Starting the Violin as an Adult Beginner: What to Expect
What is it like to learn the violin, viola, cello or double bass as an adult beginner? It can feel a little bit like going back to primary school or kindy, but if you can push through, the rewards will be endless!
Learning the violin is similar to learning a brand new language. When learning a language, you start with small building blocks (alphabet, numbers and very small words) and the same with violin (notes, rhythm and very small tunes). We recommend finding a teacher so you can have personalised assistance available to you on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Although there are a lot of great resources available online, we find different students can develop different issues with holding the instrument, positioning of your bow or fingers, etc, and these issues are easily avoided with a teacher overlooking your progress. A teacher will also work closely with you to find repertoire you want to play and encourage great practice habits so you conquer the goal piece you've always wanted to learn!
When searching for a teacher, don't be afraid to meet with a few teachers and have some trial lessons first. A good violin, viola, cello or double bass teacher will have expertise in playing the instrument and teaching the instrument. A younger teacher may not have as much experience as an elite performer, but a teacher who has majored in education may have more pedagogy training. These can all be great teachers, but having a trial lesson will help you find someone you trust and know you can work with to achieve your goals. Have a conversation with your potential teachers about their teaching philosophy and style, your goals and learning style and schedule. Trust your gut reaction - ultimately this teacher is for you, so go with your instinct.
When learning as an adult, it can be easier to become frustrated with your progress. In your lessons, and at home, don't be discouraged by mistakes. It can be easy to feel a bit embarrassed, but embrace your mistakes, squeaks and all, as it's all a part of your musical journey. Keep the reason you started learning at the front of your mind. Learning the violin, viola, cello or double bass requires a lot of patience, practice and physical repetition, so keep your motivation, passion or goal piece in mind and enjoy the journey. Keep listening to the repertoire that inspired you to learn and never be afraid to just give it a go during a practice session. Some passages of a piece will be easier to learn than others and your teacher can definitely help you achieve those easier passages quicker. A good teacher will understand your journey and work with you to accomplish the goal piece.
Our Professional Set Up | Simply for Strings
Some adult beginners are surprised by the number of muscles used during a practice session. Build up your stamina slowly, and be sure to check in with your teacher if you're experiencing any physical discomfort after a long practice session. We recommend starting with short sessions (try 15-20 minutes and then a break) before slowly building up. Taking frequent breaks during practice will actually help you stay focused and comfortable. Your teacher will give you specific exercises and studies to work on as you begin your musical journey, and it's important to practice these as often as possible. If you want to achieve your goal piece down the track, you will need to practice daily and repeat your exercises a surprising number of times. It's not uncommon to finally "master" an exercise and then practice it a thousand more times!
Sometimes finding the motivation to push through can be a little tough. We often hear adult beginners are frustrated with their tone or technique, or how much practice is required at each stage of learning. If you find yourself lacking the motivation to continue lessons, try joining a community ensemble or orchestra first. There are lots of adult beginner ensemble groups around the world that are made up of learners just like you. It's always fun to create music with others, and it can really motivate you to keep playing.
At Simply for Strings, our team consists entirely of professional musicians, performers and teachers who are here to assist you in this exciting journey. Purchasing your first instrument can be daunting, but we're here to make it fun and relaxed. Our customers are invited to spend as much time as they need in order to make the right choice. You don’t need to book an appointment to visit us at Simply for Strings - every day we have string experts in-store to answer all of your questions or demonstrate an instrument. When it comes to all the extras you'll need, like shoulder rests, rockstops and methods, we’ve got everything under the one roof so you won’t need to make multiple stops. If you're shopping online, your violin won't arrive in pieces needing set up - we'll have one of our musician team members play through all the instruments on the shelf to select the best one available for you. All of our instruments are expertly wrapped before being placed carefully in the hands of a courier.
Plan your visit to Simply for Strings today.
If you already have an instrument from a relative or family friend, our on-site, professional luthiers can assess the instrument and advise you as what may need doing to get it ready for lessons. More often than not, the strings, bridge and soundpost will need refreshing in order for you to have the best playing experience possible.
If you have time before your visit, take some time to look through our instruments online. If you have a rough idea of what instruments you'd like to hear played and how much you would like to spend, it can help you feel less overwhelmed.
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If you're a brand new player, our team are available to help select an instrument that not only meets your performance and practice needs but is professionally set up and customised to ensure maximum comfort and ease. Learn more about our professional set up here. A good instrument is vital to you beginning (and continuing) your musical journey - without a well-functioning, good-sounding instrument, practice can become increasingly difficult. We offer a great range of instruments to suit your needs and budget, but if you're not 100% sure you're ready to commit, we also have a range of rental instruments available.
Learn more about our rental program here (and we can ship them to you!)
We hope you've found these tips useful as you start your musical journey. To us, it is our firm belief that creativity lives in all of us. You're never too old to start learning a musical instrument. We encourage any reader who is thinking about learning to jump in and start as soon as possible!