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Too old to learn?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (6 votes) 
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oscar07
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February 1, 2015 - 12:49 am
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Greetings everybody!

It's been a while since I post something here and well I come now to ask for your advice one more time. 

Well the thing is that I started to take some private lessons with a violinist from my city's orchestra but if you guys remember well I'm 30 years old and my goal it's not to become a professional musician or a soloist and well this teacher didn't understood that I felt like she was trying to teach me like if she was teaching someone who wants to be a professional violinist not someone who only wants to learn to play the instrument, I'm not saying its bad but honestly with 1 lesson a week that wasn't working at all (besides she was too expensive), I feel like I wasn't improving very much, not that I wanted to play paganini or anything like that but well the bottom line is that I decided to go in other direction so I started to look for an academy where I could take more lessons a week for a more reasonable price and I found one with a guy that has 18 years of experience playing the violin and he has been teaching for 12 years now but here is the deal: he uses the suzuki method to teach the instrument, now I've been reading a lot about this method and it seems to be oriented to kids mostly so I wanted to know if any of you guys know if this will be useful to me or if I should stay with the more technical lessons from the other teacher? 

He also complements the suzuki method with others such as crickboom method which was the one I was using with the other teacher, and I also asked him if we could use suzuki method as well as others to improve my technique and he says that it wouldn't be any problem, I'm planning to take 2 lessons a week with that teacher if I decide to stay with him.

Please any advice or comments will be very much appreciated.

P.D. I also plan to take my 2 girls with him so they can start taking piano lessons.

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Fiddlerman
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February 4, 2015 - 10:52 am
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I'd say to give him a chance. Nothing really wrong with Suzuki. The Suzuki method is valuable in many ways. Personally, I never had anything to do with Suzuki until my kids gave playing the violin a shot at an extremely young age but I noticed a lot of great ideas. I have some friends that teach Suzuki and these friends are people who know what they are doing.

No matter what teacher you go with, it's always on a trial basis unless they require money up front for more than one lesson right?

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

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Uzi
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February 4, 2015 - 3:46 pm
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You can't really judge a music teacher until you've had some lessons from them. Regardless of the method they use, it's going to be a method that will teach you something worth knowing.  It's not which method they use that you need to be concerned with, it's whether or not it teaches you how to play a violin properly.  

There can be no real art development before one's technic is firmly established.  -- Leopold Auer. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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oscar07
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February 6, 2015 - 12:20 am
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Thanks a lot for the answers guys;

Fiddlerman; here in my country there's no such thing as trial lessons lol all of them require that you pay up front for the lessons haha but like I said with the first one I was paying more for less and I think that 1 lesson a week would take me a long time to improve that's why I looked for another option where I could take more lessons at a more reasonable price and well I'm gonna start with that teacher this weekend taking 2 lessons a week.

Uzi; you're totally right there's not a perfect method at all, all of them teaches you something good so yeah I will give suzuki method a chance and I will complement it with others like crickboom or kreutzer etudes for more technical stuff, and well I hope that teacher help me to improve my technique :)

I will come back to share my experience on how I'm doing it ;)

Thanks!

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Fiddlestix
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February 6, 2015 - 6:21 am
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oscar07 said
Thanks a lot for the answers guys;

 I think that 1 lesson a week would take me a long time to improve that's why I looked for another option where I could take more lessons at a more reasonable price and well I'm gonna start with that teacher this weekend taking 2 lessons a week.

 

IMO, improving comes with practicing more hours each day, rather than the "one" hour a day that most people try to follow and practice is, "FREE".

One can take all the lessons they can handle, but if we don't practice what we've learned in those lessons, then we've wasted $$ and clock.

 

Ken.

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oscar07
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February 6, 2015 - 10:54 am
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Fiddlestix said

oscar07 said
Thanks a lot for the answers guys;

 I think that 1 lesson a week would take me a long time to improve that's why I looked for another option where I could take more lessons at a more reasonable price and well I'm gonna start with that teacher this weekend taking 2 lessons a week.

 

IMO, improving comes with practicing more hours each day, rather than the "one" hour a day that most people try to follow and practice is, "FREE".

One can take all the lessons they can handle, but if we don't practice what we've learned in those lessons, then we've wasted $$ and clock.

 

Ken.

I know that and I do it I practice every day at least 1 hr, what I meant with no improving from 1 lesson a week was that even that the teacher saw that I did the exercises that we were practicing we didn't move forward to other things, she didn't taught me new things or try to advance more even that I think I was making a good progress.

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Fiddlerman
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February 18, 2015 - 11:04 am
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Look forward to hearing about your first lessons then oscar07. Paying up front for one lesson is cool. That teacher reserved the time for you but committing to more lessons without knowing if the teacher is any good is uncool.

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

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tesfalcon
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February 18, 2015 - 7:33 pm
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While some comment has been given about method (both of my violin teachers used their own method), I think the big thing in education is the connection between the student and teacher. Not everyone will speak words that you understand or knows how to explain what they do well. (Sadly, naturally gifted students rarely make good teachers.) We might be discussing music in this context, but think back to anything else that you struggled to learn or wanted to improve.

Personally, I went through 3 teachers before I found one that had the patience, attitude, and communication skill that I needed to learn to drive a semi-truck. The first teacher yelled and screamed at every mistake, but I was so new I didn't even know what I was doing wrong. The second teacher was gruff and direct with instructions but gave me no feedback to let me know if I was doing it right or wrong. The 3rd teacher was quick to point out faults, but just as quick to point out (and explain) correct operation. Thus I was encouraged to do the right thing and discouraged against doing the wrong thing.

You may have thought you were doing well with the first teacher, but there may have been some underlying error to be corrected that they weren't making clear to you. They may also be stuck in a rut and not really listening to your playing. Let's pretend that you jumped ahead and practiced Lesson 1, 2, & 3 that first day. Instead of approving your progress and continuing with Lesson 4, they trod along like a plow horse to Lesson 2. Again, you have to just get into the lessons before you can know whether they are a good teacher or bad or just not good for you. 

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tesfalcon
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February 20, 2015 - 9:01 pm
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An early reply on this thread mentioned PAIN for the first month or so. I got my new fiddle yesterday. My wrist does NOT want to bend that way nor does my hand want to pinch that way to reach any strings. Wide fingers aren't helping either. I've mostly been swinging hammers for the last 10 years. At this point, I can't even touch my thumb and pinkie together! Any exercises I can do to increase flexibility? Practice for an hour a day?! I'm in pain from the first minute!

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Fiddlerman
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February 20, 2015 - 10:54 pm
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Would love to see how you are holding the instrument. Pictures or video would be great in order to help you.

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

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Schaick
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February 21, 2015 - 12:38 pm
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@oscar07 I started violin at age 58 with the Suzuki method taking 1 lesson every 2 months. I took 5-6 lessons from Suzuki Teach.  Then I started going to a jam - last April and decided to take lessons from a Bluegrass Teach.

@tesfalcon My Suzuki Teach was very kind in helping me find the most comfortable correct [for me] positions for holding the violin and bow.  Now I can jam 3 hours straight!!! 

One example - When I bow the lowest strings I do not raise my arm like most violinists.  My arm is usually closer down to my side.  This means I have to bend my wrist more but it just hurts too much to play with my arm raised.

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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tesfalcon
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February 22, 2015 - 7:05 pm
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Thanks for the reminder and suggestions. Likely error was exactly that: my form was poor. I rigged up a shoulder rest of 3 new kitchen sponges so I can support the fiddle more comfortably without my left hand. I can now play an entire lesson from the new book before my forearm starts cramping. Hand cramp is substantially less. It might just take time and patience to adapt at this point.

My thick fingers require some extra adjustment. I ALWAYS press two strings simultaneously so I have to press D-A to leave the E free. "Twinkle, Twinkle", "Mary's Lamb", and "Jingle Bells" are technically accurate, I think, but not comfortable. Pinkie is weak. Oh the joy of starting over!

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DanielB
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February 23, 2015 - 12:30 am
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Teachers can only (at best) give what they've got.  They're human, so it won't be perfect.  Any given teacher may not be the best at explaining everything, and even if they are a very accomplished player there can still be weak areas in their own understandings.

Students also are not perfect and can only do their best with that they are given to work with in a teacher/student relationship.  They may also have preconceived notions of what they should and shouldn't learn, may have physical characteristics (like hand type and shape, for example) that make some parts of what there is to learn more challenging for them than for others.

That being said, because both are individuals, personality also is a factor.  A student needs to find a teacher who both has the skills they want to acquire and a personality that they can work with in the learning situation/environment.  Not every teacher will be right for every student, and vice versa.  So as a student, you have to shop around.  As a teacher, you have to decide if someone meets the criteria you need to be someone you can work with and teach. 

If a teacher (or student, if you happen to be on the other side of the equation) ends up not being someone you can work with and achieve good progress, then try another.

"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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oscar07
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March 9, 2015 - 7:38 pm
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Hello again everybody, well I come back to tell you about the new lessons:

1. I had some doubts about the suzuki method because I had the prejudice of being something for kids, nothing more far from reality, yes the first 5 or 6 pieces are like kids songs but the rest of the pieces from there are just really challenging, after taking 1 month of lessons with this method I'm currently on minuet 2 by J.S Bach and let me tell you that I've been struggling with this piece, it's really not a kids song at all hahaha.

 

2. I've been struggling with my left hand to get a good intonation I have really long fingers so sometimes it's really difficult for me to bend my fingers and get the right notes specially on the low position for the 2 finger, lately by practicing the minuet 2 I've been having some fingers and hand pains :/ because of the difficulty of bending my fingers, I hope this is something related to this new movements for my fingers and that eventually those pains will disappear...

 

3. About the new teacher and lessons well there's good things a bad things, the good things are that I feel like I'm really improving, my teacher tells me when I'm making a bad note so I can correct it, he does have 18 years of experience playing the violin and he plays really well although he told me he almost didn't have a professional education on the violin, he said he has taken lessons from several teachers (including concertinos from our city orchestra), the bad things are that the lessons are not individual so a very in deep teaching is not really present there (although for the price I think it's something you have to sacrifice) and that he almost never tells me anything about my "technique" I mean he hasn't tell me if I'm bowing right or if my posture is correct or not, I assume that he hasn't tell me anything because I'm doing it right lol (at least I hope so)

Well that's pretty much what's new about my progress with the fiddle, I keep practicing at least 1 or 2 hrs daily I still have some issues that I need to improve on my bowing and fingering techniques but I really hope that with time I will get better.

 

Thanks for all the comments and good vibes ;)  

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coolpinkone
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March 10, 2015 - 7:47 pm
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@oscar07 

     Yahoo.. thanks for the update.. so nice to see you back reporting... Awesome progress!!!!thumbs-upbananabananabananabanana

If you are not too shy and you want some feedback on your technique and form... There is a critique's corner thread.   I have been getting great tips from there.

violin-1267

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Daniel_Shaped_Object
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March 11, 2015 - 4:54 pm
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@oscar07 , 

I enjoyed reading your update, especially the part about the Suzuki method. I have been hesitant to try it because I also was afraid it was too "kid-oriented". I'm glad to hear you have found that not to be the case. Maybe I'll check into it after all.

Sounds like you have your lessons in the form of a violin class? That actually sounds kind of fun to me. Less pressure. And although you are paying less money than you would for private lessons, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to ask your teacher from time to time "Hey, how's my posture? (Or bowing technique, or whatever). It's possible that your teacher might have feedback for you that he may need a tiny bit of prompting to give. Sometimes thing happen so fast in a class setting that a teacher who's more at ease in private settings might find themselves distracted and miss some of the "teachable moments". So I say, go ahead and create your own!   :-)

Regardless, you seem to be doing well, and I'm glad to hear it. It helps inspire me on!

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Uzi
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March 11, 2015 - 9:58 pm
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I'm glad to hear it's working for you so far.  If you are worried about progressing over time, don't.  If you practice you will improve.  Just don't expect that the gradient of the learning slope to be constant, because it probably won't.  For almost everyone, you'll learn really quickly for a while, then it will seem like you're not improving at all, then you will become depressed, then suddenly you'll make a break through and the learning will be fast again and the cycle will repeat.  Just don't give up when the going gets slow.  Try to work on something unrelated to what you've been trying to learn and then boom, out of nowhere, you'll be able to do what you thought was a roadblock and you can continue on down the path.  Sometimes you need to just take a detour for a while.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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oscar07
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March 13, 2015 - 5:57 pm
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@coolpinkone,

I might upload a video to get some advices from you guys, just need to have some free time lol

@Daniel_Shaped_Object,

Suzuki method it's oriented to kids as it's basic goal because it looks to get kids involved into music and the teaching progress it's based on how a kid learns to speak, when I started taking private lessons I was taking lessons with a professional violinist from my city orchestra and the lessons were good but I have this feeling that she was trying to teach me as if she was trying to teach someone who wants to live out of this which is not my goal, I don't look to be a professional violinist I just want to learn to play it well enough to play music that I want to play myself, so those lessons were taking a very boring development because we were focusing too much on developing a perfect technique, now that's not bad at all, but I guess that's something you should focus more with someone who's making a career as a musician and not too much into someone who only wants to play the instrument for the taste of it, I might be completely wrong but I would have enjoy those lessons if at the same time she was trying to develop my technique she would complemented it with easy music pieces that kept me interested and proud of being able to play some actual music, which is what its happening right now with the suzuki method and the new teacher, I'm learning easy songs at the same time that I develop my technique, now the bowing technique its not improving as fast as it might be with the other teacher because in suzuki method what the student tries to learn first it's how to create a beautiful sound and yes the technique comes later but at the beginning it keeps you motivated because you're learning to play music instead of boring, repetitive scales and exercises, again this is not a bad thing but I think they are different approaches for different type of students, perhaps if I was younger and I was studying a music career I would prefer the other teaching method. 

So after all this long explanation I guess what I'm trying to say it's go ahead and give the suzuki method a chance I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it as much as I'm doing it. 

Oh about what you mention to feel free to ask my teacher about guidance I do that I've ask him if I'm bowing correctly and stuff like that and he does give me some feedback, I've improved my intonation quite a lot with his critics, what I meant when I said he almost doesn't give me any feedback it's mostly because the lessons are in group so he can't focus 100% on every student but he does corrects me when I do something wrong so yeah I'm improving my technique as well just not as fast as I would be on a 100% individual class. 

@Uzi,

Yes I totally agreed with you I know the learning curve behaves like that, you advance really fats at some points and then you feel  like your stuck but I'm 100% determinated to improve and yes some times I feel like I don't wanna practice at all, specially on moments when I feel down or sad but once I get the violin out and start playing it I forget about all the problems and time just flies, before I notice I've been playing for hours and I feel really good :)

Bottom line is I'm really happy that I decided to go for it about learning the violin I enjoy it like you guys have no idea, I love my Fiddlerman Concert Violin, I'm in love with its sound so thanks @Fiddlerman  for choosing such a wonderful instrument for me it worths every penny I spent on it.

Thanks to all of you for your great comments and I'm happy to be part of this community and we'll be in touch ;)

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oscar07
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March 15, 2015 - 2:06 am
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Hello again guys, well like I promised I have just posted a video on the corner critique forum ;) feel free to watch it and give me your opinion about it.

 

Thanks!

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Fiddlerman
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March 16, 2015 - 8:15 am
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oscar07, you are very welcome and I'm super pleased to hear that you are very satisfied with your instrument. :)

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

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