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Adult Beginners

Whether you’re starting from scratch or returning to music making, you’ll find a fellow later-learner here

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Comment by Ann Marie Cordial on February 24, 2010 at 3:54am
Wow Nancy I had no idea! If I had to learn all those clefs, I'd have to have a 3 pound box of chocolates in my practice room to prevent me from losing my mind........

And now, I've seen some of the strangest fingerings I've ever come across. I would imagine that the NASA astronauts use the same sort of maneuvers to pilot the Space Shuttle. Who knew?

---Ann Marie
Comment by Mary Hutter on February 23, 2010 at 1:20pm
Cello plays in Treble Clef? Dang. Who knew? (obviously not me in Suzuki Book 3! LOL)
Comment by Nancy P. Mack on February 23, 2010 at 1:13pm
Oh Ann- try the cello! We play in bass, tenor, treble, and occasionally even alto clef! To comment on purchasing music that we can't play, I have a drawer full of this music! And I have to agree with Les about the "Student" books from Mel Bay. I've played the Handel and Bach and enjoyed them very much.
Comment by Ann Marie Cordial on February 23, 2010 at 11:53am
Ok the piece did not contain a mis-print as I thought. It appears that violists MUST learn the treble clef as well as the alto clef in order to progress. Forgive my rant.

I really thought that the publisher mis-printed it. (Glad I didn't call or write or anything............)

-----Ann Marie
Comment by Ann Marie Cordial on February 23, 2010 at 11:48am
Oh I understand that they make books out there for every level. It's just that when you hear a piece and you think to yourself,"Wow that sounds pretty basic - almost easy even. Perhaps easy enough where I can play it..."

Then you order the sheet music to it and find out that there are all these (what I like to call Egyptian Heiroglyphics) all over it that will take roughly 6 months to figure out what they are, and another 6 months to actually play a note the way the heiroglyphic want it played.

For example, I'm going along nicely on this viola piece (Glasunov's Elegie). It's a lovely piece - relaxing, flowing, all the things that would appeal to a beginner...then suddenly WHAM! Right in the middle of the piece, there's the TREBLE CLEF. And alien notes to go with it. It felt like hitting a tree at 35 miles an hour.

Now I'm gimping along like I'm on crutches.

---Ann Marie
Comment by Les Twiford on February 23, 2010 at 9:42am
I have some of the "Student Cellist" series available from Mel Bay publications. They are inexpensive (less than $10 apiece) and each book in the series contains selections by an old master,i.e., Beethoven, Handel, Bach, Mozart. I THINK similar titles for violin and viola are also available. Check it out on line at or Included in each book is the piano accompaniment and a separate booklet for the string instrument of your choice. They are pretty basic studies, but a great introduction to the classics. Each one does contain a few pieces that are more challenging. I supect anyone who has been playing for 4-5 years will enjoy those pieces . . . as well as the others.
Good luck!
Les Twiford
Williamsburg, VA
Comment by Jean Stoner on February 23, 2010 at 9:23am
I'm glad I'm not the only one buying sheet music well beyond my current skill level. So far my stack includes: Ravel String Quartet, Debussy String Quartet and Jupiter from the Planets. What was I thinking? I love these pieces, but I'm several years away from playing these.
Comment by Juan F. Tavira on February 23, 2010 at 9:10am
I have always the same feeling: finding a tune I love, spending a lot of time and some money to adquire sheet music, open it and find I am years away to play it. Last dream is "transylvanian lullaby" seems difficult, fortunatelly I have not found violin socore just the piano part...
Comment by Ann Marie Cordial on February 23, 2010 at 7:51am
Wow it's the same with viola. I remember asking my instructor why moving forward was so darned hard, and he said,"Because you are learning a stringed instrument."

I ordered some sheet music that sounded lovely on you-Tube, music arrived in the mail, I opened it up........and it literally looked like something from Mars. I mean, there were notations and marks that I had never even seen before, and I've been playing for 18 months.

I suppose one day I can play the piece.....if I take one bar a day and really chip away at it. This was a real eye opener.

---Ann Marie
Comment by Lexi Bassett on February 22, 2010 at 1:39pm
Totally agree with you there Les. It is most rewarding when you have been working on something for an entire week. Then suddenly something in your brain just clicks and all of a sudden you can do it. It makes all that hard work seem worth while. I guess patience is the key.I don't think that you could ever fully master an instrument no matter how good you are or young you were when you started. As you get better your goals become bigger they stretch out further and further. Why i bet that Yo Yo Ma still feels he is learning about this fabulous instrument even now and feels that he will never truely master the cello. Its always good to have something to strive for thats why we do it. The pure passion of it its what keeps us going.

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