How long does it take?

Posted: 10/4/2005 7:34:29 PM

Joined: 4/28/2005

I am tempted to try the theremin again. I tried a year ago, but had a defective instrument that drifted badly.

I am tempted to get an Etherwave standard, and start over. How long does it take....not to be good enough to play in public....not to be good enough to enter Jason's contests....but simply to enjoy playing the instrument?

How long did it take for the people here to "warm up" to the know that you wanted to play this insane thing....were you immediately smitten, or did it take time to develop the relationship?


Posted: 10/4/2005 7:51:48 PM

From: Greenville, NC

Joined: 6/21/2005

it took time for me, as i think it takes with everyone approaching a new instrument. i started with watching the videos that came with the etherwave standard, to get the basic technique down. then i just played with slower classical pieces for a long time (beethoven pieces were my first ones). playing with music is really fun and helps you get comfortable. it's hard to just make music out of nowhere on the theremin at first, without any reference.
put on some ambient and play along for hours...
Posted: 10/5/2005 1:05:36 AM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

How long it takes depends on a number of factors... I would think if one has acheived proficiency on another instrument (piano, etc) that one could focus on theremin technique and not have the added load of learning theory, etc. Motivation has a lot to do with learning, too. Do you have to force yourself to practice or is it something you enjoy doing? Are you willing to seek knowledge from others?

Though I am a trained musician, I am new to the Theremin and wouldn't presume to have any Theremin-specific pointers. I am myself learning to play this beautiful instrument.

From a philosophical standpoint, it takes a lifetime of continual learning to master anything.

As beatifully as masters such as Pamelia Kurstin play... well... they had to start somewhere, right? To learn to play a scale properly is to walk on the same path that the masters have walked.

If you are drawn to the Theremin, by all means purchase the Etherwave, practice with care and humility, accept that there will be plateaus in your progress and never be discouraged. You will probably surprise yourself.

Good luck!
Posted: 10/5/2005 7:27:38 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Very inspiring words, kk. Thanks.

For me, it was watching the Lydia Kavina "Mastering the Theremin" video (which probably should have been called "A nice introduction to the theremin"). Before that, I really had no idea what I was doing. Seeing her tips for practicing phrasing, practicing with the left hand independently from the right, etc. really opened my eyes.

I definitely encourage you to try the contest songs, even if you're not comfortable submitting an entry. One of our the goals with the contests is to help people stretch their playing abilities by getting them to play music they might not otherwise ever try.
Posted: 10/5/2005 9:10:33 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

I loved the instrument the first time I played one in a local science museum.

The antennae are aluminim plates shaped like hands.

That particular instrument is still there, although it needs some work. The last time I played it the volume did not get very loud at all.

Anyway, I loved it instantly so when I had the chance to trade an old International Scout for an Etherwave Standard I jumped at the chance.

Now, becoming proficient...that's a different story. It took me a couple of years before I ever played it in public.
Posted: 10/5/2005 1:27:11 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

If you have a love for the instrument then it'll be enjoyable to play within seconds of plugging it in. The theremin has such a steep learning curve to begin with that you can't help but have fun! It's amazing to watch anyone try out a theremin for the first time. Most people are horribly disorientated by the method of tone production, but after a few minutes of experimentation the jumps in skill are incredible.

Provided you can keep the flame of enthusiasm for the instrument alive, and not be deterred by its inherent difficulties then it should be enjoyable to play from the very start. :-)
Posted: 10/6/2005 11:01:03 AM

Joined: 4/28/2005

So, if I get an Etherwave standard from a place with a return policy, I would likely know if the instrument is "for me" or not?

Posted: 10/6/2005 11:35:51 AM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

Well, when I got mine I was *terrified* of failing at the thing when I first started. It was so difficult, I thought I'd never get the hang of it, and perhaps that it'd been a complete waste of money. After about an hour's perseverance however, things began to click into place, and recognisable (though be they terribly off-key) melodies began to emanate from the ether.

I just fell in love with the instrument, and knew that it was my ideal instrument. I just loved every aspect of it.
Posted: 10/6/2005 12:56:38 PM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Thereminless, that would probably be a good way to go.

A better option would be if you can find someone who owns one and play theirs a few times.

That's how I decided on the Etherwave Standard.
Posted: 10/7/2005 6:34:52 PM

Joined: 4/28/2005

Unfortunately, I live some distance from any city of any size. I think it would be difficult to find anyone who has even heard of the theremin, let alone actually have one to try. If I lived in a major city, it would likely be possible.


You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.