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Beginning Late: My Experiences Thus Far

Kendra Jacque

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Published: February 19, 2014 at 5:23 AM [UTC]

One big thing has been on my mind lately, as I am subjected to it myself, is late beginners. I started to play violin when I was 14, and I started taking it seriously in the last few years when my adult life has started.

There are many pros and cons to beginning late, and I would like to share my experiences so far with you. There have been a few discouraging factors that I recently reevaluated to be positive. I come from a very small community in northern Canada, with a population of approximately 360. As you can imagine, not much can be done for performances in a professional sense. There are many performance opportunities throughout the year, but I am interested in getting critical feedback on my playing. That does not happen often, so I tend to evaluate myself. Questions like "How could that performance be improved? What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it? Did you have fun with it?"

I have studied music at the university level, but due to some personal issues I have delayed my education. This gives me time to polish my audition pieces for next year, and hopefully next fall I can continue my studies. Coming from such a small community, I tend to see a lot of ignorance in the city. Not just towards music, but life in general. That is one of the cons that I am still adjusting to, as people in the city tend to make assumptions of the community I am from. No, I don't live in an igloo! I see this as an opportunity to help expand the knowledge of my hometown, and other areas that are close by.

I am 23 at the moment, and that seems to be a bit old for studying violin professionally. I know exceptions exist, it's just that being surrounded by teenagers in university is a little uncomfortable. I seen that as a con first, but I turned that into a pro. I may not have as much musical experience as them, but I have a little bit of life experience. I didn't jump out of high school straight into university. I regretted that decision at first, but once I graduated I knew at that time I wasn't ready to continue, mainly due to the fact that I had no idea what I wanted! Having that extra time to realize that violin was truly what I wanted made that transition a lot easier. Plus it gave me time to improve, as when I started taking professional lessons I realized how ill-prepared I was for the university level.

In terms of music education, things have changed drastically in the last few years. So much can be achieved with self-discipline and a few searches. We can find lessons and instructors, and set a foundation for our own learning. I want to pursue music education, and give the opportunity to both children and adults that wasn't available to myself growing up. There's a long way to go yet, but I am looking forward to this amazing journey.

From Dimitris Avramidis
Posted on February 19, 2014 at 7:37 PM
Don't give up! I start the violin at the age of 14 like you and get my diploma at 21 . I study a lot , and jump the violin levels . Now i am in a baroque string orchestra. Never is too late .

Sorry for my bad english

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 12:11 AM
Thank you! Your post serves as a great encouragement for me as well! I'm 19, started violin when I was 15 years old an I'm considering getting a music undergraduate education in another 3-4 years time :) All the best!
Posted on February 20, 2014 at 4:03 AM
Thank you for your post as it is encouraging to me cuz Im in a similar situation. I am currently 23 but have been playing the violin all throughout middle and high school. Fell in love with the violin during sophomore year but couldn't continue after high school to financial and family issues. However, things have settled down and going back to pursue my passion starting this fall!! People tell me its not too late and I don't think it is either! GL to all the late bloomers!!
From Kendra Jacque
Posted on February 21, 2014 at 3:54 AM
I appreciate the comments, folks! It's nice to see others who are in my situation. I know I'm not alone, it's just hard to relate to sometimes! All the best with your practice :)

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