Learning the violin...

My kid studied the violin, and then stopped. She wants to get back into it. She is 15. Too late for her?

No, plenty of adults learn violin.

It may be too late for her to be as good as she could have been if she hadn’t stopped, depending on how far she progressed before. There’s a window of opportunity for achieving one’s highest potential in playing a musical instrument that closes in the early to mid teens. Certain skills, if not acquired by then, never will be acquired.

That’s no reason not to continue studying it, though, unless the ONLY goal was to be a world champion level violinist. There’s a lot of joy and satisfaction to be had in making music at any level.

I would say no. My son didn’t start playing until he was 12 or so. He’s 15 now, still learning and enjoying it.

I don’t think so. I started as a child and just kept at it, but plenty of violinists in my orchestra learned as adults, and they’re fine. And your daughter’s previous experience will probably make it even easier for her compared to those adults who start from scratch!

She’s not going to be hired by the Cleveland Symphony right after high school, but no, it’s not too late for her to learn violin. Or any other musical instrument. I re-taught myself how to play the keyboard fifteen years after a year’s worth of lessons. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a HORRIBLE keyboard player. But I can still entertain people with my crazy rendition of Madonna’s “Borderline”.

I wish I lived close. I’d offer to tutor her myself!

I started at five, stopped at about 12, picked it up at about 20, stopped at about 22, picked it up about twice a year starting at 30. Every time I picked it up I sounded awful, so I wouldn’t pick it up again for another six months, at which point I’d still sound terrible.

A couple months ago I had an epiphany and realized how idiotic that approach was, so I picked it up again and started playing it nearly every day. At this point I’m significantly less squeaky and more in-tune than I’ve been in a quarter century…

Will I be joining a bluegrass band anytime soon? Likely not. Am I having fun? Absolutely.

Boring answer: depends on how earnestly she practices. If she plays even 3x a week, she’ll end up semi-decent and should be able to make all-district and/or all-regional orchestras. To be good enough to play solo, or in a quartet requires much more dedication.

monstro, I wish you lived closer, too. Not for free violin lessons, but because I’m lonely.

So! She says she wants to learn to finish what she started. She said she has no desire at this time to be first chair in any orchestras. I am going to sign her up in September. I wish I had some time, I would take a few classes with her.

I played violin and viola for about 7-8 years, until high school graduation. Then I picked it up again in my 50s . . . and did better than I thought I would, even though I had to play in slow motion. It’s never too late.


I’m sorry!


You know I’m too cool for an internet hug!

secretly cherishes internet hug

Regarding her not wanting to be first chair in an orchestra or anything… My son (who has been playing since whenever they rope them into the music program - 5th grade, I think?) is now in college and taking private violin lessons. I have no idea how good he is (I suspect no better than OK), and he steadfastly refuses to join the orchestra despite his teacher’s concerted (heh!) efforts to recruit him. He plays for his own enjoyment, period, and that’s fine with me. So if your daughter wants to do it, is getting something out of the lessons, and it’s not a financial burden for her to take the lessons, why not? Studying and playing music is good for the brain and the soul.