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Timothy Smith
I posted another similar thread. Decided it was too long winded so I deleted it. I am re posting on the same subject, hopefully trimmed down.

Just curious how many of you use another violin teacher or of you don't use a teacher, do you feel you can still learn just as well?

My violin teacher is moving away. I am trying to decide if  I can learn only using online resources. It's been maybe three weeks since I've had a lesson and I feel like I'm beginning to slip. Having that routine seems to have been helping me. I am concerned that not having a regular meeting with a teacher of some sort might cripple my advancement.

The nice thing about a teacher was she could immediately see things and suggest corrections. There's also the time/money factor. A 15 mile drive to the city and $30-40 for a half hour lesson minimum. On the positive side there's a few teachers who teach well for adults on my material.
Timothy Smith
11 Responses
Posted: July 19, 2019
Last Comment: July 23, 2019

Timothy Smith
Posted: July 23, 2019
Lesley, I like what you said about accountability. That word comes up in other places in my life. I occasionally attend a men's group where we are are supposed to hold one another "accountable". If I've been into something I don't want to admit  I hesitate to attend that week, and I noticed the guys will talk about anything to move it along without really getting into details. People generally don't like to be held accountable.

I did the same thing in my violin lessons sometimes. If I didn't master something or practice like I intended too I would want to talk longer, to take longer getting ready etc.If the teacher was also tired, I think she would just roll it if she picked up on my hesitation.

The teacher always had the upper ground. My teacher could spend all day every day finding things that weren't right. When your 5 years in or less I suspect the teacher has to try to determine which problem should she attack first, I mean, there are so many of them lol. Bodes easy for them, bodes frustrating for us :)

Posted: July 23, 2019
"I believe I fancy myself as an independent learner, some of that might be that I'm an adult and I don't like to admit it when I need help."

Tim, I think that largely sums up the difficulty of being an adult beginner violin student. I do spend a lot of time wondering how I can make my brain more "childlike," i.e. open and baggage-free! as opposed to always feeling I need to be the authority. It's hard when you are used to being self-reliant, and it's also hard to have to step back and basically become a five-year-old again when you have already become quite expert in some other domain(s). I haven't yet cracked it, this learning process... it feels like I am just recycling all the same bad habits and mistakes! Anyway, a seasoned instructor and especially one who is used to dealing with adult learners would be great if you can find one.

Timothy Smith
Posted: July 21, 2019
Thank you kindly for all of the helpful comments. I can tell Beth has a heart to help others and is a very good player/teacher as it shows in each of her videos, so thank you for that sincerity. I don't want to minimize how very helpful this site is.  I very much appreciate VL. Can't begin to imagine all that went into making it happen, so here's to you Beth and this wonderful site!. Thank you! If all I had was VL and I applied myself I believe I could go far. As you might guess adults don't have a lot of time so I'm trying to maximize it the best I can. It seems that maybe at least a bi-weekly lesson is in order.

I believe I fancy myself as an independent learner, some of that might be that I'm an adult and I don't like to admit it when I need help. I am accustomed to doing things without a lot of help. Truth be told, I DO need help in any way I can get it on this instrument.

 I'm 3 years s in and not doing very well to be that far along in my opinion. I attribute this to a lack of time to put any more than 5 or 6 hours a week if I am lucky. Usually it's less than that.

My last teacher helped me a lot in those three years. I would imagine I still need at least 5 years to become more independent in what I think I need to learn. Like Karen J mentioned, I  had a student teacher who was majoring in violin and moved away when she graduated. Maybe this is what Barbara Habel also mentions or something similar. It was very convenient being right across the road from my work. The lessons are discounted compared to most rates in my area. I can't quite put a finger on it, but I think I might do better with an older adult teacher. Young violin majors are leaps and bounds ahead of  me technically but I don't think they fully grasp some of the challenges facing us adults. This is no fault of theirs. In this respect they are still "green". My wife suggested I just use another one of those teachers, but I think I'm willing to pay a little more for the experience of a more seasoned player. I might change my mind. As of right now this is the way I'm looking at it. 

No matter what I decide I will continue to use VL for the foreseeable future. VL is a wonderful idea that Beth has developed very well. I have found it very helpful when I choose to sit down and apply myself.

Thanks again for all of your helpful comments! They really helped!

Posted: July 21, 2019
Great question, Tim. Here's my two cents. I had an amazing teacher for three years. It stressed me out hugely but when I listen to the recordings I made of myself from the end of that three years, I sound better than I do now.

For various reasons I've been flying solo for the past two years. And, as someone else has commented, I found I was just backsliding, despite the steady practice. Finding VL has been hugely helpful, but I've since decided I also need some "live" input.

So about a month ago I found a teacher. He is a young guy with a master's degree who subs in various orchestras. I was fortunate on two fronts: he is just starting out, so is only $40/hr; and he is just a 15-minute bike ride from my house. Anyway, we agreed to try each other out for a while and so far, so good.

What really helps me, I find, is to have to be "accountable" to someone else -- makes me way more disciplined in my practice. Plus it's also too easy (if you are me) to develop bad habits when you are trying to figure it all out by yourself. But everyone is different and there are many factors to weigh. Overall, though, I think for violin, solid instruction is pretty essential.

Barbara Habel
Posted: July 20, 2019
Dear Timothy

I recently have started guitar lessons again for that very reason. I was working with an internet community and lessons platform called "Tony´s Acoustic Challenge" for the last 2 years. Then my motivation went down to lazy and I felt the urge to put the guitar away in the closet as I had done before. But since I had done that very thing before I knew I would then some years later want to play the guitar again - I thought that this time I want to beat that lazyness impluse by getting myself a in person teacher again.

And today I stood on a mini platform from my music school and performed "Michael row the boat" and "Rock my soul" with singing and guitar at the local summer festival in early afternoon. I was having a blast.

Long story short - yes do go for the teacher.

And you made me aware how blessed we are in Germany to have lessons at half the price than you do. I pay Euro 20 (22,50 US Dollars) for 30 minutes a week at my music school for in person teachers who have studied music at degree level.

Get the teacher and let us know how it goes.

Posted: July 20, 2019
I can give you my experience. I had a teacher for 3 years. She taught me a lot and i made good progress.  She graduated from college and left town leaving me without a teacher for 9 months.  Even though i still practiced every day, I backslide a great deal. There was no one to tell me the things i was doing incorrectly, no one to really tell me what was next or what etude to work on to solve a particular problem.  I still had Violinlab, thank goodness, because it would have been much worse.  
Lessons gave me the guidance i needed, customized to me.  I had to be accountable to someone weekly so I made sure I did what I was instructed, otherwise it would be a waste of time and money. I learned techniques with fewer mistakes because someone was there to stop me before it was difficult to fix/change.
I recommend keeping up with lessons even if it has to be less frequent.  !5 miles isn't very far and $1 a minute isn't unreasonable at all. If you want a short break between teachers, of course , go ahead. but keep working and improving.

Posted: July 20, 2019

A dilema Timothy! - I stopped lessons for a number of reasons about 10 months in and have been without one for about 3 months now. It has coincided with a really busy time – my daughter is getting married in August and I'm organising it and making a LOT of things - so I don't have anywhere near as much time as I want for my violin. I am fairly disciplined and used to organising my time (self employed and work from home) but it is really difficult to structure violin practice and stick to it with so many other things going on.

The jury is still out for me as I think once the wedding is over I need to properly timetable my practice and seriously start the note-reading and practice courses, regularly record myself, make the most of this forum etc. and then re-evaluate. I'm sure a good, real life teacher would be beneficial as they would set the pace, see immediately things I'm missing or taking hours to identify & stop me focusing too much on one thing for too long – maybe be a bit more balanced in my approach – and put a structure in place for me. I can see I am making progress on my own with Beth's syllabus, albeit very, very slowly, so at the moment I am fine with no lessons. Longer term I need to make sure I am critical enough of what I'm doing, perceptive enough to work out how to tackle problem areas, re-evaluate regularly & have the discipline to actually do it! Not convinced yet I can do that :)

Posted: July 19, 2019
I wanted to add, I am one of the ones who needs 'input and structure to their practice and learning'. That's why I lean on this community so much, and depend on Beth and all of you for help. Also, when we would take a break for a week during those past lessons, because that was how the teacher's rotational schedule went, even with only one week, the teacher would invariably say, "We have work to do, you have slipped! "and it was always what I was doing with my tone. Today, I wonder if they would say that, since I do daily tone exercises no matter what!

Posted: July 19, 2019
I'm doing really well with self guided right now because I was taught how to teach myself from a really disciplined teacher. Now, I keep an eye on every posture and try to listen closely to every sound I am making, and try to come up with an exercise or solution for each problem area. But I know I would make much faster progress with a really good live teacher. I cannot afford one right now. If I could, I would begin to search online and look for credentialed teaching, which is how I found my great teacher once before. I emailed them asking them if they would take me through the classical training, and they responded sure! and there was a free 1st interview/lesson, and from there was a beautiful time! Warning-at nearly three years in, I was reset to almost zero and it was worth it for the results!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 19, 2019
Timothy, some people operate better by self guiding and others need input and structure to their practice and learning. If you already feel things are starting to slip, then I recommend finding another teacher. Since it is an expense, you could always request to go every other week. That might be a good balance for you. I don't have any live adults coming regularly to lessons. I have the arrangement to call me on an "as needed" basis. The down side, is it becomes too easy to let weeks and weeks slide by, but on the other hand, it is easier on the wallet.

Posted: July 19, 2019
Good afternoon Tim,

Yes, you can do that if you think it will help you tremendously, having actual teacher plus VL is ideal. I wished I had this combo when I first started...

I have a violin teacher, the same one since the beginning/when I started...Then I have VL as supplemental which help me greatly and opened my eyes to important information/details...

Thank you for your comment on my post, appreciate it much...The violin/instrument I was using on my practice video is Angelina, a maestro Gliga viola 14 inch I turned into violin...I like how she sings and prefer using her for my practice. The sound of an instrument can inspire you to practice more and persevere.