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online violin lessons story (1)

I didn’t expect that 15 years ago

15 years ago today, I got a violin, took my first lesson with a private teacher and started practicing. I had no experience whatsoever with learning an instrument.

I started with playing simple rhythms on one string. The first song that I learned to play was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I proceeded to learn many other songs after that.

At some point I started to hate my violin and quit it all together. I felt like I was never going to be „good enough“ at it.

Eventually, things got better. I found out that there’s more to music than being the best. I played in bands, orchestra’s, composed my own music and eventually started teaching.

Over the span of 15 years I picked up songs I still love to play, met hundreds of other musicians and learned some lessons that will stick with me during my whole life.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all dramatic and tell you there’s no happy life without music and that learning the violin is the only right thing to do.

Anything you do with your life has pro’s and con’s. And violin is definitely not the “easiest” hobby to spend your time on. It requires a lot of work and dedication.

But I will say: picking up the violin was one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. And I wouldn’t take it back.

Here are some of the unexpected lessons that I’ve learned and some of the ways I have grown.

1. Time + Patience = Results

We often want to improve our life, whether that’s getting fitter, learning to play an instrument better, getting more successful at our job.
And many times, we don’t want to wait for these results. We want results instantly.

Learning the violin teaches you the beauty of time and patience.
It teaches you that if you have to trust that results will come if you keep working on something and if you stay patient.

This helped me with many things: learning languages, going to the gym and building my violin teaching business Violinspiration.

Many of the most beautiful things in life, don’t come to you immediately. You have to work hard it at and trust it will come to you with time.

2. Seeing anything you do as practice

One of the most beautiful things of playing the violin is learning to really understand what it really means to practice.

No, I don’t mean to find better practice strategies to improve your playing.

I mean, to have the “practice attitude” in your life.

What is the practice attitude? Here’s an example:

Let’s take my job, teaching the violin.

I could have the following attitude
I’m a teacher at violin. I’m really good at playing and teaching violin. I’m giving really good lessons.  I can’t make any mistakes. I feel ashamed if someone found out I made a mistake.

Firstly, that gives pressure, and secondly there’s not much room for improvement if I’m perfect already.

I could also have the practice attitude.

In that case, I would say to myself: “I’m practicing to be a teacher”

If you’re having this attitude, you don’t get as annoyed if things don’t work out perfectly. After all, it’s just practice. And now you can feel excited about improving the thing that didn’t went well.

If you don’t assume you’re perfect at it, you’re always looking for small things to improve. And that makes my job into a constant adventure for me, where I can learn, grow, and improve myself every single day.

This helps to see things more lightly and you even get a way better teacher.

I am currently practicing many things in my life, such as

  • being a teacher
  • running a business
  • being in a relationship
  • being a good friend
  • taking care of my health

I’m getting better at it.

3. There is no success without failure

When we fail at something important to us, whether in relationships, at school, or at work, it can be very painful.

In our society, there are many unhealthy ways to deal with failure. We discount the importance of the thing we failed at (“oh, I didn’t care about it anyway”). We blame other people.  We say we’re “never lucky”.

In the short time, these ways of dealing with failures may feel good, but probably we won’t learn from our mistakes in this way.

And even worse, we might avoid to do the things we could fail at.

For instance
… quitting your job to start your passion business
… moving to another country on your own
… starting a new fitness routine

because it’s so painful to try so hard and to fail.

Learning the violin helps you to see that there is no success without failure.

It teaches you that failure is the only way to get better.

You need to fail, in order to be successful at something.

It taught me, that if you fail, it means you are trying

And to be trying, is something to be proud upon.

This helps you to step outside of my comfort zone. And to do things you are (really) afraid of.

With every failure, you’re moving in the right direction.

Did you find my post useful?

KEEP ON READING…

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Thank you for being my teacher. I am glad you started at a young age, Back when I was young I never thought I would try to play with music and now with the violin coming down in price I like to try and at my age I like just to tinker with it. When I see my granddaughters I may give this violin to them and have them start with your lessons they are 3 and 6 years old and just right to learn and enjoy playing. Thank you for your videos thay have been very helpful.

Thank you so much for your weekly e-mails ?

I’m very happy to get you email. Just today I was looking at some YouTube lesson of you .
It’s good to know that you are sharing 3 Life lessons from 15 years of playing the violin.

Hi Julia! I’m so happy to read your post, because some days ago I was thinking something similar to what you says, but my thoughts were not so clear! You have really translated my confuse thoughts into clear words! I started studying violin only about one year ago (and few months ;D) and at the beginning I was not aware of the real value of my new adventure. I was only happy and excited for having done the step of buying my violin and starting to play some notes! In the meanwhile I started a new job, a research position… Read more »

Yes Julia, it’s me! 🙂

I have a bunch of things to say so i guess i’ll just start 1) Loved what you have written, and it’s relatable too. To feel like quitting and not continuing playing is something i have been dealing with recently but i guess well pick up where we left because we all felt that something is missing from our life. 2) You’re a committed teacher looking after health, business, friends, your loved one and students too. The violin not only taught patience but multitasking also 😛 3) We rarely get to read your insight on a lot of things, so… Read more »

I played guitar in rock bands for 35 years. It got to where I hated it because I had to play every night. I bought a violin and am teaching myself just for me and the fun of it. You’re supposed to play music, not work music and the violin has given that back to me. I don’t care if I ever play for anyone else. When learning I have found that there are two types of people in the violin world…those who are generous, helpful, and caring and those who are absolute snobs who look down their noses at… Read more »

Hello Julia! I’m really glad that I came across your story because I’ve been playing the violin for a week now and I’m still struggling. I’m self-taught and I honestly have got no clue about playing the violin. But the only reason why I really want to play the violin was because I’m really drawn to the violinists playing in an orchestra. They all sound so melodic together and I feel at peace whenever I hear them play. I really wish I could play like them one day. On my first week, I was getting frustrated and was losing motivation… Read more »

Hi Julia, a comment not about life lessons, but about teaching. I believe that you and your Web students could be much more successful If you used a different camera angle on your fingerboard. We need to see your finger placement more clearly. Thank you.

Thank you so much for sharing.. I’ll practice even better with my off sounded violin.. I’ll also try my best to buy a good violin since this violin is like a fake electric violin where sounds is really off.. more motivated all the time. Thank you so much…

Hi Julia, As you know, I started violin lessons at age 84. Now, at age 86, I am able to play 100 hymns and share this new experience with friends in nursing homes and care facilities. I didn’t read music until my violin lessons. This was a challenge I took on to stay ahead of the aging thought process and try to stay current. For me, the violin is an intriguing instrument and it is also fun to research its history and learn basic luthier skills. Vibrato will hopefully be within my grasp during the upcoming year. Even at my… Read more »

Tenho acompanhado muito seus ensinamentos e praticados, sou muito iniciante sei muito pouco de violino, mas tiro algumas músicas, não tenho professor estudo em casa com orientações que encontro na internet… Sou grato por você fazer parte disto… Muito Obrigado.

Hello madem Julia! I am improving my violin practice my ur book… And also I am very happy of receiving e-mail from you… I am very eager to get the other violin notes from u…. Thank you soo much Julia

I’m new, barely two weeks without a teacher. just trying to develop the passion for violin. I keep watching YouTube videos

Ms Juli you not only give me hope but also the reason to why am learning a violin ?
I appreciate ue motivational weekly emails Coz they aid me recall dat hav got to set realistic goals through routine practice. Hence reaching greater heights.
Ma ambition mission is to boast the life of music in my church.
Thnks for ue services

Hi Julia. I started learning the violin after my retirement 1 1/2 years ago. I love practicing the violin and hope that I can use this instrument for enjoyment and in my volunteer work with children. However, I can relate to your comments, and in addition to my weekly lessons, your wisdom is just what I need each time I read your email. I can’t thank you enough for being my other teacher on this journey.

thanks julia i recently have doubted myself i thought of quitting, questioned my abilities because of the mockery by people around me but this message has brought an inspiration to me i’ll never forget that.

Last edited 1 month ago by sascha

I watch your teaching a lot. Your a very good teacher. Unfortunately I’m learning to play the viola. I wish you could teach that as well. That would be great.

There is no such thing as perfection, there are only standards. And after you have set a standard you learn that it was not high enough. You want to surpass it. -Jascha Heifetz Recently, I’ve read <<The subtle art of not giving a ****>> by Mark Manson. I call this book the book of truth. There’s 0 nonsense in that book and the last two lessons you’ve stated in relation to failure is also covered in there. The most difficult part is moving away from the comparison with others to a comparison with ourselves. It’s human nature to always compare… Read more »

Hi Julia
I was eager to see which life lessons the violin thought you because in the 5 months I have been exploring the violin I have also made the same connections..the one that stood out for me was the rewards of perseverance.
It made me think of people in general. Trying to find the answers to some of life’s most important questions: what does the future hold? Or what happens when we die …..
Most people give up on finding the answers to these questions and thus loose out on finding the satisfying answers.