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Thread: Likely getting ahead of myself

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    Junior Member WalterJ's Avatar
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    Default Likely getting ahead of myself

    I was wondering how outrageous a goal is it for an old guitarist who has not yet started learning the Violin to want to play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major. Should I set my sights lower or is that realistic (I'm pushing 50 by the way)?

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    It very much depends on you; in particular i) how much time you can give to practice in a day; ii) how self-critical you are; iii) how much and the quality of tuition you could afford.

    Adults tend to have different learning strategies than children and what they might think they lose in age they make up for in initiative, perception, self-appraisal and above all, motive.

    Unfortunately, the violin takes a great deal of work up front. As you know, its fingerboard has no frets so intonation is one of them. There's something in the addage that a violinist never plays the same note twice! But it's also about stance, balance, holding the instrument and correct bowing. Hence the worth of a good teacher at least at the very beginning. If you develop bad bowing or holding the instrument awkwardly you'll be held back technically well before you attempt concerti. DVDs and online tuition exist but it's worth having someone there to watch you and sort problems out.

    But even with good tuition it is a hard slog. It needs great patience. With two hours practice per day 6 days a week you'd probably be up to grade 8 in 5 or 6 years. Daily practice is a must. Half an hour a day is worth miles more than 3.5 hours once a week.

    The upside is, of course, that you'll get a great deal of enjoyment from playing. If you take to it, it's satisfying to say the least so don't worry too much about concerti.

    Don't let age put you off. I occasionally meet with others in a quartet (no great ambitions but great fun) and the viola player started at something like 55. He's about grade 6 and aiming for grade 8 and I know he isn't alone.

    good luck.

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    Junior Member WalterJ's Avatar
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    Thank You

    Your post actually gave me a lot to think about as it applies to learning the Violin.

    I do love to listen to the instrument but I do not have the time to dedicate 2 hours per day 6 days a week. And to be honest, as I think about it, I am not sure I have more that 30 minutes 5 to 7 days a week.

    I have been pushing so hard to get my wife to agree to allow me to learn the violin that I never stopped to think about the reality of it when it comes to practice.

    I may be better off, as my wife and her friend who is a Cello player for a local symphony continues to say, sticking to what I know and taking that 30 minutes a day and applying it to the Guitar to get to something beyond mediocre.

    You may have just made my wife very happy for Christmas.

    I need to think about this a bit more.

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    Hi WalterJ,

    Whatever you do - LISTEN to more violin if you like it so much. I have gradually grown to REALLY REALLY like it and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE listening to different pieces with violin and comparing the sound and the instrument as well as the spirit of the performers. I guess there is no harm in discovering more violin music and buying more CDs.

    I also understand your temptation to try that yourself. I considered something like that with the piano, because I recently discovered that I also like the piano a lot. And you know what? I just watched a couple of tutorials on YouTube just to get a general idea how people learn to play - just out of curiosity. I also glanced over a huge book about the techniques of playing the piano. I find reading books about music very interesting and highly enjoyable, just an addition to listening - something like a larger version of a booklet that you get with a CD.

    Consider that violins are also expensive and indeed not that easy to learn. Perhaps you would also enjoy learning to play some other instrument if you want to go beyond the guitar. I recently considered having some fun with a cheap recorder (the small whistle-like instrument - something like a less complicated version of a flute):





    You may play insteresting things, get into reading notes and stuff - but still keep it inexpensive and just plain fun.

    I wonder what other instruments could be recommened as inexpensive to buy and easy to learn to provide quick results at minimum effort...
    Last edited by Ciel_Rouge; Dec-09-2008 at 05:46.

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    Junior Member WalterJ's Avatar
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    Thank You

    I am still thinking about this but I did do some looking at Recorders, based on your post, and I did not realize that there were 2 different basic types Baroque and German.

    Just out of curiosity which is more common Baroque or German?
    Which would be better to start with? I also have a young daughter that absolutely loves music and is about to start piano lessons and she owns about 3 or 4 plastic (toy) recorders and loves to play them and I was thinking of getting her started with a better one soon regardless of what I decide to do.

    I did discover that the difference in appearance comes down to hole 4 and hole 5 and that the fingering was different.

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    I suppose in Europe the German fingering is more common - this is the kind of fingering that my instrument had when I was playing it at school. And now I am considering coming back to that instrument or rather "fooling around" with it a little bit to get more familiar with the physics and acoustics behind woodwind instruments etc. and discover some new pieces while searching for notes and enjoy music even more. Maybe I will read some books about the recorder or woodwinds in general.

    The recorder is not really a "child's instrument", it has a very rich history and can be played at a very advanced level as well. I suppose you already read that:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recorder

    I also came across a very interesting notion that organ pipes resemble a large-scale version of a recorder - I guess it is even visible.

    You could also try finding some performances on YouTube, there might be loads of them.

    As for your daugther, I think one nice thing you could do would be adding a real recorder made of wood to her collection. Wood sounds slightly different than plastic or metal when blown into and feels more "professional" while still being relatively cheap. You could also go with other ranges than the soprano but these tend to get significantly more expensive than a soprano recorder.

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    Junior Member WalterJ's Avatar
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    Thank You, I read the information on the link that you provided and I am intrigued by it all. Intrigued enough to go out and buy a recorder after work this afternoon for myself.

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