5

I am sorry if this question is too opinionated. I have thought about it and feel that an answer could provide terms and concepts that could enable people wanting to learn the violin, to go into it on strong foundations.

The truth is, I have just booked my first violin lesson for next week. I played the piano for 17 minutes in school once.....


EDIT:

For clarity, I played the piano for a year. Although compared to my life of 26 years, it was 17 minutes.


....and know a bit/enough of theory (even though Time Sigs still trip me up) but that is it. After reading some online, I am beginning to think I may have perhaps, bitten off more than I will be able to chew.

There is so much hype and difference in whether the violin is advanced or not. I was hoping an answer here would give me a definitive answer.

This S.E question here is useful, but it is a specific problem. Personally, I couldn't see how you could ever expect to learn something without some form of a professional teacher but hey, that is not my question. The question was well received.

When researching initially on Google, I have found a good webpage which gives tips for beginners who are thinking about pursuing the stringed masterpiece. It does not really explain anything technically but it was a good starting block. It states:

You won't sound like the violins in movie soundtracks for some time

I totally understand this. It is like anything. When you learn the piano; Beethoven inside of you will take a while to shine through.

However, it does mention that your violin will sound noisy and scratchy to start with.

  • Is this down to your 'bow technique'? How you are holding it, or is there something else that causes this?

  • One article said that adults learn faster than children, as Adults are stronger. I can not see what this would have to do with it? Are they not particularly heavy instruments are they?

  • I am guessing (as I say, I haven't even started yet) that one's wrist will need to be worked on? What exercises are available that can help with this?

Aside from the technical

Perhaps, it is the theory behind it. Working out what note is what that is the most challenging. Is that right?

Articles online suggest that the French Horn, the Bagpipes and the Harp are harder; this is all opinion. Back to my original question: Is the violin really something that shouldn't be entered lightly?

There is also the care that a violin requires. This is not a problem. I have read about this, and have no doubts or questions regarding looking after it.

I have no doubt, providing the lesson goes well, I will most likely go out and buy one. An online article suggests that a beginner should start by:

  • Scales (obviously)
  • Bowing a single string
  • Bowing two strings (double stop)

I feel like, or rather, it sounds like the above will take me weeks to master? Even the basics of scales. Is that right?

I am most grateful for any help.

  • When I started the violin in second grade (so adjust the durations accordingly), my teacher had me play only pizzicato (plucking strings, no bow) for three months. – OldBunny2800 Jan 5 '18 at 2:33
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    It will take a lifetime to master bowing a single string, but you can be competent enough to be playing notes and even short pieces in a few weeks to a few months. I think all beginners should start with at last one song or piece that is not hugely difficult and that they enjoy listening to. As they work on the piece, they will slowly start to hear it take shape and having the music they love coming from their own hands is usually the best motivation to work on scales and techniques and all the “boring” stuff. – Todd Wilcox Jan 5 '18 at 3:55
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    I used to be a percussionist, with "17 minutes" invested, like you. I have started playing saxophone in my twenties as well and was terrified before my first lesson and for the first few days. Loving an instrument is important. If you are prepared to dedicate yourself to it - do so. Only you can make an informed decision, and only after you've spent at least a few months of practice sessions 2 times a day (~60 minutes cumulatively each day, morning and evening). – Pyromonk Jan 5 '18 at 11:10
  • it's LOUD ! and right in your ear. – Fattie Jan 5 '18 at 12:03
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    I just want to point out that I knew exactly what you meant by "17 minutes". – Todd Wilcox Jan 5 '18 at 22:33

12 Answers 12

19

It certainly takes most people quite a long time to achieve the kind of fine bow control that's required to make a smooth sound. It's not straightforward at all - you've got to dig in enough at the start to make the sound full, but not so much that you start each note with a scraping sound; you've then got to master the complex balance of bow speed and pressure that will keep the note under control (this is where 'being stronger' may help). You might get the idea within weeks - but it takes most people years to get good.

The left hand is not that easy either - tiny differences in finger position make a big difference to the note intonation, so it takes a while to internalize where each note is and master the art of making fine adjustments (all while keeping that tricky bow under control!). So as Stallmp says - quite a steep learning curve.

There can also be a potential motivational problem in that while you can play complete pieces on your own on the guitar or piano, with violin you'll usually need to find others to play with to actually make satisfying-sounding music. If the idea of joining an orchestra or other ensemble excites you, no problem there. (Todd's excellent answer has more to say on the subject of motivation!)

  • 3
    @davvv the margins are certainly small, and with bowing, the difficulty is that you have to control it in 3 dimensions. I imagine people vary a lot in how fast they learn, but takelessons.com/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-learn-violin-z08 agrees that it could take 3-4 years to get good - I don't think I'm being dramatic! – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 4 '18 at 23:58
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    The part about satisfying sounding is just opinion... in my opinion. There is plenty of solo literature for violin. – Nobody Jan 5 '18 at 12:38
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    @topomorto Right, okay, if that's a phrase... steep certainly does sound like more work ha! – smcs Jan 5 '18 at 14:58
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    @topomorto Does the comparison matter when there is much more than you are realistically ever going to learn? – Nobody Jan 5 '18 at 18:09
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    I've always had fun with my monophonic instruments... but I have to admit there may be a few people who give up recorder playing before they reach a level where they have much choice of interesting literature. :) – Nobody Jan 5 '18 at 19:22
12

While different instruments all have different types of challenges, and there’s some reason to assess some instruments as being objectively harder than others, I think worrying about that is not at all helpful.

I have spent at least a little time learning the basics of several instruments, including piano, guitar, bass, drums, harmonica, trumpet, trombone, recorder, violin, cello, and clarinet. Personally I found the trumpet impossible because the required amount of breath and the necessary embouchure is very difficult for my particular mouth and lungs. I could play a major scale on the clarinet in a few weeks, by comparison.

Based on my experience, I suggest that beyond the necessary physical capability, there is only one parameter that determines the “difficulty” and success or failure to learn an instrument:

Love

If you love it, you will learn it. If you hate it, you won’t. If you’re somewhere in between, you might muddle on it for several years and never really get to a point of competence.

If you love it, it won’t matter one bit whether it takes you ten months or ten years before you can play your favorite passage on the violin. You’ll get there and you’ll enjoy the process and the hardships along the way.

Note that even if you love it, it will most likely take five to ten years to achieve semi-pro competence on any of the major instruments. I’ve taught a young man with perfect pitch to play better than I in some ways in about three years, and I know another young man who literally would sleep with his guitar and play it instead of doing anything else besides schoolwork. He became an amazing guitarist in “only” five years. The harmonica (and I’m sure many other simpler instruments) can be learned in a shorter time - after only one or two years I was playing Led Zeppelin harmonica parts (e.g., “Bring It On Home” and “When The Levee Breaks”).

If you love violin music, then you have a good chance that you’ll love playing it. Rent or borrow one for a month or so. If you can’t imagine not having one of your own, buy one and keep at it. If you find you are reluctant to pick it up and play it, no matter how badly, maybe it’s not for you.

One piece of advice I would give to anyone looking to learn an instrument: don’t practice, play. Play as in have fun with the instrument. Make funny noises. Invent your own tunes. Start to slowly attempt your most favorite pieces, no matter how challenging. Don’t be convinced you have to spend hours and hours playing random scales or exercises. Ideally you would mix more “serious” practice with fun play, just make sure you allow yourself to have as much fun as necessary to keep at it. After all, if you’re not doing it for fun, why are you doing it at all?

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    The advice about "love" is true. Any instrument is going to take a lot of practice to get good at, and it won't always be fun. The devotion that is born of love makes it easier (or perhaps even possible) to bear the burden of all that practice so that you get to the point where your playing is pleasing to yourself. At that point, motivation gets easier because you can always punctuate your scales and exercises with pleasing music. But love for the music keeps you going during that difficult period when you can't actually make the music yet. – Wayne Conrad Jan 5 '18 at 22:29
  • Fantastic answer very motivating – Melkor Jan 7 '18 at 12:20
9

The violin is one of the most difficult instruments to learn for beginners, although this is subjective. This is because the learning curve of the violin is much bigger than other instruments. As a beginner, you need to master the basic elements first which is pretty difficult, such as bow hold, bow pressure, learning where to put your fingers etc. When you play the piano, it is much easier for beginners since pressing a key gives you the right note. However, the piano becomes gradually more difficult. The violin is difficult at the beginning and becomes gradually less difficult after years of playing, because you have mastered the important elements of the violin already. So in short, the basic elements of the violin is much harder to master than the other instruments, but after the huge learning curve it won't be as difficult as for example difficult piano pieces, because the learning curve of the piano isn't as big and is more delayed. Hope this helps !

5

Is the Violin a difficult instrument to play for a beginner?

Yes.

I am sorry if this question is too opinionated.

...yes..?

The truth is I have just booked my first violin lesson for next week.

Great, why not, anyhow.

I played the piano for 17 minutes in school once and know a bit/a lot of theory but that is it. I am beginning to think I may have perhaps, bitten off more than I can chew.

17 minutes?? You can't seriously take anything from that short amount of time.

There is so much hype and difference in whether the violin is advanced or not. I was hoping an answer here would give me a definitive answer.

Nobody can give you a definitive answer, except you yourself.

Personally, I couldn't see how you could ever expect to learn something without some form of a professional teacher but hey, that is not my question. The question was well received.

Frankly, for any musician it's obstructing if you never trust your ability to learn something without some assistance. But if you're not such a self-learning person, violin may not be the worst choice, because then technique and other rigidly teachable aspects will be more important than improvisation etc., unlike e.g. with guitar.

“You won't sound like the violins in movie soundtracks for some time”
I totally understand this. It is like anything. When you learn the piano; Beethoven inside of you will take a while to shine through.

Beethoven is not somebody who's inside lots of people, so if you expect anything on that prepare to get dissapointed anyhow. If you did have Beethoven in you, you probably wouldn't be asking this question.
The more realistic issue is the next point:

it does mention that your violin will sound noisy and scratchy to start with.

Absolutely. It will sound completely and utterly horrible, worse than anything you could ever produce on piano without deliberate effort.

Is this down to your 'bow technique'? How you are holding it, or is there something else that causes this?

It certainly has to do with technique, but most of all with feeling. The bow responds very sensitive to tiny pressure variations; a good tone is only produced if you always match bow speed, pressure, contact point and bow angle in a quite narrow window. This is not something you can just grok through theory or “planned motion”, but only through practice until it's fully ingrained in your arms' reflexes.

One article said that adults learn faster than children, as they are stronger. I can not see what this would have to do with it? Are they not particularly heavy instruments are they?

I don't think that claim is true. Adults who already know other instruments may learn faster than children, and an adult who practices two hours daily will learn faster than a child who does five minutes a weak. But in principle I think children are faster, especially at highly delicate motoric excercise like violin.

I am guessing (as I say, I haven't even started yet) that one's wrist will need to be worked on?

Wrist, and elbow, and shoulder, and back, and fingers, and neck, and...

Aside from the technical
Perhaps, it is the theory behind it. Working out what note is what that is the most challenging. Is that right?

No.

Articles online suggest that the French Horn and the Bagpipes are harder. But this is all opinion.

I do think French horn is damn hard, but I don't think one can say that violin is easier.

Is the violin really something that shouldn't be entered lightly?

It's something one shouldn't enter with illusions that it will be quick and easy to learn.

I have no doubt after my lesson I will most likely go out and buy one. An online article suggests that a beginner should start by:

  • Scales (obviously)
  • Bowing a single string
  • Bowing two strings (double stop)

I feel like, or rather, it sounds like the above will take me weeks to master? Even the basics of scales. Is that right?

No, it will take you years to master. In fact it will probably take you months to even get some grips with all of these. But if you're persistent, you will eventually get there.

I think it's a worthwhile investment, but only you can decide if it's right for you.

  • This answer was kind of helpful. The only helpful sections were your bow technique and wrist paragraphs. Also... grab a sense of humour. They are free. 17 minutes was a 'joke'. Ha! I played it for around a year. Compared to my life of 26 years though, it is 17 minutes. If it is too opinionated, vote to close. This site is for good questions only. Not bad ones. – davvv Jan 4 '18 at 23:25
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    @davv it certainly doesn't read like a joke. – ypercubeᵀᴹ Jan 5 '18 at 6:06
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There are some really good answers here. I wanted to add my personal experience in case it might help you out. I played piano and synth for about 25-30 years, and even studied it as my major in college for a few years before switching to an unrelated field. Eventually I got a job and life where I had limited time to play an instrument.

About 7-8 years ago I came into a cello. I also started to have some more free time in my life and decided I would try to learn to play it. I already had the theory down pat, and could read and compose music, and was comfortable playing in a band and even improvising live on stage. The only thing in my way was physically learning and practicing the instrument.

I knew it would start out slow. The first few weeks were kind of fun because it's new and different. As the weeks went on, the progress was so much slower than with the keyboard. (That is, it was slower than what I had recently learned on the keyboard. Truth be told, I don't remember how fast or slow it was when I first picked it up as a kid. That was literally decades ago!)

The hardest parts were:

  1. Knowing how bad I sounded. As a kid playing the piano, I probably sounded just as bad, but I sure didn't know it! I thought I was great! Nobody else my age in my school played any better, so how bad could I be, right? As an adult, you know exactly how bad you are.
  2. Watching younger students make much better progress despite my far more advanced knowledge of music in general. When I played piano at that age, I could play the notes fairly well but didn't really understand the structure of what I was playing. And now it was the opposite. Sitting outside the room waiting for the previous student to finish, I'd often think, "Wow! That sounds good! I hope I can play that well someday." Then some kid that was smaller than their instrument would come out, struggling to stay upright as they dragged their hard-shelled case behind them. It takes some humility to put yourself through that week after week.

They say it takes 1,000 hours of deliberate practice to become proficient at something and 10,000 hours to become an expert at it. I don't know how accurate that is, but if you practice an hour per day, you'll have your 1,000 hours in about 3 years. (And of course, note all the caveats of that rule.)

At about the 3 month mark, I almost considered stopping entirely. I don't know what motivated me, but I decided to stick it out a little longer, and sure enough, by month 4 or 5 I felt like I was starting to make music. I ended up continuing to take lessons for 5 years before life intervened again.

I say, go for it. It will be difficult at first, and there will probably be some very slow point where you want to quit. If you stick with it, I suspect that you'll get past that point and start to really enjoy it.

  • Thanks for this. Very helpful, and for the resources. Cheers! – davvv Jan 5 '18 at 11:45
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There are some good answers already, but I don't see any that mention this kind of direct experience: I play violin; I started at the age of 6, and I had violin lessons more or less continuously from that point until I was about 17. I continued playing regularly for some years after that; I'm 28 now and still play occasionally but I have less time for it, sadly. At any rate, I know how long it took me to learn, and I have testimonials from my parents (and later from my flatmates) regarding the general quality of the sounds produced by someone learning to play the violin.

I can say, fairly categorically, that violin is not a beginner-friendly instrument.

For a time, you likely won't be playing recognisable tunes; it's much easier to focus on a particular skill with drills and exercises before moving on to add the next. This "training-wheels" approach will help you get to grips with all the required skills faster, but you won't be able to play actual tunes until you've got them all down. For example, when you're learning to control the bow - the right amount of pressure, the right speed, the right place on the string, the right angle, how far to move it, how to vary the speed and pressure during a stroke, how to switch strings cleanly - you'll find it easier to stick to exercises that let you ignore the fingering, which means you'll be using only four notes. That sounds boring, but until you get your bow control sorted out, any notes you do play will be scratchy, or faltering, or poorly-timed, or interspersed with random clashing as you accidentally catch the other strings, so you're really better off getting the hang of it before trying to carry a tune.

Another aspect of violin that makes it difficult is that it has a smooth fingerboard. A guitar has frets, which gives you an inch or so in which to place your finger and be sure of getting the right note. On a violin, the position of your finger has to be exactly correct - the difference between a natural and a sharp or flat is about the width of your finger (perhaps a little less) and the difference between a note and a nasty-sounding near miss is significantly less than that. Beginners often stick small coloured spots t the fingerboard to help them find the right positions, but then you have to spend time looking at your fingers and not at the sheet music, which limits you to simple tunes so you can remember where you are. Again, this sounds boring, but it's something you'll need to figure out in order to play anything fun. Find some exercises; there's plenty of simple tunes designed to hop between a handful of notes to help you fix in your mind the correct place for your fingers.

Up to this point, it sounds like these are all things that you can learn on your own, and to a certain extent you can. I had practice recordings (on cassette tape, back then; these days they're on iTunes and YouTube...) that will let you hear the correct notes and timing so you can self-correct. However, there are a lot of things that really require you to have a teacher to watch and correct. As with many skills, practising for too long without a knowledgeable teacher will only cement bad habits. I went a year or so without having any violin lessons so that I could focus on my studies at school, but during that time I continued playing several times a week, on my own and in an orchestra, so I figured I'd keep my skills up to scratch. When I went back to lessons, I was surprised to find that the tutor was pointing out all sorts of bad habits and technique issues, some of which were things that I used to do properly and had simply started to slip on. Some of these things seemed small and unimportant, so I was initially annoyed that the tutor was focusing on them, but very quickly I started to see that they tied into other things that I was only starting to learn. For example, what I thought was a silly nitpick about how I held my wrist and thumb turned out to be very important in allowing me to use vibrato without ending up with a strained wrist or seriously disturbing the way I held the violin.

It's at this point that it becomes apparent that violin has a great deal of interconnected aspects. The way you hold the bow affects your ability to apply the right pressure and to make sure it contacts the strings in the right place; your elbow position affects whether you can change strings fluidly and control your bowing speed, your wrist affects how smoothly your bow will change direction and your other wrist affects how well your fingers can move around the fingerboard. Your chin, neck, and shoulder help to support the weight so that your arm is free to move up and down to allow your fingers to reach the notes, your back and general posture allow you to keep your arms, head, and neck in that position for extended periods of time, and if you're playing standing up, then the position of your feet helps you to keep your balance and support that posture comfortably.

Once you have the correct posture, you have to think about the speed, position, angle, and pressure of your bow, the position and pressure of your fingers on the fingerboard, and occasionally other things like whether you're bowing an upstroke or a downstroke (which is sometimes important) or whether you're shifting position (where you slide your left hand so that the first finger is in the position usually occupied by the third, or a hypothetical fifth, or seventh...).

So then, while continuously monitoring yourself for the correct position of your feet, back, chin, left shoulder, both elbows, both wrists, all your fingers and thumbs; and controlling your bow's speed, angle, position, pressure, and direction; and while checking your the position of your left hand and fingers... then you can start thinking about the music itself; its time signature, key signature, actually reading the music and working out which notes correspond to which strings and finger positions and whether you need to be sliding up or down to a different position... There's a lot going on, and unlike some other instruments, with a violin most of those things are required - if you're not doing all of those things and getting the majority of them correct, then at best you're going to sound like an unskilled player; at worst, you'll sound pretty awful.

Having said all that, I would encourage anyone who feels put off by my answer so far to go and listen to a few beautiful violin pieces and remind themselves that with effort and dedication, you'll end up being able to play what is, in my (probably somewhat biased) opinion, one of the most versatile, most beautiful, and most thoroughly rewarding instruments I know. Even now, when I pick up the violin after a little time away, or when I try to play a new piece for the first time, there is always a period of time where I sound like a hesitant learner again, until I remember the technique or I become familiar with the piece - but at that point, when you can let your muscle memory and experience handle playing the music and free up a small part of your brain to actually listen to what you're producing... that feeling is one of the best I know.

Yes, it is difficult. Yes, it will take a long time to master. Yes, it is absolutely worth it.

  • This was a good read. I have read the posture is important, so will take this forward with me. Thank you. – davvv Jan 5 '18 at 10:37
  • I actually did mention I have direct experience learning the violin and I am able to compare that experience directly with learning several other instruments. To me the violin is no harder than clarinet or trombone, easier than trumpet, and about the same difficulty but in a very different way from piano. Guitar maybe is a bit easier than all of those. On piano it's dead easy to make a single note that sounds ok, but overall playing of a piece can become difficult in ways that are not common in other instruments. Violinists generally don't play polyrhythms, for example. – Todd Wilcox Jan 5 '18 at 21:33
1

I've taught beginner violin students, and I've played since the age of 8 years old.

The violin is a strange thing. Although I have all the knowledge to play the instrument, if I switch hands, I sound like a complete beginner. That tells me that more than just knowledge is needed.

When I taught my beginning students I used to tell them that it was hours on the instrument that mattered the most, not trying hard, or love for the instrument. Its like piloting a plane, if you have a certain amount of hours in the air then you become a pilot. Without those hours you never get to fly by yourself.

It is the same with the violin as with piloting airplanes. Patience with yourself is key, because learning the violin is one of those things that only works if you keep at it regularly for an extended period of time.

That being said, learning violin is tough until you get used to the instrument.

1

For clarity (as some people have no Wit), I played the piano for a year. Although compared to my life of 26 years, it was 17 minutes.

This statement was supposed to be for clarity, but if anything, I think it made things less clear.

....and know a bit/enough of theory (even though Time Sigs still trip me up) but that is it.

If you're still struggling with time signatures...I'm trying to find a polite way of contradicting the assertion that you know "enough" theory...nothing comes to mind other than simply refuting it. Counting, timing, beat, and the structure of music is one of if not the most fundamental aspect of music. It all comes with time, but it seems like you don't know what you don't know.

Is the Violin a difficult instrument to play for a beginner?

I worked in a music store selling and renting band and orchestra instruments and supplies for around six years or so. To answer your actual question, any instrument has its own set of difficulties:

Woodwinds: learning the right amount of pressure to use on the mouthpiece/reed combo to produce sound without squeaking; learning the right amount of air to use; learning the fingerings for around 20 notes, including multiple alternate fingerings.

Brass: learning how to buzz different partials; learning the right combinations of the 3-5 valves at your disposal; learning breathing control.

Piano: learning how to independently control three limbs (two hands for keys and a foot for pedals); learning how to play multiple notes at the same time; learning how to have competing ideas playing in either hand.

Percussion: learning how to play dozens of different instruments well; learning how to have four different limbs do four different things (drumset).

Strings: bow technique, intonation...

All of these are in addition to learning music theory, correct performance techniques, posture, breathing (still important for string players), how to play by yourself, how to play with others, etc.

See what I'm getting at? They're all challenging (and thus, they're all rewarding). Any variance in the amount of difficulty from one instrument to the next should be ignored.

THAT BEING SAID

I did notice that some people have an inherent aptitude for one type of instrument or another. I can play (or at least make a sound on) just about any woodwind instrument you set in front of me. Brass instruments...not so much. I was better with low brass, but it took years before I could make any sounds on the trumpet (not trying very hard, mind you, just picking one up every now and again in the store).

The truth is, I have just booked my first violin lesson for next week.

This is by far the best thing that you said. Assuming that your teacher is not terrible (there are terrible teachers; if you find you're not progressing and they can't seem to find a logical reason as to why, maybe shop around), this is the single most valuable tool in the toolbox of new learners. Even if you only do a few lessons, they can save so much time and frustration in preventing bad habits and instilling good ones. That being said, if you really want to succeed, regularly attending lessons is the way to go, even if "regularly" is once a month.

Important to remember: if you find that violin is not for you, that doesn't mean that all non-piano instruments are not for you. Try other string instruments (cough cello cough), or woodwind, or brass.

One final thing: people sometimes say the practice makes perfect; this is not true. Practice makes permanent. If you practice something the wrong way for hours and hours on end, that's not going to magically make it the right thing, but it will make it THE way you do it from then on.

0

I'm no expert on violin but I'm a little familiar with stringed instruments; my mains these days are bass and guitar.

As others have already indicated, there are two hard problems with violin - bow control in the right hand and intonation in the left. You get to solve those both at once. Some years ago I was playing drums at a church service and there was also a string quartet playing that consisted of kids in I suppoer their mid-teens. I expect that they had all been playing for years by then yet still...they were terrible. Understand that when I say "terrible" all I mean is that their intonation was off just enough to be instantaneously objectionable to anyone with half an hear and/or had been used to hearing professional string players in a quartet setting. Were they all playing fretted guitars instead, all else being equal - wouldn't have been anything like that trainwreck. So they had years of hard practice ahead of them still if they were going to sound like anything.

But don't let that stop you. If you naturally have or can develop a really good ear/brain/hands feedback loop and can hear the difference between dead-on and crap-poor, then you can at least get good enough to have fun whether it's with other string players, players of other instruments (check out the original Mahavishnu Orchestra!), or just you and recordings.

I would recommend that you be very precise - and consistently so - about your open-string tuning. Buy a good tuner, and probably with the help of a keyboard to determine this, only play along with recordings that are in tune (easier to do with recordings from the all-digital era). Your skill with intonation will have everything to do with developing a kinesthetic memory for making your fingers land just so.

0

The main difficulty with most instruments is to correctly play a bunch of notes together. The interface isn't necessarily hard to use (push a key on a piano, hit a cymbal with your drumstick, blow in your flute). Sometimes the interface offers some difficulties (playing a basic guitar chord isn't as straightforward as a basic piano chord), but you can pretty much skip the "interface 101" part to start learning real music.

The issue with Violin (and other non-fretted instruments) is that the interface is very hard. At first, it's very hard to play a note correctly, because there aren't any shortcuts (frets, like you have on guitars). So in the case of such instruments, the learning part is divided into two parts:

  • First, you learn to use the instrument to play notes.

  • Then, you learn music with that instrument.

When I was a teenager I was playing a lot of instruments, and that's the thing that stuck out after I played a bit of violin for several weeks: with other instruments I could start by learning a song. With violin, I had to spent much time practicing only hitting notes correctly.

0

It is not difficult if you have a desire, talent and a good teacher, of course. When I was learning to play the piano, my teacher used to say that 99% of success depends on a student, but I used to state that 1% that is left is sometimes the most important as a good expert teacher will always put you in a right direction.

0

Yes, violin is one of the 'harder' instruments. Clarinet is often quoted as one of the 'easiest'. Given the same amount of application, you'll be a useful member of a band or orchestra on clarinet while the student violinist is still way behind the demands of the repertoire. But you'll get there!

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