There’s an African proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
For evidence of the wisdom in this proverb, one can look to a person who calls herself Violin Noobie. “I wanted to see if it was possible to learn to play the violin as an adult,“ she writes on her YouTube profile.
According to GOOD magazine, Violin Noobie is 24 years old and lives in Norway. Via her YouTube channel, Violin Noobie shares videos of the progress she has made since beginning learning to play violin — a notoriously difficult instrument to learn — just a little more than two years ago. “I started playing the violin in April 2013 when I was 21 years old,” she explains on her Facebook page. “I had no earlier musical knowledge, and the violin is the first instrument I have learned.”
This five-minute video shows the arc of her progress. It’s remarkable and inspiring.
It’s so impressive how she embraces her learning with humor (“You may want to turn down the volume a bit”), humility, perseverance and — clearly — dedication.
The video also debunks the usual excuses one often hears to dismiss the thought of learning an instrument: “I’m too old”; “I’ll sound bad”; “I’ll look foolish”; “It’s not worth the effort.”
Violin Noobie seems to have laughed at these fears — even embraced them as she shared video of her early practice sessions. And to hear her play the violin now, she has plenty to smile about. Will she play for the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra? Well, probably not, but could she play in a community ensemble, do a solo coffeehouse gig, perform for family and friends, or simply enjoy making music? Absolutely yes.
As GOOD magazine’s Mike Albo writes in his post about this video, Violin Noobie’s experience can be motivating in music and beyond. “Remember this,” Albo writes, “when you decide it’s too much work to stick with your resolution to take up knitting or write a screenplay.”