`Tis the Season where Everyone Wants to Learn the Violin!

17 03 2008

Ahhh…summer is upon us once again. The debilitating heat, the unbearable humidity, the silence of the school halls…yep, summer is here.

Funny thing – it’s during the summer months (April to June) that I have no shortage of students – some old, mostly new. They’re coming out of the woodwork, left and right! And they all want to play violin! Not viola, not cello, not double bass – violin! So to you violin teachers in other countries who might be reading this: come to the Philippines and set-up shop; you will be swamped.

Mind you, that might not be such a good thing 😉

You see, a majority of new summer students are really only curious obout the instrument – they’re not prepared for the long, arduous journey towards proficiency. These ones I actually try to dissuade from taking lessons. More than one student has gasped in dismay upon being told that the learning curve is very steep, often requiring a year or two before a decent tone can be produced. More than one student has picked-up the violin for the summer, only to swear it off when school begins again.

Well, I suppose that’s better than just pretending to love it.

The students who do stick to it, however, develop very interesting relationships with their instruments and music in general. They start naming their instruments, hanging various doodads on their cases – I have one who actually silkscreened her case. Now everyone wants their cases silkscreened. 

Let me be frank here: if you’re used to everything happening exactly when you want them to happen (5 minutes ago!), in the exact way you want them to happen (I want beautiful girls to mob me!), you might want to pick-up a guitar instead of a violin, because with a violin, if you approach it with anything other than love and devotion, it will fight and humiliate you every miserable step of the way. At least with a guitar, it’s hard to get the posture wrong, and if you get the posture right, you’ll look cool enough to maybe entice the occasional girl to mob you, regardless if you only know three chords and they all sound muted (That’s a huge MAYBE – girls are mighty intelligent) – with a violin (or a viola, cello, or double bass), get the posture anything but right, and you’ll look ridiculous. Unfortunately, the only way to get the posture right is several hours of slow practice alone in your room, in front of a mirror. And I haven’t even mentioned actually playing the instrument yet.

Can’t handle the hours? Spare yourself (and your teacher) the agony and take-up a sport instead. Like ice hockey.

Now that that’s off my chest…ahem…With another season of string lessons at the doorstep, I shall endeavor to document/chronicle each lesson. If you are a teacher of stringed instruments, feel free to comment – maybe you’ll notice something I missed. If you’re not a teacher, well…feel free to comment anyway 🙂

Now if only I could get some of them to try out the viola




2 responses

17 03 2008
violist #3

I have learned that the viola is more awesome anyway. XD

23 03 2008
angeli d.

almost 2 years of learning the violin… and i still have no progress. i’m still tone deaf :/

well, it’s also my fault that i don’t practice studiously.

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