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I am just starting out after having a 20 year hiatus from the violin (also played viola & cello).  But now I am returning to it and today I found your online lab! I LOVE IT!  I have my first lesson with a teacher set up in about a week but I wanted to know how many hours/days a week I should be practicing?

I practiced for about an hour this morning and was amazed how much came back after such a long break!  Your tutorials are wonderful and I know they are going to help me tremendously!

I plan on taking weekly one hour lessons to start.

Thanks for all you do!


10 Responses
Posted: September 1, 2011
Last Comment: September 2, 2011

Posted: September 2, 2011

Wow, what a warm welcome! I feel at home already. :-)

Beth, I greatly appreciate all the time you take with this site - I know how time consuming it must be - which shows how much dedication to teaching you have.  That is amazing and I am very grateful!  And I completely understand what you mean about the practice - even 10 minutes of quality time is better than none.  I will try to get in more than just 10 minutes though! :-)  As far as my early training goes, I grew up in a VERY small town with very limited resources but I had the same orchestra teacher all through middle school & high school (he moved to the high school the same year I did) so it was nice to stay with the same person.  He was very patient and loved the kids and I know I learned a lot from him.  He really believed in us which made it easy to learn!

Eileen, I hope that my previous years of training will give me a little bit of a boost but we will see when I have my first lesson what my teacher has to say.  She might tear me apart and I will have to start from square one! lol  It was just nice to get the violin in my hands and actually figure out that I **CAN** still read the music!  It's like that part of my brain just switched back on.  I know I have a looooonnnnnggggg way to go though!

Ray, thank you for the welcome!  I look forward to sharing/commenting as well as learning from all of you!

Ok, off to watch some more videos while I have my morning coffee! :-)

Posted: September 1, 2011

Welcome onboard Shelly,

Looking forward to sharing ideas and comments with you.



Posted: September 1, 2011
Shelly, welcome to V-Lab ! 

Like Jo said, you definitely have an advantage over us first time adult learners !  It's wonderful that you have the entire day to work in your practice as you can.  I think an hour here and an hour there of focused disciplined practice will get you up to speed pretty quickly !  It's wonderful that you have a hands on teacher to help you along the way as well as Beth's tremendous wealth of video lessons and personal feedback. 

Great to have you along Shelly !  :-)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: September 1, 2011
Hi Shelly,

Welcome! Many members on the site have returned to the violin after a long hiatus.  How wonderful it must feel when things begin to "come back"! You must have had good early training. You're in great company here, and have already experienced that amazingly quick response from the community. Great advice, Jo, BTW. As far as how much practice...well, I say, as much and as often as you can. A lot is better than a little, and a little is better than none. Don't underestimate a quick, but focused 10 minutes. Some days you may only have that much time, but that 10 minutes amounts to much more. Consistency is invaluable. For one, you stay warmed up, and don't have to waste as much time getting your fingers "primed".  Also, keeping those skills fresh in the brain enables you to keep building rather than re-learning.  Best of luck on your journey.... and we're all here for each other!

Posted: September 1, 2011
Thanks, Bonny!!  I think you are correct about practicing but correctly.  If you practice the wrong way you are only making things harder to "undo". 

I'm glad I'm not the only person picking up an instrument after a long period.  Good to know we have such a great forum as this to help us!  It's an awesome idea! :-)

Posted: September 1, 2011
Hi Shelly,

I believe you are at the right place. Ms. Beth is amazing. Her dedication towards teaching us play violin better is commendable.

From my experience, the more you practice, the better. But, it should be done in the right way. For example, vibrato - if practised only with arm, we get used to it, and the wrist vibrato has to be practised as something really new!! I had a bad practice of using only the Upper third part of the bow. Now I am correcting myself to use the entire length of the bow. Therefore, practice shall be mindful practice, since we are actually 'practising' something and the same shall last forever!

(I am coming back to violin after nearly 21 yrs!!!) Have fun. Enjoy violin. :)


Posted: September 1, 2011
Thanks for the compliment on my photo - a friend took it for me. :-)  You can view my website/work here if you like:  http://www.bellerougestudio.com  I've been a wedding photographer for about 8 years now.

I started playing violin at age 12.  Played for 2 years then moved on to viola for 1 year then to cello after that.  I played cello for 3 years before entering the military and wasn't able to keep up with it.  Then life just got in the way and what do you know, it's 20+ years later! :-)  Finally at a point in my life where I can do something for myself and while I thought about pursuing cello again I decided to go with the violin as it would be easier to transport when I go to different locations besides loving all the classical pieces out there I want to play.

My violin teacher actually does the music for a lot of the weddings I shoot so that is how I know her.  She told me she actually prefers teaching adults to children as we tend to take it more seriously since it's our own money we're investing! I happen to agree.

I will be checking back in often.  I hope to record some videos and post them at some point.  Need to get a few months of practice under my belt though before that! lol  I have gone through the forum a bit today and love watching everyone's videos and seeing their progress!  It really inspires me!!

Posted: September 1, 2011
well, with a wonderful photo of your like that I thought...either she herself has some 'artistic talent' other than the violin or a family member has, or that is just a photo taken for a special occasion ;) 

My father has been a photographer all his life but not in his main job, as an amateur...he won a couple of prizes too, but he's now almost 80yrs old and not too well.  He's done thousands of wedding services, when I was little I used to eat in a different restaurant every weekend as he used to take me with him to all the weddings LOL

Anyway...back to violin talking now.  Please do report back about your progress, soon you'll meet the others too as they start posting :)

Did you play long before stopping 20 years ago?

I never played any instruments before starting 4 and a half years ago, this is all new to me...
oh and I 'did' learn/play double bass for one year by the way :)  and that was just one and a half years ago, I stopped it as I could not/did not want to keep 2 instruments going and wanted to give all my time/love to the violin :)

Posted: September 1, 2011
Hi Jo!

Thank you for the welcome - I am very glad to be here! :-)

I appreciate your advice and that article is wonderful and very insightful.  And I do agree that having a teacher is a GREAT advantage - especially the lady who will be teaching me.  She has wonderful credentials and she is a very talented artist as well as a great teacher.  I'm looking forward to our lessons!

I am also fortunate in that I work from home (wedding & portrait photographer) and I can break up my day however I want.  I like the idea of practicing twice a day but wanted to be sure that would be ok.  I guess it seems like it is alright. :-)

I know I will have a lot of questions over the coming months so I appreciate that you've taken the time to address this.  And again, thank you for the article!

Posted: September 1, 2011
Hi Shelly, nice to have you with us!  I am Jo and I am 41yr old single mother to a 16yr old boy :)  Started learning violin 4 and a half years ago...

that's fantastic that you are back to the violin :)

how long to practice? that is a very famous question all of us wonder about....

I think that if one is a 'total' beginner then any practice so long that is regular/daily then it will pay off and most importantly 'focused practice', so even ten minutes a day will pay dividends!

Of course later on as you get to the intermediate/advanced stages I'm afraid ten minutes a day will not suffice any longer....BUT once you get to the advanced stages you CAN carry on progressing with an hour a day if it is good/focused practice and if it is done daily and wisely.  By the way, it does not have to be one hour all in one go, you can break it down in a couple of sessions if you need to or like to.

You have a GREAT advantage, you will have a teacher, many here on violinlab are self-taught and it can be harder when you are on your own, Beth is a great help though :)  I do have a teacher and I have hourly weekly lessons they help a great deal, I would not have progressed as fast without a regular one to one teacher.

Go and read this article, it is VERY useful: