Learning to play the violin as an adult string player is more inspiring when you have a group of fellow learners to play along with.
Playing with others not only reinforces the techniques you’re learning via further practice and instruction, it also legitimizes the songs you’re learning because it makes the music come alive in a more energized way.
Use community resources to find your jam
Unlike students, who typically take classes at a music school or join orchestra groups on their school campuses, adult violinists have to reach out to seek membership in a group, ensemble, or regular community jams (a great place to build your improvisational skills).
As we post this, we are still in the process of emerging from the pandemic. So, while some groups have found ways to meet safely outside at the beach, large parks, or other outdoor locations, others use online platforms to play together. Here are places to begin finding your jam.
Ask your violin instructor or local music school
If you’re taking lessons with a local violin teacher, odds are they are your first best bet for group learning. If there isn’t already some type of group in your area, your instructor can begin asking their other adult students to find others who are interested in a group format.
Some music schools structure adult classes in a group format and that’s a win-win for your mission. In addition to getting to connect and learn with others, there’s a good chance members of the class will be interested in further group practice and playing opportunities.
The music school or your instructor may also know of other local groups that have weekly or monthly get-togethers for violinists, other string instrumentalists, or community orchestras that are open to beginning and intermediate players.
Connect with a local community orchestra
Many communities, including small towns, have a community orchestra of some kind. While some of these groups are highly competitive, others are not. In fact, community orchestras are often very open to having beginner players. There are many benefits to joining an orchestra, even if you’re no longer in school.
These conductors and orchestra members do it for the love of the music and want to encourage others to take part in the fun of developing musicianship. Your part can be adjusted to your playing level, and the extra practice time and additional instruction from the conductor, as well as the support of the more experienced violinists around you, will accelerate your learning.
Visit your local music store
Forming a relationship with a local music store means instant access to the experts, luthiers, and string accessories you will need along the way. Also, the employees and fellow shoppers have their finger on the pulse of the music groups, orchestras, ensembles, and regular jams in your area. Many of them are string musicians too!
Ask if they know of any groups that allow beginning violinists to join the mix and odds are you’ll walk out the door with a list of contacts. If not, ask if you can post a flyer advertising your interest, which may bring the group to you.
Get social on platforms such as Facebook & MeetUp
Perform searches on social media platforms such as Facebook, MeetUp, or NextDoor. Filter events based on where you live or work. Craigslist is also a potential source. Search terms such as:
Adult violin groups
Ensembles for adult string players
Community jams for violinists
String quartets (or ensembles) for beginners
Odds are one of those social media platforms will lead you to a musical group that meets your needs. If not, your hunt can put you in touch with others who can connect you with other individuals or groups.
We highly recommend joining an adult learning group, or a community jam group, to continue developing violin playing skills in a real-world way.
Can’t find a group in your area? It might be time to start your own. Read Part 2 of this post, where we’ll give you tips on how to form your own group and get members.