I have been playing the violin for four and a half months now. Progress has been steady, despite finding only 5-6 hours a week to practice at best. In fact, I should be starting Suzuki book two somewhere around the end of the month. I figured now was a good time to evaluate how I’m doing on the goals I loosely set when I started, and define where I would like to go.
GOALS AT START
1. Discover if learning to play the violin is what I want to do, or just something I thought would be cool. Check – This is definitely something I feel strongly about pursuing. It is as amazing as I thought it would be.
2. Find an instructor willing to take on an adult beginner. Check – It took a while, but I like my instructor, even if he gets frustrated that I am not quite as easy to work with as the little kids.
3. Find enough practice time. Check – It’s not as much as I would like, but it is sufficient to see marked improvement each week.
4. Advance beyond Twinkle and play baroque music. Check – I’m playing some Bach minuets now. I still have a long way to go.
5. Improve my sight reading so I can play period tunes for and with my friends. It gets better every day. Played for people in camp at Pennsic and am organizing a small musical presentation at Yule.
1. Improve my form and posture. I’m still struggling with improper left hand position and grip, and right arm issues.
2. Graduate to a more relaxed bow grip with my thumb on the stick and not the frog.
3. Buy a violin. The one I am borrowing is OK, but has no projection and not enough of a quality I just can’t seem to define.
4. Master the trill and learn vibrato.
5. Make reading music second nature so that it’s one less thing I have to think about.
6. Become more comfortable playing in general. Wasting 20 minutes of lessons in warm up because of nervousness is ridiculous.
7. Track practice time and usage to determine most effective application of effort.
8. Master rhythm. I think the metronome hates me.
9. Focus on dynamics and improving intonation. (More scales & etudes, ugh!)
10. Learn to play by ear, and improvisation.
1. Find some people to play with on a regular basis. I’d love to be part of a string quartet or small ensemble.
2. Perform for people. They say that helps with conquering nerves.
3. Prepare a solo piece for performance.
4. Learn to play various types of music – fiddle, celtic, etc.
5. Branch out from Suzuki in my lessons.
6. Learn viola de gamba.
7. Have a handy memorized repertoire.
8. Jam with more experienced musicians.