Each month, we feature one of the amazing members of Julia’s Violin Academy (JVA) and ask them questions about how they got to learn to play the violin as an adult. This week, we are interviewing our inspiring member Do’ who started to play the violin just one year ago.
Started her violin journey her on April 27, 2019
We asked Do’ a few questions about her violin journey.
In which country do you live?
Right now I live in France, but I’ve traveled the world since I was born and hope to keep on discovering new places.
On which violin do you play? (brand / maker and / or name of your violin)
My new violin is a SieLam Violin Expressivo 4/4. It’s originally handmade in China, the luthier changed the fingerboard, tailpiece, pegs, bridge and strings (maybe even the soundpost, I have to admit I don’t remember) in order to get a good first instrument for beginner violinists. 😍🎻
When did you start playing the violin?
I started April 27, 2019 (I can tell you the exact date thanks to my practice journal). I remember struggling with just holding the violin and bow at the time… 😅
Current favourite piece to play:
It might be way above my level, but I’m trying to learn Dvořák’s “Humoresque”. That’s one of my favourite composers and I really like that piece, it makes me think of faeries: mischievous with the short slurs and silences, romantic on the almost legato part.
Current piece you are working on:
Apart from Humoresque, I’ve been struggling on raising the speed of Köhler’s “Chant du soir” for suite some time now… 70bpm now, 20 more to go! 🤣
LingLing! One should always aim for perfection 🤣😂 (I’m a TwoSet fan is someone didn’t get the reference)
What motivated you to start playing the violin?
I went to visit a violin factory in Romania when I was 8 or 9. I pestered my parents to buy me a violin at the time, their answer: “we’re not buying you a violin when you already don’t practice your piano exercises”… They were absolutely right at the time, I wouldn’t have practiced.
But I guess some part of me kept that dream in mind. I restarted playing the piano with a friend after stopping for more than a decade, watching classical music and music theory videos to learn as much as I could. Amidst all the TwoSet and Sol3Mio videos, I discovered there were ways to learn the violin online… so I ordered an instrument on Amazon and started on my violin journey!
Can you tell us about what helps you make consistent progress?
I’ve been working a lot recently, not making much progress… But there are 3 things that helped me a lot so far:
- Practicing every day (I was playing for 1 or 2 hours everyday when I started, and I’m looking forward to doing that again);
- Joining the Practice Sprints: meeting with fellow adult beginners, sharing our experiences and just getting new friends who share the same interests;
- Keeping track of each practice session with a Practice journal. Mine goes like this: 3 practice goals, notes (for anything I discover while playing), what did I do well, what can I improve. The last 2 are particularly important as they allow me to think back on my practice and prepare the next.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with learning the violin?
Keeping it a secret from my family for the first 3 months 🤣😂
I had decided I’d surprise them by playing Happy Birthday to my dad, which went pretty well 🎶
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
If I’m to answer honestly, hearing TwoSet tell me to “go practice” every video actually helps a lot 😅
The other thing that always keep me going are the JVA Practice Addicts, I’ve made such good friends in the Practice Sprints… I just show up because I enjoy talking with them and end up practicing 🤣
What do you love about playing the violin?
I finally have an instrument I can take with me!!!!!
That might sound weird, but just go ahead and try bringing your piano or keyboard with you 😂
Plus it’s a childhood dream come true.
If I could go back in time to when I started playing the violin I would tell myself…
Just go ahead and play! If you’re wondering whether you should try it or not, do it! You won’t sound like Ray Chen or Hillary Hahn in a week, but you should always pursue your dreams (as long as they don’t hurt others… So go ahead and buy yourself a nice heavy mute 😜).
Try learning some music theory too, it seems dull at first but you’ll discover a whole new world (a new fantastic point of view 🎶) and it’ll actually help you get better at playing!