2018 - 8:21 pm
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I've been re-teaching myself to play and using the internet as I can to help. However, I'm thinking about possibly finding a local teacher.. The reason is, I don't want to learn bad habits because it would be very hard to unlearn them later on. I am seriously considering finding a teacher but I'd like to know your thoughts. What is an average cost of lessons and how long are they generally? I know each teacher/student is different but am looking for estimates on things right now.

Can anyone offer any tips/advice?

Thanks in advance!

You'll never know unless you try!

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Ferenc Simon
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January 27, 2018 - 9:17 pm
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Well if it's a question of whether or not you can learn off the internet and still prevent learning bad habits while correcting your mistakes, it is possible.. At least I've been doing just that. Never had a single lesson and been learning and re-learning stuff from the internet during the past 4 months (today's my 4 month violin anniversary, yay!) 

This forum helps a lot and also watching as many violin related videos on youtube as possible.. Here on the forum you can just flood people with videos of you playing and they're quite happy to give you a critique and tips on how to correct mistakes (I even sort of overdid the 'flooding' part lol.. just check the thread called 'My progress')

Now obviously a teacher would probably speed things up, I wouldn't mind one either, unfortunately I couldn't find a local one yet. 

The benefits however of doing it on my own is that I get to play whichever song I feel like, instead of maybe a bunch of classical pieces that I don't like (I like classical music, just not all pieces and generally teachers tend to choose the annoying ones haha)

However on the other hand the progress 'demanded' by a teacher will also be a strong drive so you will probably happily bow away even the most annoying piece eager to advance to the next lesson 🙂 

The other major contrast is the obvious.... Lessons cost money.. while the internet is free (for now)... and depending on where you live that 'money' can be quite the sum, which will probably make you settle for either a less capable teacher.. or less frequent lessons with a teacher who has many other students.. In either case you're probably not getting one of those dedicated teachers who actually care about you learning well and fast.. but more likely some random person who checks up on you once a week or once every two weeks.. 

It could still work ofc, but if I get a teacher, I would really like one of those super enthusiastic 'musician' type of teachers who make it a top priority that you actually learn something and don't make you feel like it's just another business and money is all that matters 🙂 

Another, cheaper, route would be to hack at it on your own till you're good enough to join some really amateur orchestra type of setting.. or even just a small band.. In those settings your learning speed will skyrocket, plus you'll get plenty of free tips from the others.

Hope this helps, let us know what you decide 🙂 

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Ferenc Simon
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January 27, 2018 - 9:30 pm
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Oh and one more tip.. If you choose to stay on the self-taught / internet path.. then you really need to attract people's attention to mistakes you THINK you are making.. It doesn't matter if it turns out not to be a mistake, but if you're unsure about it, mention it regardless..

When watching a critique video people aren't seeing you in 3d and from all angles like a real teacher would.. so it's really hard to spot some of the stuff, but if you draw people's attention to the things you suspect might be off, for example by saying something like 'I'm not sure my bow grip is right because it feels uncomfortable...' or 'I noticed I'm doing this / that differently than XY... is that bad or does it matter?'... 

Chances are you will feel it if something is wrong.. it will come back and bother you till you start looking it up online or asking the question here, so just be sure to trust these instincts and act on them.. Like they say.. it doesn't hurt to ask 🙂 

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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January 27, 2018 - 9:38 pm
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Lesson prices depend on where you live, but around here they average $20 for a half hour.

If you find a teacher that fits your needs, you won't have to play pieces you don't want. I might play an etude I'm not fond of, but it's because of a technique it's making me get better at, same as different scales (I hate scales, haha, but you gotta do them). Other than that, I only learn the tunes I want 🙂 

You can learn on your own, but it's all in how you feel you learn best. For me, having a teacher helps me set a goal for learning something better than I would learning on my own. On my own, I'd probably have decided I was no good and stopped a long time ago.

Sometimes a teacher will open up opportunities you wouldn't normally get on your own. I got paired up with a duo partner who wants to start a band, which sets some interesting goals of its own, along with recitals, and being able to point me in the right direction for jam sessions, which ones are the friendly groups, and which are less friendly to beginners. 

IMO, if you can afford it, even if just a little while, lessons are a good thing to help get you started in the right direction 🙂 

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On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
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Ferenc Simon
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January 27, 2018 - 10:26 pm
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damfino said
Lesson prices depend on where you live, but around here they average $20 for a half hour.

Wow.. that's expensive 🙂 Obviously I know it's not THAT much there in the US.. but to put it into (or rather out of) context, if I took two of those half hour lessons every week, I'd have to give the teacher more than 1/3rd of my salary 😀 And if the teacher would do lessons 8 hours a day (like a normal day-job), his salary would be exactly the same as that of our top-earning politicians. Economy discrepancies between countries can be so painful sometimes haha, well not so much in this case, but pretty much every time I order something from another country. 😛

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AndrewH
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January 28, 2018 - 3:10 am
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Ferenc Simon said

damfino said
Lesson prices depend on where you live, but around here they average $20 for a half hour.

Wow.. that's expensive 🙂 Obviously I know it's not THAT much there in the US.. but to put it into (or rather out of) context, if I took two of those half hour lessons every week, I'd have to give the teacher more than 1/3rd of my salary 😀 And if the teacher would do lessons 8 hours a day (like a normal day-job), his salary would be exactly the same as that of our top-earning politicians. Economy discrepancies between countries can be so painful sometimes haha, well not so much in this case, but pretty much every time I order something from another country. 😛  

There are also big discrepancies within the US. $20 for a half hour would be unheard of in California, for example... Sacramento is the cheapest major city in California to live in, and at beginner level, the average rate in the Sacramento area is about $35 for a half-hour lesson or $50 for a 1-hour lesson. When I took lessons for a few months of 2016, I was paying $65 per 1-hour lesson at advanced/pre-professional level. In other California cities, it's even more expensive: $40 or so for a 30-minute lesson at beginner level in Los Angeles, and $45 in San Francisco.

Of course, you could also think of violin lessons in San Francisco as cheap compared to the cost of everything else there.

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AndrewH
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January 28, 2018 - 3:22 am
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I would highly recommend getting into some kind of orchestra as soon as you're able to... I improved mostly through playing in orchestras, being pushed to learn the repertoire, and getting free tips from other musicians.

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StaceyC
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January 28, 2018 - 1:00 pm
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Thank you for all of the helpful replies!! 🙂 I don't think I'm quite ready to work with a teacher just yet. I had been watching a video (one of only a ton!) and they mentioned picking up bad habits when learning on our own.. I at some point would LOVE to be in an orchestra and the like but I also know I'm far from being at that point as well. 

You'll never know unless you try!

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Bella86
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January 28, 2018 - 2:37 pm
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Cost of lessons sure do vary. I live in sweden (high taxes) and I pay about 3100 sek (just under 400 usd/315 euros) for 10 lessons, 30 minutes a piece. I go to a small university for lessons as you won't really find private tutors here. 

I am very unorganized and completely lost and overwhelmed without some kind of guidance so without lessons I don't think I would have been picking this instrument up.

There is plenty of people active on youtube that are teaching themselves with the aid of internet and doing quite well. I think that if you look up as much info and videos as you can, and are mindful during practice, you'll be fine. I highly recommend practicing infront of a mirror regularily to check on form and posture. If you're ok with recording yourself on video, the people on here will surely give advice. 

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Charles
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January 31, 2018 - 4:43 pm
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Taking lessons has been a very positive thing for me. I've tried over a dozen instruments over the years, and never gotten very far with any of them.  I'd get the basics down, but then I had no idea how to progress to play the kind of stuff I wanted to play.

Violin was different. I didn't have any particular songs, or even genres that I liked, and I knew I knew nothing about it, and that it was reputed to be hard instrument. So I decided to get a teacher right from the start, in large part for the reason you mentioned, so I wouldn't practice in bad habits that would be hard to break later.

In doing so, I found out why the other ones hadn't worked. I'm a lousy teacher of instruments I don't know. 🙂  (Especially when I'm the student.)

From what other people are saying, my teacher is rather expensive $80/hr. I take 1/2 hour lessons. He's located in one of the pricier parts of town. I went to him originally because he was the only one who could fit my schedule. I've stuck with him despite the price because he's good and I enjoy working with him.  I probably could find a cheaper teacher, but I'm not so sure I could find one nearly as good. 

So I'd say part of the issue of whether you should get a teacher is: How good are you at teaching yourself something new?  I've proven to myself I'm not very good at it, at least when it comes to playing music.  I'm not fussed about it, I have lots of other things I am good at, but in the future, any instrument I'm halfway serious about learning I will find a teacher to at least get me started.

Finding a teacher who's good and who you like is another issue. Don't be too surprised if you have to try several before finding one you like well. I'd set up no more than a month of lessons with one to start, to find out if you mesh well. If not, at the end of that month, you go to the next one.

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JamesRSmithJr
New Jersey, USA
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January 31, 2018 - 6:56 pm
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Lessons, YES.  

I began doing online vids and Essential Strings method book, never having read any music or played any instrument.  After about 4 months I was a third through, but wasn't progressing as I thought I should be.  Began lessons (1/2 hr $31, Northern NJ) 8 weeks ago.  He was impressed by what I was doing (the only issue I had was left wrist).  After playing a tad for him, he went about 2/3rds into the book and we finished it two weeks ago.  

Along with the book (which he jumped around in and made me sight read), he would also put up 6-8 measure scores and have me play them (sight unseen).  His number one rule, you can make mistakes, just don't stop.  We ALSO (wheew, lots of work) are doing 2 octave scales, shifting into 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions, I never would be doing that.

Last week he put Bachs Menuteo up and said, we are going to play all 32 measures, straight through (I had never seen it).  We made it through with some errors, but we made it.   8 Weeks ago I would have muddled through it, measure at a time, with string and finger notes written on it (that is verbotten in his classes)....

I guess what I am trying to say is, by yourself you can learn, but being challenged by a teacher makes you progress much faster.  I can't get comfortable and muddle along, heck last night up brought up Krieslers Libenshied and read (not played, yet) it through, with ONE mistaken note.  Think I could have done that without the last 8 weeks of challenging?

Another nice thing about lessons is when we play together, when I hit the notes right (because you know he is all the time), the two violins sing so beautifully...   Makes me want to try even harder...

BTW Fiddlerman , he is so impressed with my Master Violin, he plays it and smiles broadly.....

To play a wrong note is insignificant;  To play without passion is inexcusable.  - Ludwig van Beethoven 

 My journey began on Aug 3 2017

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Fiddlerman
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February 1, 2018 - 2:16 pm
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@JamesRSmithJr - Of course. 🙂

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

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Martha
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February 4, 2018 - 10:05 am
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Two small additions:

(1) Some teachers work through institutions, which will often post lesson rates on the internet, whereas individual teachers often will not. (Music school, community music program, affiliations with a college or university, affiliations with an instrument store, e.g.) I googled around and got some rough idea for my area in that way.

(2) Consider also the possibility of group lessons. The easily available thing here in Chicago is the Old Town School of Folk Music fiddle program--$200 for 8 group classes of 1 hour 20 minutes each, which is cheaper per session than a 30 minute private session in these parts, even through a local university's community music program. It's not the repertoire I would pick, if all things were equal, but it is working for me just now. There is a teacher to spot bad habits and to supply guidance (though of course his/her attention is divided among the class), there is a structure of carefully-chosen specific tasks, there is social pressure to come next week with the tasks mastered. And--this is big for me--there is playing in front of others, and playing with others, from the very beginning.

N.b., the group instruction idea is not inherently tied to any particular genre.)

Just another idea for the pot...

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