This week I traveled with my family all the way across the United States, from Los Angeles to Orlando, to see grandparents and family and visit some theme parks.
All I can say about the plane trip is: Whatta pain!
First of all, we traveled on United Airlines. As we were checking our luggage, the person in front of us was assessed an extra $100 for having an overweight bag. In fact, everyone is now being charged even for a first bag on United. If people have to pay $15 each way to check even just one bag (and $25 for a second bag), I'm guessing that more people will opt to carry at least one bag on the plane. That will make for less room in those overhead compartments, and what does this mean for someone carrying a violin?
It can't be good news.
This time I wasn't flying with a fiddle, but the last time I flew, just a few months ago, I was. That time, I was flying from LA to Cincinnati on Delta, and I was flying with my good violin. Considering all the bad stories about Delta not allowing musicians carry their instruments on the plane, I was worried enough to carry a copy of the agreement that the American Federation of Musicians worked out with Delta a year ago, when it lifted the union's boycott of the airline. To my pleasant surprise, I had no problems carrying the violin on board, and there was plenty of room in the overhead bins for my violin.
Despite that, I was still quite worried about people shoving their heavy, clunky-wheeled suitcases up against my violin case. And this was several months ago, before this new business about charging for each and every bag. My guess is that there will be less carry-on space on planes with these new charges.
What has been your experience, in the last year, flying with your violin? Did you fly with no problems? Were your detained by security over your violin, was your violin refused aboard the plane? I'm wondering, what is the current state of affairs on this issue? Tell us your personal experiences below.
Today is the summer solstice, and we can feel it here at V.com world headquarters in Pasadena, where temperatures are well in the 90s and creeping toward 100.
In other words, it's summer!
It's time to get to music camp and practice eight hours a day, to soak in all the music possible. It's time to play summer concerts, form a new chamber group, review three etude books just for fun and learn a new concerto.
It's time to put away my fiddle and go to the beach! Concentrate? During the summer? Time to go on a month-long trek down the Colorado River on a raft, and the fiddle's not coming along!
What does it look like for you this summer? Is it the time when you can cast everything else aside and work on the violin, or have you been so hard at work during the rest of the year that you need to take a break and feed your soul something else?
I think either answer is all right. For me, it's a mixture of both. Though I'm taking a monthlong sabbatical from teaching, I plan to brush up on some Bach, polish some Ysaye. I also have a few performances, as well as some jam sessions planned with some non-classical musician friends. Still, I'm going to call it a break.
What's your plan for this summer?
Here are a few of the stories I've heard: the professor who left his Strad in its case without zipping the case: he picked up his case and the violin came smashing to the floor. "Always, ALWAYS fully close and zip your case!" admonished the friend who told me that one.
Another person told me about someone who placed her violin on top of the car, then ran right over it when it slid off...I can barely stand to think about that! Ever since the day I heard that story, nearly 20 years ago, I've never placed my violin on the roof of my car, or even beside my car. I don't care if the story is even true, the thought frightens me silly!
Have you ever broken or destroyed your violin?
Not to dredge up any painful memories, not to fan your worst fears, but....it happens.
Mostly with kids, but sometimes we adults take a spill down the steps or have an accident. (Okay, that was a fiddle, but it can't have been too good for the bow, either!)
I've actually broken two bows, both when I was a pre-adolescent. The first, I was holding my fiddle an bow in the "proper' rest position while climbing the stairs after a performance, wearing a kind of dress shoe that my 12-year-old feet were not adept in. Actually, I'm still not so adept in heels! At any rate, the steps, the bow hanging straight down, the awkward shoes = disaster. I tripped on my bow and....SNAP! These days I tell my students to hold their bows up when walking with them.
My very next bow underwent a similar fate. I turned to the bow that had come with a very, very old violin that had been in my grandmother's attic. That bow proved rather cheap; I was tightening it one day, and SNAP! The tip simply snapped off.
Whew. Not pleasant to think of those big potholes in Memory Lane. Have you ever broken a bow?
Violinist Frank Almond tells the life story of the 1715 Lipinski Strad in his new recording, "A Violin's Life."
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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