What to Know About Learning to Play the Violin as an Adult

It’s true that most violin players start studying the instrument when they’re young—sometimes before they’ve even started school. (It’s admittedly pretty amazing to see a preschooler playing a doll-sized violin!) But not everyone starts there—or needs to. If you’ve always wanted to learn to play the violin, it’s not too late! Here’s everything you should know about learning the instrument a little bit later in life. 

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There Are Pros And Cons

There are definitely some benefits to learning to play an instrument as a child. You’ll hear people cite the advantages of more brain elasticity and hand flexibility. But believe it or not, there are some advantages to learning as an adult, too! 

For one thing, many adults have better resolve and determination. It’s not uncommon for kids to learn violin throughout their school years and then fall out of practicing. While this definitely varies from person to person, most adults who start learning a new instrument are willing to stick with it. It can also be easier to understand more complex or nuanced concepts as an adult, such as time signatures or music theory. 

Another advantage? Adults can look at their playing technique more critically to pinpoint areas that need to change. And of course, they’re more likely to be able to focus longer—which makes them more likely to nail certain techniques the first time around. 

There are certainly other pros and cons, but these go to show that it’s not all uphill for adults picking up the violin for the first time. 

[RELATED: 5 Tips for Budding Violin Players]

There’s More Than One Way to Learn How to Play

Don’t get overwhelmed when you look into learning to play. There’s no rule that says you have to use the Suzuki method or whatever other course might be available. One of the nice things about being an adult player is figuring out the method that works best for you. 

There are a few good rules of thumb, though, when starting out. For example, it’s important to develop a dedicated practice routine; set aside the same time slots on the same days every week to get in the habit. It’s also a good idea to meet with a teacher regularly to help steer you in the right direction in your studies. They can especially help in establishing your technique, and correcting it when it gets off-kilter.

But aside from these basics, there are a ton more resources available to you, from YouTube tutorials to online communities to local classes. 

It’s Not About the Destination

Some might feel like they’ve missed out on their chance to be a wonderful violinist by not starting young. But remember the reason everybody starts to play (or at least the reason they should)—even the virtuosos playing at Carnegie Hall. It’s not because they want to be famous. It’s because they love music and feel a deep connection to their instrument. 

Ultimately, that’s what playing the violin is all about. Even if it was only ever meant to be a hobby for you, that’s an eminently worthy purpose to fulfill. Learning to play any instrument, at any time of life, is all about the journey—which can be immensely rewarding with or without sold-out concert halls (or even an audience at all!). If you work hard at your technique and enjoy playing, it will be a fruitful pursuit.

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