Violin Is Hard But Life Is Harder (or, reminding myself why I went down this crazy path with a Kennedy quote)April 17, 2013 03:24
People always ask me if playing the violin is hard. Personally, I feel like it's the wrong question, since the hard parts have always been playing catch-up to other musicians who were lucky enough to have non-procrastinating parents that got them in lessons at 6 years old (Mine promised me lessons on our upright piano all my childhood. I don't think it has ever been seriously played or tuned in all my 21 years). Also, finding time and inclination to practice after you just turned 21 and oh look! It's that shiny happy hour coaxing away not just my time, but money that could be spent on a re-hair.
When I first decided to take up my violin, I expected criticism or discouragement, especially from other musicians, because I was 19 and very quickly decided that I could not live without it being the main part of my life. I had been so depressed before I found my instrument, not playing sounded like death. Still, without the encouragement I get on a daily basis, from friends, family, teachers, and total strangers who talk to me as I wait for the bus case on back, I could not keep this up.
The bow may seem easy compared to what your right hand does on a piano, but one must slowly build subtle muscle memory in order to not sound like a dying cat, in a hand position most people cannot hold for more than a minute, while replicating the finest nuances of the human voice, and, oh yeah, balancing the thing on your collarbone (I play restless so it goes double for me).
Heck, even care is difficult, with it's finicky pegs and specialized luthiers and rosin dust and soft, soft varnish that forced me to get a very flat engagement ring so I could break my own rule about metal not being let within 10 feet of my precious instruments.
Previous entries: January 2013
Revisit Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles' coverage from Canada of the 2013 Montreal International Musical Competition, including her interview with gold medalist Marc Bouchkov.
Arashi Lilith is from Berkeley, California. Biography
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!