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Am I really too old to start playing music?
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Demoiselle
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September 16, 2017 - 6:47 am
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Fiddlerman said
I agree. Lot's of things that we long time violinists take for granted like the stretches can't be achieved easily for violinists that begin much later in life.
What ever you do, take it easy and don't rush it. One would not want to cause so much damage that you won't be able to play for a while.
Slow, baby steps forward.....  

That goes again, yes. It was to read here on the forum that I used minimal force to push down the strings until 2016. In the last 7 months I unlearned that and my teacher indeed encouraged me to use more force. I didn't like that but the stretching made it very difficult to do it gently. Several times I told her like, "Here's what I decided last week: It needs to grow slowly, it takes time and I'm not going to push myself into that technique now." She was very impatient and I then uttered a decree. I didn't call it an order but it practically was an order. Well, I paid her, she didn't pay me.

Now, without her I can work better. And again I follow the gentle-policy of 2015/16, plus an upgrade my teacher gave me. No more compromise in this matter. The lessons were a good thing and now I had to take over again.

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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Demoiselle
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September 16, 2017 - 6:50 am
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We have beautiful Advent songs here in Germany. I'd like to do that in a church. It is easy, not fast, very feely. So it's easy to relax and play gently.

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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Demoiselle
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These days I get the idea it may be a good idea to warm a little up before playing, like for sports. And it may be a good idea to do a little stretching then, because especially sinews of older people tend get short. Which is the reason why stretching is healthy for older people generally. But stretching the cold body can go very wrong, it's necessary to warm up before.

While pausing when playing I will do warm-ups and stretching too. Anyway I have an awkward feeling in my elbow region then if I move my fingers. The sinews are doing things while playing which even reach the elbow! But if I then move my fingers and stretch my hands a little it goes away.

It was my first rule already in 2015 when I had just started: Never play too long, but pause now and then. Now I add: moving while pausing and then stretching a little. Sinews tend to get shorter during sports, which goes for young and old people. Which is the reason why stretching after sports is considered advisable by experts. I strongly feel now it goes for playing the violin too.

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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zpilot
Kansas City, Mo.
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You are never too old as long as you are wanting to play for the love of the music alone.  Health or infirmities may be an obstacle to where you perform.  You can always enjoy and perform for yourself. 

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Demoiselle
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Plus, if you're an improviser you can always play around certain difficulties which give you pain. You follow your natural line. I am my own arranger and musical director and decide what I play legato and what not. I don't interpret Bach's works, I cover, so I can even change his themes wherever it suits me. It is the "YOU MUST DO IT EXACTLY THAT WAY" which makes modern classical music a huge strain. People today disregard the fact, that the old masters often preferred phrases which suited their personal line in a very natural way. If someone else tries to imitate it then, it becomes a huge challenge. Which makes classical music so painfully masochistic. Violin students are suffering an moaning all over the internet. I don't wanna take part in this musical masochism.

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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Rachdanon
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February 26, 2018 - 11:56 am
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Just joined the forum after being encouraged to do so by fiddlerman in a youtube response.  

 

Just thought I'd share some thoughts about some posts about being too old to stretch and keep fingers down.  By the way I'm not too young too, soon to be 46 so my fingers are also like old dogs in need of new tricks.  Im just 6 months into lessons, and suspect its not so much of stretching but learning to relax the dominant fingers (1st finger and thumb) and developing strength, especially the finger muscles that control lateral movements, and growing mind muscle connections.  As our fingers are connected in some way, tensing the first finger in a death grip will inhibit independent contol of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers.  For example, gripping hard on a B on the A string will prevent "stretching" of the 2nd and 4th fingers in playing C - E.  I realised this on no. 18 of the Sixty Studies.   Im just a newbie so feel free to correct this, you more advanced brothers and sisters.

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Mark
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February 26, 2018 - 7:45 pm
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Rachdanon,

Welcome to the forum, enjoy playing the violin!

Ahh to be 46 again, it's a nice thought.

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Fiddlerman
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March 14, 2018 - 5:01 am
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Welcome to the forumRachdanon,
It's both encouraging that you decided to play because of me and that you are already doing research. Great way to start!!!

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

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pchoppin
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May 10, 2018 - 7:55 pm
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I think age is not the issue. I know people half my age that tell me they could never do what I do... play violin.  

It is largely what we tell ourselves.  I know with certainty that I can play violin.  And that is what I tell myself and it becomes my reality.  

It is absolutely true that if you believe in yourself, you can do whatever you decide you want to do, regardless of age.  

- Pete -

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Kody
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May 12, 2018 - 4:31 pm
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I'm 26 and I let this train of thought bog me down when I was first deciding on whether I was going to try and learn Violin. Thankfully I decided to pursue it anyway and I've surprised myself by learning quicker and better than I thought I could. Even though at times it feels like I'm making painfully slow progress; every week I'm able to play something that I wasn't able to the week before and that keeps me going!

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pchoppin
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@KMrgn that’s what you need to focus on.  Not all you have to learn, but all you have learned. I have the very same challanges.  

- Pete -

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AndrewH
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May 13, 2018 - 3:03 am
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Mostly, I think certain teachers do us a disservice by saying it's impossible to start beyond a certain age.

I started earlier than many people on this forum... I was 16. But I self-taught, not because I wanted to, but because I had given up on finding a teacher after being told repeatedly from ages 12-16 that I was already too old to ever get beyond beginner level. One teacher literally said that anyone who started older than 10 had very little chance of being able to play in even the lowest-level community orchestras.

Interestingly, earlier this year, after becoming the new principal violist in a community orchestra good enough to play Romantic symphonies, I learned that none of the other principal string players started younger than 15 either! (I also noticed last month that the London Symphony Orchestra hired, as a new regular member, a violist who started at 14 with no musical background before that. That's an interesting definition of low-level community orchestra...)

It turned out my parents were contacting the wrong teachers: they only contacted teachers who had students winning competitions or getting into major conservatories.

I've noticed that one of the most common reasons American parents start their kids on violin early, at least in major cities, is that they keep hearing you have to start young. These usually aren't the stereotypical pushy parents trying to live vicariously through their children... many of them simply don't want their children to completely lose the opportunity to learn the violin, and think their children will have missed the bus if they don't start by kindergarten.

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Kody
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May 13, 2018 - 9:26 am
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@AndrewH

I agree it's ridiculous that so many teachers say these kind of things. I just finished my second semester in our local community college orchestra playing the Violin. While there were definitely some challenges I had to work through in regards to the music; I was able to play it at a decent level. I get it that teachers want to have that student they mentor who takes the world by storm; but I wish more of them were focused on just enjoying creating music. 

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JuanFiddler
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This is beyond amazing. A few days ago I was asking myself that very same queation. Am I too old start on violin? At first I felt bad after having seen prodigies play what is considered to be one of the hardest instruments. But then again, you have to see the greatest talents with a different crystal. In my case I see performances to learn and observe. I don't beat myself up thinking "oh man if I had started as a kid, I would be at big stage playing this music." Their road in music and mine are worlds apart yet I am really happy I discovered it no matter how old I am. What works for me is to set daily and weekly goals and always do my best to meet them. Talent is important yet more importantly are persitance and patience. I don't believe I have the raw talent but I know I do have a good ear and the sensibility to feel intensely. What musician do I want to become? I have no idea. All I know is that everyday I learn something about myself and my violin playing. Keep fiddling everyone, this is your time to sound your very best 🎻😊 

There's nothing better than a cold beer and the warm soothing sound of a violin.

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Fiddlerman
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May 17, 2018 - 10:03 am
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There is definitely an advantage to starting at a young age, but it's like everything else in life, you just need to work harder. I wish my parents had spoken Italian, German and Polish on top of French and English while growing up so that I would have had 2 extra languages for free. 🙂
That doesn't mean that I can't learn some new languages now if I put my mind to it. At least I learned Swedish without much effort by moving there when I was 25. 🙂

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

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BillyG
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May 17, 2018 - 2:30 pm
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JuanFiddler said
This is beyond amazing. A few days ago I was asking myself that very same queation. Am I too old start on violin? At first I felt bad after having seen prodigies play what is considered to be one of the hardest instruments. But then again, you have to see the greatest talents with a different crystal. In my case I see performances to learn and observe. I don't beat myself up thinking "oh man if I had started as a kid, I would be at big stage playing this music." Their road in music and mine are worlds apart yet I am really happy I discovered it no matter how old I am. What works for me is to set daily and weekly goals and always do my best to meet them. Talent is important yet more importantly are persitance and patience. I don't believe I have the raw talent but I know I do have a good ear and the sensibility to feel intensely. What musician do I want to become? I have no idea. All I know is that everyday I learn something about myself and my violin playing. Keep fiddling everyone, this is your time to sound your very best 🎻😊   

  Well said, @JuanFiddler hats_off

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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localguitarist
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I'm currently 46 years old and I started taking local guitar lessons in San Jose which has been pretty amazing for me. I don't know if it's true for everyone but it's never too late to pick up a hobby. If you are still kicking and lively, pick something up that you've never done and I guarantee you that you will enjoy it.

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Mimi Aysha
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Agreed - Picked up so many "hobbies" over the years, diverse, always creative. But, due to raising kids and working, there was never the time to fully dedicate myself to an instrument, barely time to sleep.....Played piano a little and guitar, mostly to help the kids with their music lessons, but not to the extent of my violin. 

So at 50-ish here we go!...and it honestly has to be the most fun, I practice because I want to, I obviously want to get better but have no expectations of joining band or orchestras and such, just being able to jam along to some tunes, with or without friends, it's just fun. 

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Fiddlerman
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June 4, 2018 - 11:04 am
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You can learn to play the violin, and probably any instrument at any age. What is difficult, is to stay motivated and to work hard.

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

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MACJR
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June 5, 2018 - 6:23 pm
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I think I posted on this thread before, that I started playing the violin, again, at 54, after a 42 year interruption.

Now I am 56, and getting better at playing the violin, but due to complications, from a neighbor from hell, I stopped playing again for several months. But that neighbor from hell is still acting like a demon let loose here on Earth, and nothing seems to appease him, or cause him to stop his sonic attacks, and venting chemical smells into my apartment, I thought to hell with him/them. So over the last couple months I am back to playing again. And early last month, I bought a classical guitar so I could learn that instrument as well.

Looking back, it was tough getting back into playing the violin. All that I had learned when I was 11 and 12 was pretty much lost, so I had to start over from scratch. After about a year and a half of on-and-off playing, I am starting to get up closer to an intermediate skill level, but I am not there yet.

What surprised me though, is after I bought the guitar, I am picking that up at a very rapid pace. I am pretty sure that learning to play the violin again helped tremendously in learning how to play the guitar so quickly. There are overlapping skill-sets involved.

I did wonder if I was too old to learn the violin again, back when I first started playing again, after a 42 year gap, but I think that as long as a person is still mentally and physically able, and can put the time and effort into it, they can learn to play the violin, or any other instrument, no matter how old you are.

Now that I am playing the violin again, and now learning the guitar, I plan adding two more instruments over the next year or two. I want to buy a viola (been wanting one for some time but went for the guitar first), and then a keyboard.

I am not a great player, and probably never will be, at either the violin or the guitar, but I find joy in playing them. These activities also help keep my mind and body active.

Arthritis can make holding a violin a bit painful at times, but it does not stop me. As long as the pain does not get too great, I will keep on playing the violin.

For playing the guitar, it is back issues rather than wrist issues, but this too is something I can endure.

And now that all that is said, it is time to go start my back to back lessons. First the guitar, then the violin, but I will play both for at least a little while before I call it a day.  😉

MACJR

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