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MusicIamA (Professional Violin Instructor) AMA!

Jan 1st 2017 by erikagrl13 • 20 Questions • 487 Points

I've been playing violin since 1994, and teaching since 2012.

I can answer any any questions about playing violin professionally, teaching, or going to school for a performance degree!

My Proof:

http://imgur.com/a/vQp2b

http://imgur.com/a/EUhwg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7s4w2_QgXw

http://www.valpostudioallegro.com/erika-mang

Q:

Is it possible for a grown up, who never played it before, to eventually master it? With constant practice I mean.

A:

Absolutely. As long as you have the time dedicated to the art, anything is possible!

I've taught a 60 yr. old who caught on immediately, and moved on to amazing works a year or two later. It's not a skill that can be learned overnight, but as long as you have decent practicing, and lots of it - you too can be an accomplished violinist!


Q:

And your point about singers are spot on. Natural singers are the greatest musicians who have no idea what they're doing lol. It can be a blessing/curse for little kids who can naturally sound great without understanding what's going on/why musically

A:

Absolutely.

It's been proven time and time again that learning an instrument has a drastic increase in mathematical ability, social skills, and spatial reasoning.


Q:

Do you think any 2.5 year olds can start playing the violin, or was she special?

When would be the appropriate/best age to start?

A:

The youngest I will teach is 3 years old do to the child's attention span, no kid wants to be set aside for a half hour - much less to be learning a musical instrument!


Q:

I mean, the tip of my bow is metal for some reason and I gave my standpartner a pretty good stab wound once

A:

too close to the stand? or rivalry? :D


Q:

You know, gotta keep the second chair in their place ;)

A:

YESSS


Q:

I hope you get an answer. I'd like to learn but have similar hand situation.

A:

https://youtu.be/CH1L5gfBGYU?t=151

Starting at about 2:30, that's the idea!

Work on it like that- and get into your own vibrato from there :)


Q:

How old were you when you first had a fiddle?

A:

Fiddle? I learned to love fiddling when I was about 12 - love the style!


Q:

In your opinion, was Whiplash with J.K.Simmons realistic or at least possible? I have difficulty believing that such teaching methods would be allowed. (... please don't throw a chair at me)

A:

I had to look that up, and I now need to watch this movie!!! I've definitely had instructors that stopped me after a measure or so (counting to about 4 seconds). And I've never had a instructor treat me that way, but I've hear horror stories!

That being said, the kid was rushing when he started screaming :p


Q:

Is 16 too late to pick up the violin? And how would you prefer to learn as a starter ?

A:

It's never too late! I've taught many people over 50!

Find someone you're comfortable with, someone who isn't afraid to relate to you! I had the best experiences with instructors who understood what I wanted, and where I was in life. Find one who will swear back :)


Q:

I'm a senior in high school and I'm going to the University of Cincinnati- College Conservatory of Music for a double major in Music Education and Euphonium Performance! Anyways I was just curious what level of education you've received and what schools you went to?

A:

Congratulations!!!!!!!!

Not a small accomplishment!

Bachelors at Ball State University, and numerous Associates at a local College.

I'm gonna warn ya, the practice will kill you. Be prepared. :) I was expected to do 10 hrs a day practice then 18 hrs course hours as well ...


Q:

10 hours of practice a day? That's including rehearsals for ensembles right?

A:

It was including 2 1/2, but 2 days a week.


Q:

You're the best. Thank you so much for your help!

A:

No Problem :)


Q:

Hello, fellow violinist here but not professionally - I play in a local orchestra and freelance a little for fun. Awesome to see an IamA for one our shared passions!

What would you say is your main takeaway from college studies, whether related to the violin or being a musician in general?

Also what are your three favorite composers? What about favorite violinists?

A:

Main takeaway? College requires too much from performance majors - as I said on a previous post; 10+ hrs of practice a DAY. Lots of unnecessary (in my humble opinion) extra classes not related to my major.

Love all Gypsy Composers, Monti, and Vivaldi!

Violinists:

Heifetz, Sarasate, Heifetz


Q:

Vivaldi's so fuckin metal, I'd mosh to 'Four Seasons.'

What do you think of these guys? http://www.stringmetal.com/judgementday/

A:

wow! It's rare you see a bass player rocking out as much as a violinist!


Q:

Hi,

Happy new year! Thank you for doing this.

I am an adult planning to start learning the instrument this year, currently looking to buy the intrument.

Question: Is it okay to start learning on a electric violin ?

Question: What Violin would you recommend for a beginner to buy ?

Currently I am evaluating options in amazon and https://www.thomann.de/gb/violins_and_violas.html.

Could you recommend one from the thomann link ?

And what do you think about https://www.amazon.es/Windsor-Tama%C3%B1o-Completo-Violin-natural/dp/B000GG4B0I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483300628&sr=8-1&keywords=violin

A:

If you would like to learn on an electric, this stranger on the internet isn't gonna stop you! Keep in mind you will also need and AMP for an electric!

I can't give you an %100 on the choices since I am viewing in UE and not in USA but it does seem like those violins are of student quality!

I wouldn't spent more than $160 American on a starter violin.

Look for good reviews!


Q:

Starting to learn violin seems like a big step (if you don't know anything from music or never played an instrument). How can you reduce this step as much as possible?

Playing violin always took my attention, but I don't know that I like playing the violin when I start playing.

Thanks

A:

So you have played no instrument before? That can be good as well! No bad habits to break.

Look for a "Suzuki" instructor" Practice as much as you can!

You can't decide unless you try!!


Q:

Starting to learn violin seems like a big step (if you don't know anything from music or never played an instrument). How can you reduce this step as much as possible?

Playing violin always took my attention, but I don't know that I like playing the violin when I start playing.

Thanks

A:

and thank you! You'll be just as wonderful!


Q:

I assume before one even contemplates learning such an instrument, one would have to learn to read music first.
from your experience is that the case or can one learn both at the same time?

A:

BOTH! I teach sight reading and "frets" where the notes are placed at the same time as tape "frets". Just look for an instructor that teaches note reading!


Q:

Hey! One of the things that really distinguishes a good violinist and a great violinist, to my ear, is intonation.

I have close-to-perfect pitch, so if I'm hearing college level students perform, I can usually hear lots of spots where they're ever so slightly out of key.

It's night and day difference when I hear someone performing with my local symphony (I'm in Dallas). I play guitar, so even though the instrument isn't perfectly intonated, we still have frets- so this intonation is a product of the setup, tuning, etc.

It amazes me how professional violinists are able to play perfectly in tune without frets, especially on such a small scale instrument! Bass and Cello are a bit more forgiving due to scale length, but I have an immense amount of respect for any violinist with rock solid pitch.

How would characterize the development of this skill in your students? Does it take years of training? Do some people just pick it up quite naturally due to having a good ear?

A:

And if you have that, you definitely heard my mess-ups in 2007 (on video). The development just works on through practice - that's all we can ever hope to achieve!

We practive for countless hours just like our fellow bass and cello and violists do.

Some people do pick it up immediately, but some can take years! You're in a Dallas Symphony, I'm sure you've noticed people off key!


Q:

[removed]

A:

all that wood?