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I have been playing the violin for a few years now, but I've moved to a college where I'm not able to pursue the violin with an instructor like before.

I've never played independently, and I'd like to keep in touch with my instrument. What exercises should I do so that my fingers don't "fall asleep"? And what suggestions do you have to retain my edge?

Thank you for your answers!

  • Depending on the distances involved, you might consider a monthly trip home for a lesson. I've known student-musicians who went that route. – Carl Witthoft Mar 3 '17 at 13:10
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Most colleges have musical groups - orchestras, bands, folk groups etc. - so if you can find one of those to join then you would have a framework for playing and practising regularly. If the college has a music department then that is the first place that I would enquire.

If the college does not have these there may be other groups in the surrounding area that you could approach.

If you really can't get anywhere with anything like that then you need to organize something so that you play regularly. There are many options such as finding some other players and making a string quartet (which is what I did when I was at university) or just disciplining yourself to play for half an hour four times a week.

Regarding what you would play - it depends on your ability really. Have you taken any exams? If you had, for example, taken grade 6 then the pieces for grade 7 would seem to be appropriate. If not then you will have to decide for yourself. However I will state the obvious thing which is that if you do not play anything then your ability will deteriorate faster than if you do play something.

  • I want to add on to this answer: If there isn't a local group in your area that you're aware of, attempt creating your own. You'd be surprised who would be interested in joining in for something that's "relatively low-key" like after-work community ensembles. There are a lot of people who love music and can play an instrument, but in their daily lives find no avenue to. Even if your cast net catches 3 people, that's enough for a quartet ;) – psosuna Oct 4 '17 at 16:14
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After 'a few years' you should be ready to be a useful member of all kinds of musical ensemble. Get out there and play! Keep up your daily practice of scales, etudes etc. as well of course.

  • That's rather inaccurate. Whether or not he's capable of playing at a certain level, if he is asking about a course of study, he's clearly not ready to maintain skills on his own. – Carl Witthoft Mar 3 '17 at 13:09
  • He wasn't asking about a course of study, but about how to maintain the skills he already has. Not that we should take the terms of a question TOO literally. A perfectly formulated question often contains its own answer. We must sometimes do a questioner the favour of broadening his terms of reference a little. Now mark me up again! – Laurence Payne Mar 3 '17 at 14:38
  • I stand by my position that a person who doesn't know what sort of etudes and technical exercises matter is not ready to progress on his own. – Carl Witthoft Mar 3 '17 at 14:40
  • @CarlWitthoft judging from the OP's name (we don't have any more information) she could be from a culture where teaching methods and student-teacher (or student-guru) relationships are very different from Western culture - i.e. the student's role is to do exactly what they are told to do, not to think for themselves. – user19146 Mar 4 '17 at 5:11
  • OK. So do exactly what I told you to! Why all this over-thinking? This isn't maths, where (maybe) we can converge on the One True Answer. It's music, art, the ultimate open-ended activity! There are no right answers, only exploration. Enjoy! – Laurence Payne Mar 4 '17 at 14:18

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