Learning a Difficult Instrument

tooltiperror

Super Moderator
Staff member
I am currently 14 and I have friends who learned Violin from very early ages like it is intended (my very good friend started learning in first grade like a traditional violinist). I play Guitar and a bit of self-taught Piano, but nothing like a virtuoso. My dream is to eventually play a very difficult instrument such as Viola, Violin, Cello, or something to that effect, preferably in the viol- family.

I have a basic understanding of Music Theory and next school year I will be taking some advanced classes, and I'll be taking a ton of lessons this year to try to catch up a bit with other instrument players.

I know I can't get good over night, but is it too late for me to take up an instrument like Violin?
 

thewrongvine

The Evolved Panda Commandant
Its never too late as long as you have the determination and persistance for it.
Yup.
Of course if you start younger, it's better since you have more years, and you can adapt more easily, but if you try, you can get it. Plus, all the experience you have from other instruments helps.
So no, it's not too late, :)

~Hai-Bye-Vine~
 

tooltiperror

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks a lot for the responses.

I'm thinking of if I want to learn Violin, or Viola.

Viola has its own deeper, melodic sound, like a Bass, but it doesn't please a crowd like the violin does, it usually does not get solos, and it is a bit less main-stream amongst non-musicians. Harder to play due to the size, but makes you stand out.

Violin is much more common than Viola (estimated 20 violin players to every viola player in a town or city) and it can reach five notes higher/sharper than the Viola.

Does anyone have any reasons to learn one or the other?
 

thewrongvine

The Evolved Panda Commandant
Heh, yeah, I know quite a few people who play violin, but none who play the viola (or at least that I know of).

It's up to you I guess. As you said, the violin is more mainstream, but you already play guitar and piano which are mainstream, so maybe the viola would be a compliment to those instruments, rather than playing another mainstream instrument. But it shouldn't matter, whichever you find more enjoyable should be the one you play. Have you like tested out each of the instruments?

~Hai-Bye-Vine~
 

Whitesock

Graphics Help Zone Moderator
I read something about this before. The ability of your playing can somewhat be limited by your age, but mostly because of experience (people who start younger have more time to learn the instrument). They say after you hit around 15-16 you can no longer become a super amazing one-of-a-kind player, though you can still become a great player. 25+, you can still become a great player, and so on. Basically, it comes down to your own drive and how much you practice (less and often is better than a lot and sparse).
 

tooltiperror

Super Moderator
Staff member
So right now I still have a chance of getting into it and becoming a good player (age 14)? I read a lot about how people like Mozart were child prodigies and began to play music at the age of four. I understand that I probably won't be able to become a world famous composer at this point, but I plan to minor in music (I hear minoring in an art greatly increases acceptance rates, plus if I majored in it my parents would kill me) so playing a more difficult instrument would help me get accepted, not to mention that Viola is more rare than Violin, so it may help me to play Viola.

So, do I still have time to become a great player?
 

thewrongvine

The Evolved Panda Commandant
All this time you're asking questions, you're wasting time, :p
Heh, yes you have time to become a great player.
Some people who start at a young age are still bad at an instrument; it also depends on your musical talent, and I'd say you have that, along with musical background, which gives you a great head start.
I started guitar at around 14 (I played a few other instruments when younger) and I can play it decently now (and still improving :)).

You probably won't be a world famous composer as you said, but if you think about it, most people who began at a young age also won't be a world famous composer. It's the person that matters, regardless of when you start. Starting younger is a lot better, but it doesn't mean it's impossible otherwise to become great.

~Hai-Bye-Vine~
 

Ninja_sheep

Heavy is credit to team!
Well, I'm assuming you're just going to play the violin for fun.
Because going for a professional career is a pretty bad idea, even if you start at very young age.
So from that point of view it's never too late.

And yeah, you can still get good.
 

Nigerianrulz

suga suga how'd you get so fly?
guitar is essentially a violin except that a guitar have frets and etc... so if you already know the basics of guitar picking up a violin shouldnt be all too hard. And for violin and viola, once again its pretty much the same but you would prefer to learn violin first as it would be much easier to find lessons and help and also pieces to perform, and if you choose to go into viola, it wont take long to adapt.
Now about being a great player... i dont think age matters tbh... its all about the passion for music. You dont have to be super talented to become great, you just need the love for music and practice.

Because going for a professional career is a pretty bad idea, even if you start at very young age.
why is going for a professional career a bad idea..
 

tooltiperror

Super Moderator
Staff member
guitar is essentially a violin except that a guitar have frets and etc... so if you already know the basics of guitar picking up a violin shouldnt be all too hard. And for violin and viola, once again its pretty much the same but you would prefer to learn violin first as it would be much easier to find lessons and help and also pieces to perform, and if you choose to go into viola, it wont take long to adapt.
Now about being a great player... i dont think age matters tbh... its all about the passion for music. You dont have to be super talented to become great, you just need the love for music and practice.
As you said, viola/in is guitar without frets, played with a bow. However, playing that is much more difficult. Not only do I need to learn the positions of fingers, I need to develop an excellent relative pitch to correct myself if a note is slightly off, before someone notices. I am certain I want to go to viola instead of violin, because I know so many people who play violin, but who plays viola?

Because there are like one billion people for each job.
Especially for the classic instruments.
Yeah, going for a professional music career is too much of a risk. If you 'get discovered' then you can make it, or you can make one pop hit and be famous forever. Otherwise, you're generally screwed.

Well he's just thinking of minoring in music. That is a common thing with people who are very into music and doesn't have to lead into a career of classical playing. It piggybacks well with other majors.
Exactly, colleges love musicians. It's a sign of intelligence and self-determination.
 

Whitesock

Graphics Help Zone Moderator
Yeah, going for a professional music career is too much of a risk. If you 'get discovered' then you can make it, or you can make one pop hit and be famous forever. Otherwise, you're generally screwed.
And that is why 80% of music majors start teaching. :p From What I can tell, Getting into a career playing an instrument is damn near impossible if you aren't amazing. I hear that getting into composition (especially digital nowadays) is easier, but still takes some talent.
 

ElderKingpin

Post in the anime section, or die.
People can devote endless amounts of time into something and still get nothing out of it. As a pianist I care greatly for the music itself, and that goes for all musicians. Whether or not you spend endless amounts of hours into your work you will not get anywhere unless you truly love music to its core and understand that "Music is the shorthand of emotion" and there is no way around it. I cannot STRESS enough how important it is to love what you do.


And thats another thing, you may be aiming for a professional career, but what are the chances of me, or someone else becoming a concert pianist? Very small and that ties into loving the music because if you only go for the fame and fortune, you have nothing left if you dont achieve such a dream, play the music because you enjoy it, and maybe you will hit a break, but dont expect it to happen.


And teachers. There are two types of musicians, an artist, and a teacher. Some of the greatest piano composers and players (Chopin, Liszt, etc.) all probably were pretty bad at teaching, although Chopin did teach for a while. Playing an instrument and actually teaching it are two different things, which is why finding the perfect teacher will be one of the highest priorities for a musician (IMO ofc, enough musical background and you could probably teach yourself whatever instrument you want)


AND! Dont think an instrument is hard, or a song is hard (to an extent, a month of piano experience doesnt mean you can tackle Fantaisie Impromptu) because it just deters you from continuing the song or continuing the instrument, many thing are within reach if you just work for it
 

LurkerAspect

Now officially a Super Lurker
I played the violin from the beginning of 2004 until the beginning of this year, and I can tell you, it's not really as hard as you think it was. I was fairly decent (grade 4) by the time I quit, but if I'd spent an hour or so every day practicing throughout that whole time, I could easily have been a lot better. It all comes down to how much you enjoy playing the instrument you choose. For me, I stopped violin firstly because it's my last year of school and I need the time, and secondly because I was stuck playing boring, frustrating pieces (like bach) that killed my motivation.

So yeah, you're 14, if you put in the hours and if you love it, you can be as good as you want to be. It all comes down to work.

EDIT: I also only kept playing into my highschool years cos the orchestra was co-ed ;)
 
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