(because exams are passion-killers for anything)
...bought a viola for less than £100 in 2006, but only started playing it in 2008...and ended up paying more for a replacement case!
Over the past couple of years I've rediscovered the concept of playing music for personal pleasure having been through the trauma of playing music for other people's pleasure (irrespective of whether the piece being played was kind on the ear - so long as it got good marks when examiners listened to it!)
I play in a string orchestra in London - the only viola player at the moment. Even the cellos outnumber me! The good thing though is that our tutor/conductor understands the concept of playing for personal pleasure and isn't worried about the sorts of things that would have the purists spluttering in their Earl Grey. He also knows his stuff inside out (both music and history of), is patient and is a very good communicator.
As well as sharing and seeking advice on all things musical, I'm also here to sympathise with anyone who has had to put up with people who have "life on a piece of paper" type mindsets - i.e. where they judge you by the grades you received on the various exams you did. (Strange views from someone with a good track record in exams generally )
So...hello everyone. Hope all is well and that you're having lots of fun in the music world.