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How To Learn The Violin As An Adult

In this post, we will delve into the unique journey of adult learners aspiring to play the violin or fiddle.

Drawing from the rich experience of teaching hundreds of students, including many who began in their 60s, this guide is tailored to address the distinct challenges and advantages adult learners face.

Remember, it's never too late to start, and with the right approach, your musical journey can be both rewarding and enjoyable. 

man playing violin with a teacher

The Importance of a Teacher in Learning Violin

Can You Learn Alone?

One of the most common questions we encounter is whether it's feasible to learn the violin without a teacher.

While self-learning is an option, especially with the wealth of resources available today, having a teacher significantly enhances your chances of success. A teacher provides structure, ensures you're learning proper techniques from the start, and helps you avoid long-term frustrations.

However, if circumstances don't allow for a teacher, don't be discouraged. Self-learning is still a viable path, and resources like our specialized videos can guide you through the process.

Key Strategies for Success

1. Consistency is Crucial

Consistency is the backbone of mastering any skill, and violin playing is no exception. Regular practice, even if it doesn't involve climbing a mountain each day, ensures steady progress. Aim for four to five practice sessions per week.

On days you feel less motivated, just start with warm-ups or scales. Often, getting started is the hardest part, and once you begin, you'll find yourself engaged in meaningful practice.

Overcoming Practice Hesitation

  • Start with Warm-ups: Tell yourself you'll only do the basics. More often than not, this leads to a full practice session.
  • Keep Your Instrument Accessible: An out-of-sight instrument is out-of-mind. Keep it visible and ready to play to encourage spontaneous practice sessions.

2. Begin with Proper Technique

woman playing violin

Starting with proper technique is non-negotiable. Poor technique not only leads to a frustrating learning curve but can also result in the need to unlearn and relearn, which is a painstaking process.

Focus Areas:

  • Bow Hold: Ensure your pinky and thumb are correctly positioned and not locked. Check out this article for more information on how to hold a bow properly.
  • Left Hand Posture: Avoid a collapsed wrist and ensure your wrist is naturally straight.
  • Finger Efficiency: Practice efficient finger movements. For instance, when playing a sequence of notes, keep your fingers down instead of lifting them unnecessarily.

3. Embrace Scales

Scales are the foundation of violin playing. They help in finger positioning, ear training, and overall familiarity with the instrument. Remember, every great violinist has spent countless hours perfecting their scales.

Adult Learners: Specific Considerations

Physical Aspects

man playing violin

As an adult, you might face more physical challenges compared to younger learners. Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are not as flexible, which might lead to some discomfort or slower finger movements.

Coping Strategies:

  • Expect Physical Challenges: Knowing this upfront helps manage expectations and reduces frustration.
  • Warm-Up Thoroughly: Always start your practice with a warm-up session to prepare your muscles and mind.

Self-Motivation and Responsibility

As an adult, the responsibility for progress lies solely on you. There are no parents or teachers to push you, so self-motivation becomes crucial.

Tips for Staying on Track:

  • Keep Your Instrument in Sight: Out of sight, out of mind. Keep your violin where you can see it.
  • Establish a Routine: Schedule your practice time and stick to it. Treat it like any other important appointment.

Leveraging Your Adult Advantages

While there are challenges, adult learners also have unique advantages. Your life experience and intellectual capacity allow for more intentional and structured practice.

Use this to your advantage by setting clear goals for each practice session and focusing on mindful, deliberate practice.

So, is it hard for adults to learn violin?

Embarking on the journey of learning the violin as an adult is a brave and rewarding endeavor. By understanding the specific challenges and leveraging your unique strengths, you can make significant strides in your musical journey.

Remember, at Kennedy Violins, we're not just here to sell instruments; we're here to be a part of your musical journey, every step of the way. Whether you have questions, need guidance, or simply want to share your progress, we're here for you. Keep practicing, stay consistent, and most importantly, enjoy the beautiful journey of making music.