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Thread: Learning a string instrument

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    Default Learning a string instrument

    I've been thinking about learning to play a string instrument, but I'd like to know if there's any use for me to do it as I'm already 23 yrs old. I remember hearing those 'myths' that you can't learn to play for example a violin very well if you don't start at a very young age. So, now I'm asking is it possible to learn string instruments properly at my age, or should I forget about it?

    I've considered buying either a violin, viola, or a cello. To me cello sounds easiest as it's the largest, and the playing position doesn't seem as difficult as with the violin or the viola. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    crimson

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    It's a myth about age. Problem is setting aside time to practice. Adults have different learning strategies than children, they're less dependent and can examine their own practice schedules and methods. Some supervision is still needed because you can get into some awful habits that inhibit your development and tone.

    I don't play the cello - had a go. The vibrato is easier but it does make your right arm ache at first!


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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    The cello is really hard for me to play, but anyway, didn't Lionel Tertis start playing violin rather late as compared to people like Menuhin or Heifetz? I think 13 or something? Started viola later. And he became the world's most famous violist at the time, and probably is the best of all time.

    That just shows that starting late means nothing if you have a determination to match.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    The cello is really hard for me to play, but anyway, didn't Lionel Tertis start playing violin rather late as compared to people like Menuhin or Heifetz? I think 13 or something? Started viola later. And he became the world's most famous violist at the time, and probably is the best of all time.

    That just shows that starting late means nothing if you have a determination to match.
    Hmm, if 13 to learn a stringed instrument is "starting late", then 32 would be "starting to rot".

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    Iv'e Have Music teacher's tell me "Oh, your too old to learn an Instrument." My Current Violin Instructor told me that, now I'm one of his best students. But I didi teach myself Guitar.

    He told me that when I was 14, I'm 17 now...

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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    didn't Lionel Tertis start playing violin rather late as compared to people like Menuhin or Heifetz? I think 13 or something? Started viola later.
    So, even bad violinists can triumph with the viola. ( ; I'm sorry for the musical preset jokes).

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    It is my opinion that while it is best to start learning an instrument at an early age, one should never be considered "too old" to start if one really has the desire to learn. If you don't start now, in a few years you will wish you had, because you will be that much ahead, and enjoying it, if you start now.

    And even if you only learn a little, you will appreciate and enjoy listening to music more. I'm 28, and just started learning the violin 1 month ago, and am thoroughly enjoying it and making daily progress at it. The key is a desire to learn and play, willingness to practice and persist through the difficult stages.

    Don't let other people's comments or opinions of your age influence your decision. There is no universal rule or age limit for learning new things. Ability and potential is individual. Also, at a later age, you may have the ability to comprehend more complex principles of music theory better than young children can.

    Good luck.

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    I also would like to add a string instrument to my list of instruments but yes, it can be difficult at an older age. I am 24 and I guess that isn't bad at all to learn something new especially since I am still very much in tune with my inner child!
    A tad too passionate of a young man...

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    The real crux is this: Don't expect to become a professional soloist starting at 23. But you will get enjoyment from playing with others and in orchestras (amateur or even professional if you have a nack and get an audition).
    It's never too late to start as long as you set yourself reasonable goals.
    If you havn't started to learn yet, you might consider the viola since it is always a sought after instrument in ensemble playing but high demands are never made of the amateur player.
    You'll also find it easier to get into orchestras because there will be less competition.
    FC

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    Senior Member nickgray's Avatar
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    Never too late. Bruckner, for example, started to write his symphonies in his forties, unlike many other "child prodigies". I'm fairly sure that you can find more examples like this one. Just start playing and learning.
    Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

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    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    I didn't start violin until age 30. Cello followed a few years later. The cello was easier but both certainly require commitment and schedules that involve some thought. I just could not afford it as well. The lessons were expensive and i have a family to pay for LOL
    So the violin lasted less than a year and the cello less than that as well. But i learned A LOT about both and it has helped me to discern many things in reading scores and listening to recordings,concerts,etc.

    It is NEVER too late to learn an instrument. My piano teacher had students in their 80's.

    Jim

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by handlebar View Post
    I didn't start violin until age 30.

    It is NEVER too late to learn an instrument. My piano teacher had students in their 80's.

    Jim
    That makes me feel great! Thanks Jim at least I have something to think about every time some negative person says that I will never learn to play the piano with ease.
    A tad too passionate of a young man...

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    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    I know of a local man that started the cello at age 45. He now,at age 50,plays in string trios,piano trios and the local Symphony.And his only previous education with an instrument was a little guitar as a kid. So i always try to remember that fine man and his example.
    Be positive.

    Jim

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    Just put in the time say you are 23 and just starting. You will have thirty years of it by 53 and should be very accomplished.

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    I just want to thank you, Jim, for your encouraging posts! Although I've been playing music for most of my life (piano, other percussion instruments, hammered dulcimer, and just a bit of banjo and guitar) I am pretty sure that there's a cello in the cardboard box in the closet in our basement. (I think my husband has ordered one for me for Christmas!!!) I'm so excited to learn this beautiful instrument. Let's hope it's not an appliance or something else instead--LOL.

    At age 50, I know I'll never be YoYo Ma, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to play at church and in a few ensembles.

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