Founder's Blog

Quitting the Violin

There is a unique semantics shift as a music student gets older. It is specific to the topic of stopping playing music.

When a child decides she no long wants to play, she says she is ‘quitting.’ But if the student makes it past high school still playing, and then quits, she says she is ‘stopping.’

Those 2 words — quitting and stopping — have such different emotional baggage.

Quitting says: “I give up.” “I can’t do this.”

Stopping says: “This no longer serves my needs.” “I can do this thing, but I don’t want to anymore.”

The words also describe why people stop/quit — 1. Difficult obstacles 2. Misaligned goals.

Difficult obstacles

  1. It was really hard and I became discouraged.

  2. I was unable to read music very well.

  3. It was not very fun.

  4. I hated to practice.

  5. I got interested in other activities.

Misaligned goals

  1. I am not a big-group person and didn’t really want to play in an orchestra.

  2. I wanted to play other styles of music.

  3. The music was no longer relevant to me.

The obstacles tend to cause students to quit in the first 3 years of playing.

Students that have been playing longer than a few years, who have developed some proficiency and yet stop, tend to do so because what they see as the goal of their music education does not line up with their own goals.

Of the 4 people responsible for music education — teacher, parent, student, ‘community’ — some carry the burden for addressing each of these issues more than others.