I was fortunate enough to learn the violin as a child. However, there are many adults who come to acquire a love of classical music and the violin much later in life. Many of these adults may toy with the idea of attempting to play the violin, but are put off for a number of reasons. As a violin tutor I find that many adult learners are more unreliable than child learners; many of them begin a course of tuition with the best of intentions, but get bogged down with work, paying the bills and other mundane aspects of day to day life and find that it simply is not feasible to continue their dream of playing rent viola. After a few weeks or months with little improvement they dwindle away and gradually give up their dream of playing violin. Children on the other hand have time set aside for them by their parents and are made to practice regularly. They are not so likely to get down on themselves if they see little improvement for a long period of time and are happy just to play and experiment with the violin.
For an adult learner to be successful with learning the violin they first of all have to be honest with themselves. Do you have the time to commit to learning this instrument? Are you likely to be in it for the long haul, or is this just another passing whim? The violin is a difficult instrument to learn, it takes time, commitment and motivation. If you are unable to commit much time, there is not much point in trying to learn. However, if you find yourself determined to learn the violin, and have spare time on your hands I would advise you to jump in with enthusiasm and chase that dream.
After you decide to commit yourself to learning the violin, the next thing you need to do is get your hands on a violin. My advice is to start out with renting a violin for the first few lessons, that way if you decide that learning the violin does not agree with you, you will not be out too much money. When you do purchase a violin, do yourself a favor and do not buy a cheap factory produced model. These have inferior sound and are likely to be detrimental to your development over the long term. Get an experienced violinist to go with you to your local music store; there you will be able to try out a range of instruments, as well as to have the chance to question the salespeople over their products!
Next you need to find yourself a violin teacher. Search on Google for violin teachers in your area; there are several websites which keep lists of music teachers. You should try out a number of music teachers; many of them will give free introductory lessons. It is important to choose a teacher you like and feel comfortable with, as well as one who has the appropriate qualifications. A violin teacher should have reached a good standard of playing and should have obtained a music degree.
It may also be a good idea to seek out tutors who offer group learning. Many adults feel shy about learning in a group setting, but this is actually a very effective way to improve. You can learn from others, have fun interacting and sharing methods. Group classes are also the best way to learn harmony.
It is also important to supplement your lessons with books, CD’s and other learning tools. A quick search on Amazon will reveal some of the best books. In this age of technology there are also many innovative and interactive ways to learn the violin online and my experience has been that students who follow an interactive online course as well as a traditional tutoring course progress fastest of all.