Monday, March 11, 2013

Can Learning a New Instrument be Done Frugally?

While Sgt G and I have been separated I have been going to a counselor. She has been encouraging me to figure out who I am, and what I enjoy doing, apart from others. She had me write down a list of things I thought I might enjoy. She challenged me to try some without being afraid of failing, or not liking it after all. Typically I am a all or nothing type of gal (and that's something we are working on too....) Once I decide I want to do something, I buy or procure anything I might need to do it. If I want to learn golf, it would be logical to rent some clubs (or borrow) and take a lesson or two. Instead, I would buy an entire set of golf clubs, matching tees, outfits, gloves, visor, etc. You get the point. My "education" does not come cheap. This also hinders me, because when I am on a budget, I will not try and learn a new skill for fear of costing too much money. This is a character trait I am trying to rectify. I can learn new skills, and stick to a budget at the same time. One of the things on my list that I am interested in doing, is learning to play a string instrument. I feel equally excited about learning guitar or violin. I will most likely never be incredibly good at either, since I have the worst sense of rhythm (which is why I do not dance. ever.) but I am not going to let that stop me. I might not even like it, so I didn't want to invest a huge chunk of money in this endeavor. Once I decided I could try guitar OR violin, I turned to Craigslist. I searched for both instruments and sent a lot of emails. I ended up buying a violin today for a grand total of $40. It came with a bow and carrying case. I will most likely take it to the local music store to have them give it a once over. It seems to be in good condition, has all the strings, and makes noise (music to those who know how to play it, just noise when I try). The carrying case looks like crap on the outside. Maybe the seller's dog got a hold of it? Maybe their cat liked to scratch it? I like to think its beat up because they took it everywhere with them. Sure, I would have loved to go to the music store and bought a $200 dollar violin, matching case and any accessories that looked appealing. Instead I have a ratty case, and a pretty piece of wood and strings. For $40, if I decide the violin is not for me, I can re-sell it and not take a huge loss. If I love it, and need a better instrument later, I will have the chance to save up for a better used one. So my friends, I urge you to look for something used and cheap when you want to learn a new skill. At least until you know if that skill is something you really enjoy. I am all about having quality items, but you don't need to rush out and spend a ton of money before you are sure. I would love to relearn piano (I played as a child due to my mom teaching piano out of our home) but I won't have access to one in Maryland, and even used pianos can be super expensive. Maybe someday I will snag a free one on Craigslist. Until then I will stick with my $40 violin.

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