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Playing violin after high school

Learning to play the violin in grade school often marks the beginning of a lifelong musical journey. As students progress through high school, their skills and passion for the instrument can deepen significantly, but what happens after graduation? Fortunately, continuing to play the violin after high school opens up a world of opportunities; whether it's pursuing formal music education, joining community orchestras, or performing at local events.

Music college isn't your only option

Young man with glasses and headphones around his neck, carrying a violin case, smiling while walking on a tree-lined path.

Students who want to continue to play violin after high school may think college is a defining moment. Either they pursue musical studies full-time, or they quit playing to focus on school. For many, the decision comes down to time and money. Dedicated music colleges often require a significant investment of both, while music programs at larger universities might offer more scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Additionally, the less restrictive environment of a general college allows students to explore other interests and career paths alongside their passion for the violin.

Alternative options include enrolling in music programs at traditional colleges and universities. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Your college orchestra: Once you're at college, don't hesitate to explore various avenues to continue playing. Joining the college orchestra is a fantastic way to maintain a structured playing schedule.
  2. Go local: If your college doesn’t have an orchestra, or if it's restricted to music majors, look into local community orchestras which often welcome players of all backgrounds.
  3. Music programs at colleges: See if you can minor in music or take some music classes as electives. This can enhance your academic experience and provide more structured learning and playing opportunities. Also, explore options to take lessons, perhaps from professors, graduate students, or through community outreach programs.

One last thing to consider: Before heading off to college, connect with your high school violin teacher for advice and possibly some future contacts. You can also reach out directly to your college orchestra director or violin teacher who can help you integrate quickly into the music scene.

The future of your playing career

Beyond college, the opportunities expand even further. Many violinists find joy and a sense of fulfillment in teaching music, whether in schools, private lessons, or through community programs. Others may pursue positions in professional orchestras or smaller chamber groups.

Furthermore, it's important to acknowledge the significant impact of music education on mental health. The discipline, focus, and joy that come from playing the violin can be a profound source of stress relief and mental clarity. The emotional expression found through music allows for a form of communication and personal growth, which can be particularly valuable during the transition out of high school and beyond.

Playing the violin in college is more than just a hobby; it sets the stage for your lifelong musical journey.

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