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Anxiety about my first "real" lesson
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MoonShadows
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April 25, 2019 - 8:17 am
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I have my first lesson with a live teacher in two days, and already I am getting nervous! Besides the people in my house who hear me scratching out tunes from the next room for the past 3 months, I have never played for or in front of anyone. And, playing in front of a teacher of her caliber (https://www.meadowoodmusic.com.....enmiller-b), I am starting to feel those butterflies in my chest. How long were you playing before you had your first "live" lesson, and how did you cope with the anxiety...if you had any?

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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GregW
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April 25, 2019 - 8:58 am
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Hey Jim, seems like it was about 2 weeks.  Yeah I was somewhat nervous..felt like what the heck am I doing here.. youll have a blast and it will help.. Another aspect of me starting was that Ive met so many great people just because of going to that 1st lesson...opened a door to other fiddle players/students and such.   Awesome you found a teacher.  Cant wait for some progress vids!

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HP
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April 25, 2019 - 9:07 am
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Anxiety, definitely! The first lesson I almost passed out in the waiting room just because of pure anxiety and I'm not even exaggerating. It got a lot better once I got in though. I think it's common for people to be anxious about their first lesson. I still get anxious after soon to be 6 months of weekly lessons. I cope with the nerves by being early at the place, take a little scroll in the neighborhood while waiting for the lesson time. Breathing techniques helps a lot too. Maybe at a later point look at the work you have for future lessons to visualize what the framework for the lesson will be.  

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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MoonShadows
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April 25, 2019 - 10:29 am
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Thanks @GregW and @HP 

I also posted this on the Facebook group, Adult Starters - Violin/Fiddle, and between here and there I see this is very common. Just knowing the high anxiety level is very common is of help. You know the old "it's just me" syndrome. Well, I see it isn't. 

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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Mimi Aysha
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April 25, 2019 - 10:34 am
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Oh I feel your pain - I was a mess before my first one too - had spend 3-4 months teaching myself how to read music before my first lesson - I was so excited and at the same time terrified, I think because I enjoyed it so much I was really afraid that they would tell me there was no hope for me!

I ended up chatting and telling jokes with a bunch of kids waiting for other music lessons, and that chilled me out, as no one knew I had no idea what I was doing.

I have a giggly english accent (in the US) and must look somewhat confident as most everyone I see while carrying my violin presumes I can play wonderfully - I laugh and insist I am terrible and just learning, but they just say thats what all the great players say...I just thank them, and think if only they really knew!

Maybe just think you wouldn't be there if you knew how to play, you are doing this because you enjoy it and it's meant to be fun too! A good teacher will make you feel comfortable and you will thoroughly enjoy it, good luck, and I hope you have a wonderful lesson.

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MoonShadows
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April 25, 2019 - 10:48 am
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Thanks for those comforting words @Mimi Aysha I tend to be a worrier, even though in some small place in the back of my brain I know everything will turn out OK.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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pchoppin
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April 25, 2019 - 11:28 am
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Hey @MoonShadows 

Don't worry, it is not "just you".

Over the past year plus that I've been playing I have had 4 different violin teachers (due to moves and one retired).  At every one... without exception... I still get nervous.  And every one told me all their students do.

Here are a few tips. 

Practice! This is perhaps the most important tip I can give you.   But make sure you practice what your teacher tells you to work on.  This is part of being prepared.  YOUR lesson will go much better, be more productive, and you will have less anxiety if you have been practicing your material.  Also, your teacher will notice and will compliment you on your progress. This goes a LONG way to helping you feel at ease.

Remember that you are paying to have someone teach you, not necessarily critique you.  If you played perfect violin, clearly you would not need lessons.  Your teacher knows this.  A good teacher will not make you feel you are failing or be judgemental of your abilities.  So go to your lessons with the idea that your teacher is there to help you become a great violin player.

Also, you are not performing so do not feel this is a test or evaluation of what you worked on.  Again, your teacher is aware you have areas you need to work on and her job is to help you with those areas.  The idea is NOT... "here is your assignment, go work on it for a week and we'll see how you do when you come back."  The role of your teacher is to provide guidance and give you methods to improve your playing.  She is not evaluating you on whether you completed your "assignment" or not.  This is a mentality we have learned from school.  When we turn in school homework it is then graded and we are given a score.  This is not how private music lessons work.

Some of my nervousness comes from questions I automatically ask myself... have I practiced enough?  Will my teacher be pleased/accepting of me?  If I keep making the same mistake will my teacher think I cannot overcome it?  Am I a good student?  All these questions are irrelevant because it is not my teacher that I need to impress. I am learning a difficult instrument which takes time and dedication.  And none of those questions will help me play better, nor will they help my teacher help me.  

Mistakes are good!  Do not be afraid of them.  The place to make mistakes is during practice and your lessons.  Your teacher needs to know what areas you need to work on.  She needs you to play and try and make mistakes.  Then she can be much more help to you.  When you play a piece perfectly, she has no advise to give you.  But the mistakes will tell her exactly how to help you.

Try not to worry too much.  You are about to see your playing skill skyrocket compared to the three months you have been self-teaching!  Not that there is anything wrong with being self-taught.  It just moves faster when you have a teacher.

Hope this helps!

- Pete -

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MoonShadows
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April 25, 2019 - 2:22 pm
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Thanks @pchoppin for all that insight. It is very helpful. Yes, I can see how my skills will skyrocket having someone who knows how to play the fiddle watch and show me the best/correct ways rather than me trying to figure it out on my own.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 25, 2019 - 6:07 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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MoonShadows said
I have my first lesson with a live teacher in two days, and already I am getting nervous! Besides the people in my house who hear me scratching out tunes from the next room for the past 3 months, I have never played for or in front of anyone. And, playing in front of a teacher of her caliber (https://www.meadowoodmusic.com.....enmiller-b), I am starting to feel those butterflies in my chest. How long were you playing before you had your first "live" lesson, and how did you cope with the anxiety...if you had any?  

Don't be nervous. Your teacher has no expectations except to get you to improve. 🙂

As a matter of a fact, don't play too good so that you can show more improvement. 😉

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

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Bob
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April 25, 2019 - 6:31 pm
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"As a matter of a fact, don't play too good so that you can show more improvement"

Oh, ahhh yeah, that's was my strategy too snake1

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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MoonShadows
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April 25, 2019 - 8:47 pm
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Fiddlerman said

As a matter of a fact, don't play too good so that you can show more improvement. 😉  

Bob said
Oh, ahhh yeah, that's was my strategy too snake1  

You guys crack me up! roflol

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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HP
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April 28, 2019 - 9:18 am
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I assume you've had your lesson by now. How did it go? amuse

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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MoonShadows
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April 28, 2019 - 12:46 pm
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It was marvelous @HP Thanks for asking. It went better than I could have imagined it would, and I felt so energized at the end of the lesson. I think I am really going to like and learn a lot from this teacher.

Rather than repeat it all here, I wrote about it in my blog this morning. https://fiddlingforolderfolks......y-teacher/

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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pchoppin
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April 28, 2019 - 1:29 pm
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@MoonShadows

Off topic...

I just noticed one of the related articles on your blog at the bottom of the page is "Pa Fiddle: Charles Ingalls - American Fiddler obviously referring to the character in Little House on the Prairie.

So I looked it up.  Michael Landon who played Charles Ingalls never played the fiddle in the TV show.  He clearly did not know how to play the violin.  Many scenes showing him "playing", his bow never touched the strings. 

And to think all these years I thought Michael Landon played the fiddle... LOL!

Anyway, I am so glad your lesson went well! 60+ miles to get to your lesson?  There is a teacher I know who is excellent here where I live but I decided not to take her lessons because of the drive.  Maybe I should reconsider.

- Pete -

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MoonShadows
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April 28, 2019 - 2:49 pm
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I never realized that @pchoppin about Michael Landon. Guess I never looked that closely, and I have seen all the Little House shows. Yup, 60 miles one way is a lot for me (when a large amount of it is not highway driving), but sometimes we have to go out of our way to get something that is really worth it. Perhaps you should reconsider. Someone on the Facebook group (Adult Starters - Violin/Fiddle) told me her teacher related a story that she used to drive 6 hours once a month for a 3 hour lesson with a teacher because she valued the teacher so much.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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GregW
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April 28, 2019 - 3:09 pm
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Good time of year for a drive through Pa country side I would think.  And excellent time to listen to some fiddle tunes. thumbs-up

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Fiddlerman
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April 28, 2019 - 3:58 pm
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MoonShadows said
It was marvelous @HP Thanks for asking. It went better than I could have imagined it would, and I felt so energized at the end of the lesson. I think I am really going to like and learn a lot from this teacher.

Rather than repeat it all here, I wrote about it in my blog this morning. https://fiddlingforolderfolks......y-teacher/

You are VERY welcome to report it here. banana

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

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MoonShadows
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April 28, 2019 - 5:10 pm
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GregW said
Good time of year for a drive through Pa country side I would think.  And excellent time to listen to some fiddle tunes. thumbs-up

  

Yes it was! With Spring here and everything blooming, it was a beautiful ride, and I listened to 3 different fiddle CDs to boot. 

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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MoonShadows
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April 28, 2019 - 5:11 pm
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Fiddlerman said

MoonShadows said

It was marvelous @HP Thanks for asking. It went better than I could have imagined it would, and I felt so energized at the end of the lesson. I think I am really going to like and learn a lot from this teacher.

Rather than repeat it all here, I wrote about it in my blog this morning. https://fiddlingforolderfolks......y-teacher/

You are VERY welcome to report it here. banana

  

Thanks @Fiddlerman 

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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