My friend wondered out loud

My friend wondered out loud on FB whether you need a teacher to learn to play the violin or if Youtube is enough. As always, I gave a long answer.

I’m reposting in case it helps someone else.:

You can teach yourself anything, as long as there are enough videos with different methods, along with online ”how tos”.

I taught myself to play the Cello a while back. I bought myself a cheap Cello from eBay for $50 (yes, a big Cello) and practiced until made notes that sounded good at night when I got home from work. I saw one video on ”ergonomics” – how to sit right, hold the bow, hold the instrument, move the arm, wiggle the fingers.

But I might be a special case – I have perfect pitch… and I also have a gift (kinda useless though) of being able to pick up any musical instrument (so far) and figure out how to play it quickly.

Teachers give you challenges though – a good teacher will keep you doing things ‘just hard enough’ to be frustrating but not frustrating enough for you to smash the instrument to pieces.

I’m contrary though. I didn’t listen to my piano teacher about finger positions, holding my hands right, even when I was 6 yrs old. I did it ”her way” for lessons and ”my way” at home. But being able to play all the Minecraft songs after a few minutes of trial and error or do a perfect Radioactive or Drop that NaeNae, Wop through a little trial and error – I might just be a little weird.

Getting lessons might work for you – might not; but if its DIY I’d say:

a) get the instrument

b) learn the mechanics/upkeep of it (rosin the bow, how to tighten strings, how to store it)

c) Look at videos on finger positions, how to hold it to play it, how to position your back, your legs, your arms, your chin and – how to breath.

d) Try to do scales or play twinkle twinkle little star.

e) DON’T worry about speed. STOP when you make a mistake and do over. NOT making mistakes accidentally permanent is key. constantly corrrect yourself.

On the other hand, I don’t have the patience to learn to draw. I always said, ‘I can’t draw’ and echoed that for years. Now I know it’s because someone made fun of me in the 3rd grade for my beautiful dragon and I believed her.

If i was to pick up drawing, I’d have a stack of paper, ready to be thrown away (recycled, whatever) and watch videos on How to Hold a Pencil, how to move your wrist, how to position the paper, good lighting, How to ”see” like an artist (I look at things like a scientist – at what’s hiding, not what’s ”on top”) – tricks on transferring what you see to paper., how to use the eraser for shading, stuff like that. I know what I need – I just don’t feel like taking the time to make all of the mistakes needed before getting it right. Learning is all about self-correction.

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