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Starting again (still on my own)
Starting again with better structure after involuntary break
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
Honorary advisor

May 30, 2021 - 10:26 am
Member Since: June 18, 2015
Forum Posts: 245
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Hello everyone,

I've been away from the violin for several months now. Things are finally settling down. I've recently moved and unfortunately violin teachers are still just out of reachcry, as far as the ones I could find through online search go. I'm not sure how or where else to look.

I'll be signing up with ViolinLab very shortly, since they had very good reviews and I'm needing a bit more structure. Major drawback for me is the lack of immediate feedback I'd get with a teacher as far as posture and bowing and angles are concerned, I'm sure I've already acquired bad habits. There's no one to tell me what I'm doing wrong and how to improve it, something that according to most people should be done in person.

I do have some of Simon Fischer's materials, both books and DVD, but the majority of it seems to be way over my head since it's more than likely geared towards people who already know what they're doing.

Is there anyone else self-teaching? If yes, how did that work out for you?

I would really like to at least get to a fairly advanced level at some point and be able to draw sweet tones out of my violin instead of the mediocre ones I'm getting out now. Is this even possible as someone who's pretty much on their own?

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

May 30, 2021 - 10:59 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3639
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@AnnyJ Have you thought about online lessons? FaceTime, Skype, Zoom. I did Facetime for a while and thought it was very good, much to my surprise, but I need time for it all to sink in before I continue. I got immediate feedback. I adjusted my position when my posture, etc needed checking, but that was not necessary very often because I was quite visible, as was the teacher. The teacher also held his instrument so I could really see fingering or bowing when necessary. Feedback is right there. I think, not sure, if the instructor approves, you can record the session. I could have with mine, but was not sure how to do it with FaceTime and didn't want to try to figure it out during lesson home. Just an option.

The Bumblebee Flies!

Greater Chicagoland

May 30, 2021 - 11:10 am
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 806
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Welcome back (from new guy here)! Have you checked any local schools that have any kind of music program? The instructors often know of local teachers who could give you the help you are looking for.

The old curmudgeon!


May 30, 2021 - 1:07 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2020
Forum Posts: 990
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Of course its possible to teach yourself, have you heard Andrew H play, he is mostly self taught and is in an orchestra. What do you mean by advanced? 

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

Sacramento, California

May 31, 2021 - 12:25 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1335
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It's possible. It's not easy, and it takes a lot more self-discipline and attention to detail than when you have a teacher. I self-taught for my first 16 years playing violin and viola because, at the very beginning, I was rejected by multiple teachers and thought I wouldn't be able to find a teacher willing to accept a late starter. I actually got into a semi-pro orchestra, was principal violist of another community orchestra, and performed as a soloist with an orchestra on one occasion before I had my first lesson. But my progress was very slow for years -- I've been playing for a little over 21 years now. And when I took my first lessons, I did have bad habits that needed fixing. I sounded OK but bad bowing technique was causing me upper back pain, among other issues.

Since this February I've been taking regularly scheduled lessons for the first time, using Zoom, from a teacher who has experience with injury rehab and prevention, after two years of chronic shoulder injuries (not caused by playing) and a bad whiplash injury from a car accident last summer. I had to look online not only because of the pandemic, but also because I had been unable to find a local teacher for several years. I had some lessons in 2016, but stopped because of scheduling difficulties. I was looking for teachers who would accept adult students, could teach advanced viola repertoire, and had evening or weekend openings. There were local teachers who met every combination of two of those three criteria, but none who met all three.

As you've already noticed, feedback is extremely helpful. I started playing in orchestras very early on, and I was definitely out of my depth at first, but one thing I got out of it was pointers from more experienced players. It wasn't as much detail as a one-on-one lesson would have given me, but it was better than nothing. Many community orchestras do not audition and will accept anyone. I think what made it work for me was being willing to stay in an orchestra where I couldn't keep up at first (for many people this causes frustration), and gradually work my way up to being able to play more of the music.

Recording yourself is also helpful, especially now that we all have decent video cameras in our phones. You can watch yourself with a critical eye, and there are also online forums (such as this one) where people might be able to give you some feedback.

The thing about Simon Fischer's books is that they are reference materials. If you know what needs fixing, or if you need supplemental exercises to work on a particular technique, they can be useful even to beginners, but the catch is that you need to know what you're trying to work on. They're definitely not for stand-alone use.


May 31, 2021 - 4:43 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 3554
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@AnnyJ - 

I love Violin Lab tutorials! 

If you need the feedback, I think Virtual one-on-one lessons is the way to go. 

Online Workshops are great, too. 

EVERYBODY wants students now! 

There were a 100 different instructors at the Fiddle Hell Festival - just about all I ran across would take students. 

You're looking for Classical training?  Don't count out performers - it never hurts to ask if someone you admire takes on new students!  Or ask who taught them. 

Personally, I would contact people I have seen play at the proficiency level I want (or higher) and who play in the style I want to learn - ask if they take new students. 

Figure out how often you need a lesson - once a month, a week? 

I would inquire if they would encourage my questions, be a little flexible with Zoom time and how much experience do they have teaching adults. 

You actually have the whole World at your fingertips, when it comes to finding a teacher - picked a good time to look for help! 




...I'm self taught, but have my eye on a few people for lessons.

- Emily


May 31, 2021 - 8:16 pm
Member Since: June 24, 2020
Forum Posts: 492
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You might check at some local churches--they may have music programs.  Some baptist churches in my area have what they call "School of the Arts" which is basically a group of local music teachers who give one-on-one lessons at the church for children & adults at a reasonable fee.  I know the ones here are open to all--not just church members.

Also, you can try asking at a local music store.  Even if they don't carry bowed instruments, they may know some local teacher in the area.  I suspect there are many violin players who teach part time--and their availability is found word-of-mouth.

I'm playing about 8 years now, my first 2 were on my own.  Like you, I looked online for a local teacher, & only found one listing.  I emailed her to inquire about lessons, letting her know I was a beginning adult. 

She called me & was very gracious, but indicated that she wasn't taking anymore students.  However, she knew someone else that was local, & gave me her contact info--the teacher I've had now for the last 6 years. 

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

Honorary advisor

June 13, 2021 - 10:36 am
Member Since: June 18, 2015
Forum Posts: 245
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Finally access to my computer again. My phone won't work with this site for some reason.

Thank you so much for all the responses! :-) thanx_gif

@Mouse No, I haven't delved to much into the possibility of online lessons, although violin-lab does offer video feedback with the founder. Depending on payment level. So maybe that might be an option for the time being.

@JohnG Welcome to the forum. Local schools around here only seem to have band, same as it was in my previous town, but asking would hurt or cost anything.

@stringy By advanced I mean fairly proficient, like being able to control the bow to get the sound and dynamics I want and being able to play different techniques in various positions comfortably. The goal might be too lofty, but I can always try.

Yes, I have heard AndrewH play, however I had no idea that he was mostly self-taught. That being said, thank you so much for the detailed background story @AndrewH. You sure have a lot of work and experience under your belt, yo much respect to you! And you're right as far as Simon Fischer is concerned, it's definitely not  stand-alone material, not even a method. He is very detailed though, which I both love and sometimes hate.

@ELCBK thank you for the feedback on violin-lab. Yes, I'm looking for classical training. Although, I do like the idea of fiddling as well, classical is my preferred way to go.

ELCBK said
EVERYBODY wants students now! 


That's good to know!

This forum seems to be a lot more open to virtual lessons than another one I came across (not a member of) after my google search. Should have just come here directly. :-)


@SharonC I really haven't thought about churches at all, thank you for the tip! There are a lot of churches in this area, I might just get lucky. Word of mouth is also something I never think of. I rely mainly on internet listings, not thinking about that not everyone might want to be listed in the first place.

Can't wait to finally get into it again, hopefully with much better structure and results. :-) While I continue my search with the newly found options thanks to you guys, I will go with violinlab to get started, until something is found anyway.


Happy violing/fiddling!violin-student

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

Fort Lauderdale
July 12, 2021 - 2:26 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15833

Yes, as Andrew wrote, It requires a lot of self discipline.
I have seen many self taught violinists do great over the years and that is a fact.
Good luck.
Looking forward to following your progress.

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

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