Yes, adults can absolutely learn to play the violin.
Learning to play the violin as an adult can at first appear to be a daunting task. Amongst all mainstream instruments, be it from strings, percussion or wind, the violin is typically perceived to be the hardest to pick up. Throw in the fact that you are picking up the violin for the first time with the possibility of having not read musical notes before, and a steep learning curve appears.
However, this does not mean that as an adult you cannot learn to play this instrument, and we don’t mean it in a figuratively “nothing is impossible” sense. We have seen many examples of adult learners reaching a basic level of competency faster than child learners. How is this possible?
In this article, we aim to explain the difficulties that a beginner adult violinist may face and explore how you may overcome these obstacles.
What Makes the Violin Less Accessible Than Other Instruments
It is common to hear of people picking up instruments such as the guitar and piano at a variety of ages. Yet, the violin is often thought of as an instrument that has to be learnt from a young age. Part of this belief stems from the first trial experience with the violin. If you have ever tried to play your first note on a violin, you would most likely have heard a terrible screeching sound. Contrast this with common first experiences on a guitar or piano, and you will find a very stark difference.
When you pluck a note on an acoustic guitar, the sound produced should come out at the expected pitch, making it sound reasonably musical. In essence, not too much could go wrong. On the other hand, when you first draw your bow across the violin’s strings, you will likely find that at best, a musical note is produced at the wrong pitch. At worst, the aforementioned screech or whistle is produced.
While this is just the beginning, and adults know not to put too much weight on it, they can’t help but acknowledge the steeper learning curve involved.
Training Muscle Memory And Multitasking
The next challenge that adults face is firstly to undo any bad habits and to train their muscles with the right violin techniques. As adults, we would have certain tendencies or reflexes that would strongly affect how we play the violin. It is crucial that we are willing to deconstruct any idiosyncrasies that arise from repetitive movements we have performed previously. Kids, having a clean slate, have an easier time picking up the fundamentals.
Additionally, playing the violin, like any other instrument, requires a level of multi-tasking competency. You will have to pay attention to bowing technique, read notes, follow a rhythm and possibly watch a conductor.
As Adults, We Have Many Other Obligations
A third and final hurdle that we find to be common amongst adults is the many outside obligations that they have. Afterall, you likely have a full time job that takes precedence over any musical hobbies. Furthermore, if you are starting a family, then even less time and energy can be devoted to playing the violin.
While daily responsibilities may make regular practice seem impossible, it actually isn’t. Rather than having unrealistic goals of rapid improvement, you should instead aim to just play a little each day. Don’t stress yourself out when you don’t witness any improvement from day to day. In fact, don’t pressure yourself into taking any exams until you feel confident. Instead, make it a priority to have fun playing the violin each day.
Adults Are Relatively More Disciplined
After discussing several challenges that adults face in picking up the violin, we now turn attention to our advantages. Firstly, adults are more disciplined learners than children. While kids may easily get distracted or have to be coaxed into practicing, adults understand the value of each lesson and thus strive to make full use of class time.
Even outside of formal classes, adult learners are likely to have more discipline in practising whole-heartedly during their daily sessions. For us, we likely have a goal that we wish to accomplish, be it the ability to play a favorite song or to reach a level of competence. As such, we are likely to devote more focus and energy towards reaching our goal.
Adults Have The Burning Desire To Learn
Let’s be honest here, most child learners pick up the violin on a whim or are brought to violin school by their parents. They did not knowingly choose to learn the violin. In contrast, adult learners who have thought about learning the instrument has the desire to learn. There is beauty in their self-propelling passion that arises from having made the conscious choice. Like many other skills, we firmly believe that passion and determination can take you far when playing the violin.
It is this will to learn that can be relied on by you when facing difficulties playing the instrument.
Our Advice – Find a Good Teacher
While it is not entirely impossible to pick up the violin based on online tutorials and Youtube videos, these sources lack real feedback. Instead, you should sign up for real life violin classes conducted by certified music teachers.
Nothing beats having a trained professional who is able to observe you and correct your techniques. Furthermore, every learner is different, with varying needs. A good violin teacher will be able to adjust his or her lesson plan to focus on shoring up your weaknesses while also ensuring that you have fun in the process.
Learn The Violin At Harmony & Pitch
Harmony & Pitch aims to teach and guide violin beginners on their musical journey. When you take violin lessons with us, we help you to develop your bowing techniques, posture, intonation and comprehend the emotions behind the pieces you play.
Our students have developed a deep appreciation for playing the violin and enjoy every minute in our classes. Trust us to get you started on your musical journey. Get a free trial violin school Singapore today by registering at our website.