FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are some frequently asked questions I get from a lot of students.

I'm an adult and I would like to consider taking violin.  I heard that you have to start by the age of 5 in order to do well.  Am I too late?

If you are interested and inspired to learn the violin and music, there is never an age that is too old.  While there are many indicators that children learn faster than adults, this is somewhat a false-positive result.  Children seem to learn faster because they are in learning environments most of the hours of the day.  When any given person is in a situation where their "job" is to learn, then any person seems to learn quickly.

 

The truth is that adults learn faster and more thoroughly with skill sets than children do because we've had more experience learning how to learn.  Where the perception that children learn faster is through repetition.  As adults, we usually think that when we complete a skill a few times or a concept inheritantly makes sense, we tend to call it day thinking that we've mastered the skill.  Like most skills, violin and music making is subconscious activity, which means that it takes a long time to become second nature.

 

Imagine an adult learning to walk all over again.  It can take months to get one leg in front of the other.  Learning the violin is just the same.  It takes patience, persistence, and a lot of practice.  The other disadvantage that adults have compared to children is that we don't have a coach (aka parents) encouraging us to practice.  It's very easy to distract ourselves with other preoccupying or less intense activities when it comes to practicing.  The bills, the laundry, even going to the gym.  We can even 

 

 

We'd like our child to have a rewarding and fun experience music and violin.  Is this something that your studio can accomplish?

Learning the violin can be fun, of course!  There are a couple of caveats however.  Because private lessons are a classroom of one, each lesson is catered to each student.  Learning music is a great way to enhance a student's knowledge of the learning process as well as music itself.  The fun part with private lessons comes with the sense of accomplishment put in by diligent and consistent efforts.  There are four basic categories of enthusiasm for private lessons I have observed over the years based on practice and study of the violin:

 

1.   Mild - 2 hours per week or less

2.  Moderate - 2 to 4 hours per week

3.  Strong - 4 to 6 hours per week

4.  Serious - over 6 hours per week

 

In general, if you are considering weekly private lessons for yourself or your child but are really not looking or in a position to practice at least 2 hours per week outside the lesson, then private lessons may not be your best option.  There are some great group classes and community groups in Evanston and North Shore areas that can allow students of all ages and skills to participate, most of which can be found by a simple Google or Yahoo search.

 

One of the key concepts in learning the violin is learning how to discipline oneself to create consistent and postive impacting habits.  There will be times when practicing will be very difficult, whether you be the student or the parent.  However, by using music to instill these positive habits, many of these skills themselves carry over and serve in other areas such as homework and other preparation activities.

 

 

Practicing?  Really?

Oh, you betcha!  For as long as music has been performed, musicians of all types have been looking for the best and easiest way to perform their insturment.  This not only makes the process less painful in the long-run, but also makes sure that we know what we're doing!  We've been able to gain insight into biomechanics, physics of the instrument, and even use recording equipment for self-evaluation.  All these tools have helped us to gain valuable insight into what makes playing the instrument possible, and while it has made things easier, the one time-tested method that none of us can get away from is consistent and thoughtful practicing.  The benefit of practice is that it uses the same areas of the brain as learning to walk or ride a bike.  Once you learn how to do it, years can go by, but the skills that are learned will still be there.

 

The only other thing that is as important as practicing is inspiration.  Whatever keeps you inspired in music, hold onto it!  It will see you through the tough times and into the great ones!

 

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Copyright © 2012 Matthew Cataldi.  No trees were cut down in the making of this site.