Throughout my teaching career, I've taught many adult students who are just picking up the violin for the first time. It can certainly be a challenge to learn an instrument as an adult -- but with regular practice and lots of patience, I believe anyone can do it. Easier said than done, right? I've had the unique opportunity to put myself in my students' shoes for the past month. I received a banjo for Christmas, and what an adventure it's been to practice and begin learning to play! I've always loved the sound, and thought it seemed like a fun addition to the bowed strings. Plus, my attempt at the guitar at age 10 never really took flight, so I wanted another crack at it.
I've been facing many of those challenges that everyone must face as a beginner: learning to properly hold the instrument, producing a good sound on just the open strings, and finally, learning to chord.
I have to say - maybe I'm biased, but starting out on the banjo has to be a bit easier than the violin (hello, frets!!!). But, I'm still experiencing the frustration of practicing the simplest things over and over again until muscle memory takes over. Despite the little difficulties, it's been an absolutely rewarding experience. I'm noticing improvements (albeit small ones) day by day, and there's such a sense of excitement when I notice my own progress!
As a teacher, it's been wonderful to observe my own learning process -- it gives me a nice sense of perspective and reminds me that we never, ever stop learning. Up next, Foggy Mountain Breakdown. ;)