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:





Comments: 290 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

hippokuda38 karma

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

erikagrl1352 karma

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!

plaguuuuuu9 karma

Most of the kids set aside one or two hours of practice a day. That's the main reason why they can learn quickly. Adults rarely have the commitment to do the same and then chalk their lack of progress up to being older. Not the case. Just have to put in the hard yards.

erikagrl133 karma

Agreed! It takes a LOT of dedication and hard work.

snakebiteshurt22 karma

How old was your youngest student?

erikagrl1348 karma

2 1/2, she was amazing. Her parents enrolled her in Ballet and violin.

This toddler was absolutely amazing at violin... of course they decided Ballet was her secret talent. I haven't kept tabs (i was 17 at the time) but I'm positive that child is going to change the world one day through her actions!

snakebiteshurt11 karma

My brother was 3 1/2 when he started, do you think he has any innate advantage over anyone that starts playing later in their life (like 8-9 years of age)?

erikagrl1323 karma


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

RFlush3 karma

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?

erikagrl136 karma

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!

cherrychi1 karma

/cringe that's a little ambitious don't you think.

erikagrl131 karma

It can be! But it's better to learn a skill younger, rather than older

HarmlessKitten21 karma

How effective of an improvised weapon could a violin be?

erikagrl1340 karma

It depends on which one of my violins you're talking about!

I have a five string electric that I could turn into a badass electric conductor of a baseball bat, or my cheaper "student" violins that I wouldn't hesitate to put into your skull!

That being said, wood tends to break apart pretty quickly when set on fire .......

HarmlessKitten16 karma

Ooo, sadistic. I like you.

erikagrl1312 karma


LAN_of_the_free4 karma


erikagrl135 karma


dalzmc11 karma

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

erikagrl1313 karma

too close to the stand? or rivalry? :D

dalzmc28 karma

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

erikagrl1315 karma


chirv2 karma

As concertmaster at my academy....


erikagrl131 karma


Moonwalker_0315 karma

Oh that sounds fun!

What other instruments do you play? (if any)

And how did your love for violin grow so much?

erikagrl1324 karma

I also play cello, piano, viola, and slightly suck at guitar/bass!

Honestly, my parents wanted me to either be a musician or a dentist - I considered both to be my career path until senior year of HS when I decided violin would be much easier for me to do while still slacking haha

Dion_Waiters13 karma

I don't mean this in an attacking way, but how on earth is pursuing violin the "more slacking" way? I'm also a professional musician and teacher, and I would describe my life as anything but slacking off; I don't even play an instrument as insanely competitive at the professional level as violin, and it's still cut-throat.

erikagrl1319 karma

I've always found playing the violin to be easier to me compared to being a Dentist - 4 years sounded much better than 10. I own my own studio and absolutely love my students, but I know my road would have been much harder had I decided to become a Dentist

HemHaw10 karma

I played violin when I was younger and kept getting told I was very good and I should keep up with it. I was first chair in my community orchestra over many experienced musicians, and sometimes soloist, even if I never practiced outside of weekly lessons.

I since have put it down when I was in high school because it wasn't a cool instrument and I was an idiot.

Fast forward to today, I'm a big dude. 6'4" with Shaq size hands. I'd love to pick up the instrument again but I have a problem that the half steps are just crazy small for me and it's hard to keep intonation.

I've heard about using a viola strung with violin strings. How crazy am I for wanting to try that? Or should I just learn viola?

In b4 you tell me about Pearlman having big hands.

erikagrl133 karma

I have what a teacher once called "sausage fingers". Don't Fret! hahaha.

It's possible. You just have to practice diligently and work on scales (especially chromatic). I promise, you can make it work!

As to using a viola with violin strings, I've never had the opportunity to do so - mostly due to laziness and not wanting to mess up my muscle memory - perhaps it could help!

toysmith9 karma

Amateur classical guitarist here, who would love to learn cello to play the Bach suites (I already play some on guitar). With reasonable practice, how many years would I be looking at to approach them?

Second question - I envy the social aspect of the violinists (playing in quartets and orchestras). Classical guitarists are a lonely lot. :-( How long would it take to be sufficiently proficient to join a community orchestra?

erikagrl1310 karma

I'm friends with a lot of classical guitarists! I wish you were in the Chicago Area, there's a'plenty there!

I couldn't begin to tell you how your practicing skills and note reading would relate since I'm a terrible guitarist - but I assume you're playing with music, not tablature?

If it's tablature, your first thing to do is to learn note reading! If you've got that in the bag - start listening to accomplished classical guitarists! See what styles you like, and search out that type of music.

From there, take the knowledge you have ( or even skip that last step) and invest in a decent student cello. Most of the known Bach Suites can be learned after having a set knowledge of music reading!

It's all about knowing where your key signatures/time signatures are - and a big part of that is listening to the piece you would like to perform.

Practice as much as you can, and as perfect as you can!

Daddingly7 karma

Fiddle player trying to pick up a nice vibrato here. Any tips for a great, smooth technique?

erikagrl1312 karma

Are you doing lots of vibrato exercises? I found that when I had to first learn vibrato, I couldn't do it at all on my violin. I learned it on the cello! Try holding your fiddle as a cello, and do the rocking exercise - but your first finger on B (A string). Move the finger in an upwards motion to A Flat then back to B! Back and forwards in a motion for as long as you can stand it! Then move to playing it - make sure you hear every step in the pitches. Eventually, move the finger faster and faster ( this will take a few weeks/months) and you should have a fantastic vibrato!) Repeat with every finger!

I felt it helped with the bordness to do this while watching tv or a movie!

erikagrl136 karma


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

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

Zak_McKrackin6 karma

How old were you when you first had a fiddle?

erikagrl136 karma

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

Faz5405 karma

Hope you're still answering! I've played guitar for 10 years, what are some of the major challenges I'll face when learning the Violin in comparison to guitar. I know Violins having frets, right?

erikagrl134 karma

No frets! :D

If you can read music, you'll have no problem! If you do tablature you'll deal with some stuff but you're gone be okay!

Almost anyplace you start out will have tapes where your fingers should go - DO NOT PLACE YOUR FINGERS LIKE FRETS!!! Tapes on the violin are ON the TAPE.

Not between.

After that? Listen to your instructor :)

boredtodeath4 karma

Can you recommend a starter violin for an adult beginner? Preferably something that can be bought online?

boredtodeath2 karma

Wow, thank you. I thought I would have to spend a lot more than this!

erikagrl132 karma

A decent price to get new musicians!

freakingfiretrucks2 karma

I've heard a lot of bad things about the Mendini brass instruments. Are the violins better quality?

erikagrl132 karma

They're student quality - you get an instrument that has usually good tone, and at a great value. I'd recommend a step or two higher ($200-$700 range) for anyone seriously committing to a student instrument.

DigiMagic4 karma

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)

erikagrl1315 karma

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

erikagrl139 karma

oh boy, and he keeps rushing more!

DigiMagic3 karma

So they've really cared about all the details! Not being a musician, I couldn't tell whether he was playing correctly and just being put to pressure for some abstract reason (like it happened to other guy that was expelled from the orchestra), or he was really making mistakes.

erikagrl133 karma

TBH I only watched about 2 minutes, but I've seen those situations with peer's teachers. It wasn't off by much, but it was noticeable

iamboit6 karma

Currently studying at a music institute which is at a comparable level to the one depicted in the movie. There are lots of really little things which break the immersion of the movie for me, one such being the counting in using 5 6 7 8. Dancers do this, musicians count 1 2 3 4.

The other major thing which made me annoyed was at the end when the kid has to play a piece of music hes never heard. I understand nerves or something play a role and the situation is pretty unique but a drummer at his percieved standard would be at least able to play in time and make something up... hed miss stops and hits and stuff but id wager that a talented jazz drummer would be able to make it seem to a lay person that everything is normal.

Finally the most annoying thing was the way the kid 'practices'. If you are bleeding then you holding the sticks wrong boy.

But i just put this stuff out of my head and enjoyed the movie for what it was... accurate no, good movie, yes.

erikagrl131 karma

It depends what time signature the piece was in! But I agree, it just seemed like actors - but there's not many accomplished actors who are also classically trained musicians so it'll take it as face value most of the time.

I've also bled from practicing too much, then again I had a string that was unraveling ....

Buttersnack5 karma

I'm a percussionist (former music major, not a professional musician). While I haven't had experiences as drastic as in the movie, I'd say it was at times "painfully realistic" (with a few exceptions). The movie shows a terrible environment that would absolutely NOT be good for actually learning music, but there are definitely people who approach it in that way. Perhaps the least realistic thing is that this teaching method does seem to somehow make him better at drums in the movie.

erikagrl135 karma

I agree, It would be teerruuublleee. But I have seen instructors throw cans, batons, stands, etc .... not great for learning, but it works for crowd control.

HutSutRawlson4 karma

Conservatory educated jazz musician here.

Whiplash is a movie that uses music education as a way to explore an unhealthy student/teacher relationship. To me, it was not a story about how great musicians are made, it was about a victim of abuse eventually identifying with his abuser. It's about Stockholm Syndrome, essentially.

My music teachers were hard on me, and some were brutally honest, but they were never physically or verbally abusive. The jazz community is very much a "boy's club" where some amount of intimidation and trash-talk is expected, but the J.K. Simmons character is a sociopath, and the movie actually points out that everyone besides Miles Teller can see that.

I thought it was a very well-made and interesting film but it doesn't really represent what you'll find in most music schools. Besides that, it completely ignored the creative part of music making, and made it out to be a cold, technical exercise.

erikagrl132 karma

You're lucky you didn't get an abusive teacher! Many of my colleagues have had stands thrown, and extreme verbal threats. Some teachers really are psychopaths!

mattkin221 karma

I was a music major. His performance is a bit dramatized, but honestly not by that much.

I've had professors make the entire group rehearse 1 single note for 2 hours until it was 'perfect,' as an example.

erikagrl131 karma


ski_in_ski_out2 karma

How can I learn violin without driving my neighbors insane? I live in an apartment building, and this is my biggest concern.

erikagrl132 karma

If you're doing a classical violin, invest in a practice mute like this:


It will mute the ballllls out of the music. And make your intonation better!

TheMaskedHamster2 karma

The violin is a chromatic instrument played by reading sheet music that maps notes to a diatonic scale.

Would you oppose teaching an alternative (simpler) form of music notation if one gained any traction?

erikagrl134 karma

I teach a very simple method for beginners - based on the Suzuki Method. I basically teach tablature, but incorporate sight-reading throughout the entirety, so when my children complete the first Suzuki book they can read the whole book - thus learning the finger positions, and the names of the notes at the same time.

I wouldn't oppose anything that would help my children learn quicker than that!

square--one1 karma

I learnt through suzuki method myself (very lapsed now!) and I don't reckon I learnt to read music until I was about 4 years in - it was all by ear.

erikagrl131 karma

I learned the same as well! It's great when you can hear a piece and then read the music and play it well, but I'd take sight-reading skills over ear training any day.

wetnike12 karma

I'm currently in high school and the one thing holding me back from advancing further is being able to shift past 3rd position. Are there any techniques you know to help hit the higher notes?

erikagrl133 karma

It's difficult to explain without showing! Basically, slide your original note to a point that you recognize (so say a B o(2nd finger) on the A string

And slide it up to a C (1st finger)

I'll show a video ant

freyer11 karma

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.


erikagrl131 karma

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!!

the_every_man1 karma

Fellow Violinist here, your playing is beautiful!

I always considered becoming a violin teacher, make some money on the side, meet some new people.

From your years of experience, what advice would you give to new teachers?

erikagrl131 karma

Do what you think will help your kids the most - I've had to go against typical standards before - and my children turned out amazing.

erikagrl131 karma

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

MrSenorSan1 karma

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?

erikagrl132 karma

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!

GeneralDelight1 karma

Can you use a violin for anything else other than as a musical instrument? Have you used a violin for anything else other than as a musical instrument?

erikagrl131 karma

A drum, and a lamp!

I also used one on fire for a friend's art exhibit!

MickeyD0121 karma

As a senior in high school, I'm in the process of learning my fifth wind instrument. I've noticed that the more instruments I have played, the easier it gets to try more, do you feel the same way about string instruments? (once you've got the general idea down, it gets easier to pick up more instruments)

erikagrl131 karma


I started on violin, picked up piano next, and cello last.

I was proficient about 4 years in on violin, about 2 years on piano, and about 6 months on cello. I wish my parents would have started me on cello since I love playing it so much - and it helped me learn vibrato!

I've since picked up bass and guitar (terrible at guitar, just okay at bass) but I'd like to learn more!

knitread1 karma

Did you learn how to play other instruments? Did you find at some point in your education that you needed to drop an instrument so that you could focus more on the violin, and how did you feel about letting the other instrument go? (Edit: Sorry...I just read about the other instruments that you can play, but if you wouldn't mind answering about how you felt about letting one of the other instruments slide, I'd appreciate your thoughts on that.)

My son plays piano and violin, but at the age of 11, with all the homework that he's getting at school, is finding it difficult to balance everything. He wasn't doing justice to either instrument, but he didn't want to give either up.

erikagrl131 karma

I went into college with 14 years of violin, and about 8 years of cello.

I'm better at violin than cello since I've done it for 6 years more, but I always regretted leaving cello behind - there's more opportunities for cellists out there! I once challenged our first chair cellist for his position when I was concertmaster (violin) and thus began the rule that people could not challenge outside of their main instrument!

I love cello, I'll never let it go - but it was sad to have to see it set aside in comparison to my violin degree.

I would assume your son has a favorite out of the two - let him decide which instrument he is in most cohesion with, and the rest will fall in place! Let him work on one instrument with his whole heart, and keep the other in the background to play around with/experiment!

Whatever your son chooses, he's still miles away from his peers who do not have an instrument to play!

RubyRod11 karma

As a Music Instructor, what did building your client/student base look like over the years? Was it mostly word-of-mouth, or advertising? A combination? Do you see a certain demographic more than others/ notice any patterns? (age, occupation, etc.) Was there any one thing that helped the most with getting students?

erikagrl131 karma

It's been tough!

I'm lucky enough to have a town that supports music like no other! (3 Jazz Bands, 2 Orchestras, 3 Bands, numerous alt. groups) all in the HS level! We also start band students in 5th grade, and orchestra performers in 4th.

We have one music store in town, and just 2 locations to take lessons from (the rest have retired since we started).

It's a great community, and we've gotten a lot of out of towners recently due to my peers gaining employment in surrounding areas!

We're mostly word of mouth now, though when we started I advertised on FB, Google, and Yelp. My demographics now are mostly children in the local school system who want an upper hand at succeeding in orchestra!

The thing that surprisingly helped the most was Craigslist Adds - especially this time of year people are looking for a new hobby/to make themselves better!

CandleBra1 karma

I have had a violin in the closet for a couple years, I'd really like to set up a regular practise schedule, but I'm painfully aware of how loud it gets (and I'm in an apartment, so I'm sure the neighbours can hear all the beginner-screeching). Any tips for being able to play at a lower volume, so I'm less of an annoyance to my neighbours?

Buttersnack1 karma

Hey! I'm a composer/percussionist (college student) and I've noticed that the vast majority of music students I meet have a TERRIBLE grasp of rhythms. Like, there are college students who can't play quarter note triplets evenly, or can't play steady upbeat 16ths. I guess my question is: How much emphasis is put on rhythm when you teach violin, and what can be done (by you, the student, school ensembles, whomever) to make sure students don't get to college without a grasp of fairly basic rhythm?

erikagrl131 karma

I start on day one with rhythm exercises. I had a HUGE problem staying in tempo when I first started high school - and most of my classmates had no idea what a metronome was............... I make sure my students have a very structural understanding since I never did. Rhythm is 98% 0f music!!!!!!

shibbypwn1 karma

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?

erikagrl131 karma

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!

pedwingeorge1 karma

Do you play in any symphonies? I took violin lessons for 10 years and my main teacher played for 4 different symphonies.

erikagrl132 karma

I do! I play in a local symphony about an hour away. It's a great time!

Jamesem231 karma

What would you say is the best age to start learning violin?

erikagrl131 karma

I would start around age 4 to 5 if you are wanting your child to become an accomplished musician early on. Of course, you can start at any age as well!!

Carnol1 karma


Thank you for doing this AMA. I am really interested in wanting to learn the violin. I was thinking about getting an electric violin as a starter since I could plug my headphones in and not bother my dad or anyone around. Do you think that is a good idea or should I start with an acoustic violin? Thank you again!

erikagrl131 karma

I would first start with looking for an instructor you like! From there, he/she will guide you on your journey to finding an appropriate violin for practice

That being said, I've always loved the sound of an acoustic (especially in a tiled room)!

CardboardBox91 karma

I bought a violin last summer but I haven't started to use it yet because I cannot afford classes. Can I learn to play properly with YouTube videos or will I get a "wrong" start? What can you suggest I start with if it's possible to self learn?

TheEpicSock3 karma

Violinist here.

I strongly recommend against self-learning from YouTube. There are a lot of bad resources (ExpertVillage comes to mind) that will do more harm than good and teach you bad habits that you'll have to unlearn later.

erikagrl131 karma


Check with local music instruction studios and inquire about discounts - the place I own has $15 lessons for people who are on government assistance/food stamps etc!

_leira_1 karma

I just received a violin for Christmas and I'm really excited to get started! I have prior experience in the high school band playing the flute, but no violin experience. How realistic is it to master the violin self-taught without any lessons? Lessons aren't in my budget at the moment, but is it something I should expect to invest in in the future?

erikagrl132 karma

If you're really interested, please set aside some money a month for lessons - but try to learn as much as you can in the meantime!

Biggest things to worry about:

Position: Make sure that you are not slouching while playing. Keep your violin in eye level at all times! NEVER let your palm touch your violin. (I call it pancake-hand!)

Strings: Make sure that you are playing on your tapes at ALL TIMES! Your hands have muscle memory just like the rest of your body. If you learn the wrong positions of the tape, it can take years to unlearn.

Bow: Make sure your pinky is curved, never let it pop into a straight position, or off of your bow. Your thumb and pointer finger may be 95% of the power, but the pinky controls a lot.

LarryLavekio1 karma

How easy is it to fix a soundpost that came loose inside a violin? My buddy decided to string up his old violin for band practice and told me about how he wants to fix it but isnt sure if he should take it to a luthier. What should he do?

alkanechain1 karma

Not OP, but I play the violin. Take it to a luthier because they have the necessary tools and knowledge to replace the sound post. Even if he managed to stand the sound post up again, having it slightly out of place can alter the tone of the instrument.

LarryLavekio1 karma

Thanks for the answer. Thats what i figured we would do with it cause it holds sentimental value to him. Hes pretty competent when it comes to repairing instrument, just never worked on a violin.

erikagrl131 karma

Agreed! A luthier can fix it, and even make the tone better! I would recommend taking in any violin every year or so to have a "tune up"

Auram11 karma

I play the piano and violin and I think I'm being slowed down by not being motivated enough to keep up daily practice for my instruments. Do you have any advice on how to persist with daily practice?

erikagrl132 karma

Don't make it a chore!

I would use practice to reward myself. When I was younger, I would practice a half hour then read a chapter of a book. Now I practice until I can't then reward myself with a movie or a show on Netflix

Try doing short practice intervals, whatever piece you're working on - do maybe 4 lines for a half hour, then take a break.

Come back, do the next 4 lines, repeat!

Make sure everything is perfect, then combine them all.

It sounds time consuming, but you're investing a lot of practice into a little amount of time that doesn't even seem that long since you're taking breaks - make sure you don't put your violin away completely or you'll never make it past the first 4 lines!

n0SkDo3puh1 karma

What do you think about Nigel Kennedy's last album?

erikagrl132 karma

Another thing I need to listen to!

bidric1 karma

I recently bought a cheap violin, having never played it before, with the intention of teaching myself. I've been browsing some books but still not sure about what's the best way to proceed. What do you suggest? Thank you so much.

erikagrl132 karma

Find a teacher that works for YOU!

If you're dead set on learning online, please keep these things in mind!

Biggest things to worry about:

Position: Make sure that you are not slouching while playing. Keep your violin in eye level at all times! NEVER let your palm touch your violin. (I call it pancake-hand!)

Strings: Make sure that you are playing on your tapes at ALL TIMES! Your hands have muscle memory just like the rest of your body. If you learn the wrong positions of the tape, it can take years to unlearn.

Bow: Make sure your pinky is curved, never let it pop into a straight position, or off of your bow. Your thumb and pointer finger may be 95% of the power, but the pinky controls a lot.

Ezeirb1 karma

Have you ever taught violin to someone in a wheelchair? Is standing required/beneficial?

erikagrl132 karma

Not a wheelchair, but in full constant crutches! She had limitations on her positioning, but we found a comfortable position that was still accurate and beautiful for her!

coolplate1 karma

-- How tight should be bow be and how do you check it?

--How do you even play violin? I had one, thing was strung funny from guitar, sounded real scratchy and I couldn't get a nice slow long note out of it.

erikagrl132 karma

There should always be a "bow" in the bow. It should never have the stick straight!

Play between the fingerboard (black wood) and the bridge (where the strings touch).

Make sure you have your bow rosined!

gkiltz1 karma

I had heard that a violin and a fiddle are tuned differently. That's the difference in the sound.



A little of both??

erikagrl131 karma


The difference is the position of the violin!

Either on the shoulder, or wayyyyy down beyond the shoulder

Ic3crusher1 karma

Have you watched Your Lie in April? If yes, what did you think of the portrayal of the culture surrounding classical music in it? If no and you want to cry your eyes out, go watch it.

erikagrl132 karma

I have not! Oh boy, I've got a bunch of stuff to watch tonight :)

theBCexperience1 karma

Do you get a lot of clients? I'm not sure if that's the right term, but I kind of wonder how many people in a given area are that motivated to learn violin.

erikagrl131 karma

we have about 30 students in our town currently, we've been open for about 19 months!

That may sound bad of typical businesses, but thats pretty good for the first year and a half of violin lessons!

cdnpaul1 karma

have you ever channeled your inner Pete Townshend and smashed your instrument?

Or witnessed a student doing it?

erikagrl135 karma

I've set fire to, and smashed a violin in my senior year of high school!

It didn't last nearly as long as I wanted it to....

T-Wing2 karma

How did you get the violin on fire? Did you soak it in anything first? Were your parents mad at you for this?

erikagrl135 karma

Soaked in gas! It was a cheap prop violin we got for 5 bucks or something that had the neck broken - my best friend took pictures for her senior art exhibit

MethaCat1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA, in your opinion as a teacher, does something like tone deaf really exists? Do you think it is hopeless? I ask you this since I think tone is very important on all instruments but incredibly hard to master on a violin.

Thanks again

erikagrl135 karma

I've seen students struggle for many years, and people who get it immediately!

Tone is important, and CAN be learned!

cptnflnt1 karma

Have you ever had a student you wish would just give up? One of my sisters was a particularly bad trombone student and I could just see her teacher cringe every time he saw her with her instrument in hand.

erikagrl133 karma

I have never wished a student would give up! I've taught children with asbergers, and who were deaf! Music is an amazing tool, and I feel sorry that your sister had to go through that!

For every "bad" student there is a "bad" teacher and I'm so sorry she had to find that person! It's just a matter of finding the correct person for the correct instrument, then finding a good instructor!

malevolentheadturn1 karma

Can you play Irish Trad music? or are you too good for it!! we are ya!?

erikagrl132 karma


It's only second to Gypsy!

And yes :)

saliersneighbor1 karma

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

erikagrl133 karma

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 :)

haps341 karma

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?

erikagrl132 karma


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 ...

pascal_1 karma

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

erikagrl131 karma

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

stratman771 karma

Hey there! I'm a musician (mainly guitar) and I've been super interested in learning violin for quite some time. I didn't know if you had any recommendations for a solid beginner instrument?

I have no idea what I'm supposed to be looking for in a new violin! I was looking at this, but couldn't find any reviews and didn't know if you've had any experience with this brand? Thank you so much!


erikagrl132 karma

stratman771 karma

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

erikagrl132 karma

No Problem :)

StudlyMadHatter1 karma

What would you tell an aspiring violinist they might hope to earn for a salary someday? I've heard it varies wildly depending on the quality of the orchestra you join vs just teaching lessons, but by how much and what are the odds of making it to a given level?

erikagrl138 karma

It's not great!

I was told by my instructors (and of course, my parents), that the life of a musician is sketchy to say the least.

I personally play with a Symphony that is local, and pays local type pay. I'm not in it for the money. You can't be in it for money unless you're 100% in it to win it.

Chicago Symphony Concertmaster (First Chair) makes $553,333 a year - but they get about 20 days off from touring. The highest in the USA is the New York Philharmonic at $578,419.

Do I make that? Absolutely not.

I'm lucky if I clear $4,000 with my local orchestra year, and the rest comes from students, and working a night job.

Many musicians have 3 or 4 orchestras they perform with - but I work as a bartender, and sadly I make more money bartending than performing.

It's not a glamorous job, but outings such as weddings and Holiday Parties make up for a lot!

Confused_dust5 karma

Thanks for being so honest!

erikagrl133 karma

Of course! But please keep playing!!

kernelchagi1 karma

Hi, I'm searching for short super nice funny sounding exercises to warm up. Can you please recomend me some? I used to play regularly for 12 years, the last concert i played was "zigeunerweise" from pablo sarasate which i enjoyed a lot :)

erikagrl131 karma

Did you ever do Suzuki? if so, I can recommend the following to rehearse:

Fiocco - Allegro Bach - Courante Handlel - Sonata #3 (Allegro)

kernelchagi1 karma

Yes, i made suzuki, kreutzer, bloch etc ... thank you! I would like to play some piece with an accordeon like a tango or so ... and i'm also searching for short pieces for only violin some that souds nice and funny which i could play in the streets ... i played one time the ungarian folk-dances from Bartok those were nice with some technical passaged but not that difficult, but with piano ...

erikagrl131 karma

A real show-stopper is Czardas by Monti!

One of my favorites!

un-geek1 karma


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

erikagrl131 karma

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!

citizentopher1 karma

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?

erikagrl131 karma

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!


Heifetz, Sarasate, Heifetz

PlumbumGus2 karma

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

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

erikagrl131 karma

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

jawbygibbs2 karma

That kind of attitude about secondary education for musicians is part of the reason why so many classically trained players are ignorant of anything unrelated to being a technically skilled musician. For my undergrad I went to a conservatory that requires a double major in performance and a non musical degree, and I am so grateful that I stuck it out (it's a 5 year program). Being trained to know how to satisfy my intellectual curiosity with rigorous academic work has made me a much more well rounded musician capable of effectively expressing myself with more than just my instrument.

erikagrl132 karma

I appreciate the value that universities have with a rounded education, but when I'm going to school to learn more about music - a chem and astronomy class aren't doing me any favors with my GPA.

I went on to get a Associates in Business, and General studies - and believe me, my chem class got me no further than figuring out not to mix bleach with ammonia.

hockeytoronto-3 karma


erikagrl132 karma

all that wood?