It’s never too late to learn!

Up until a couple of years ago, I was convinced that if you wanted to play an instrument well you would have to begin as a child. My belief changed after I was approached by a thirty-year old woman asking me if I would teach her to play the violin. I was not only surprised but shocked too. It is quite common to take up the piano or guitar, but the violin? I asked her what her goal was, and she replied that she would like to play in her church orchestra when she and her family return to the US.  I was more than sceptical but decided to accept the challenge. We agreed that we would work together for 3 months and then evaluate if it was worthwhile continuing.

I am a classically trained violinist, attended music schools since I was 6 years old. My musical upbringing convinced me that it is more than impossible to learn to play an instrument after that age.

With great anxiety, we started slowly to work on holding the instrument and bow; it proved helpful that my student had a brief but valuable basic musical education. Through research I found similar examples on adults taking up an instrument, which helped me to determine the method we would use.

I took what I considered a logical approach, elaborating in exact detail every movement she should make. This method differs from that used with children, in which imitation works best. It turned out to be the right approach. We were making progress! The most difficult part was getting her hands to make movements that do not normally occur in our everyday life. After 3 months I realized that it was more than possible. We jumped the hardest hurdle and the first melody was born!

My student returned to the US in June. Today, after 4 years, she is playing popular melodies on the violin, bringing joy and happiness with her music-making to her family and friends and most important of all, is able to fulfil her goal of joining her church town orchestra.

I learned a lot from this experience. First, that the saying “that it’s never too late to learn” is true, and second, it applies to music too!

If you enjoy listening to music, do not hesitate to think about playing an instrument. Be it the piano, violin, guitar, clarinet, it is waiting for you! The experience will not only enrich your life and the lives of all those around you, but will also give you great pleasure in making music and enhance your understanding of the unique art of music.

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