Coming back into the 'game'

Edited: October 8, 2017, 7:48 PM · For those who haven't read my previous posts, I played violins for 1-2 years when I was 9-10, and I got back into playing after about 4-5 years ago to strengthen my left shoulder after 2 surgeries on it.

Prior to summer, I spend 1-2 hours on practice everyday. I was on a work trip to Europe over the summer, and the only time I got to play a violin was my supervisor's in England for a few days.

After I got back home, I decided to tone down playing very much and decided to sell my gold ridden JonPaul Vetta bow. I actually sold it couple of weeks ago when I really needed money to get past a tragedy. My best friend has passed away in a car accident, and I needed the money to travel. Until then my practice rate was about 1 hour per 2 weeks.

After the messy month, I'm feeling better, and I think the first thing that cheered me up was playing my violin again. I am now back to 1-2 hours practice per day.

The truth is, that I was very fond of the Vetta bow, my current bow hasn't quite been the same since the frog got cracked. In a timely manner, I was given a lump sum of money from the Veterans Affairs which gave me enough money to spend on many things. I've allocated a chunk for violin also. I actually first decided to buy my luthier made instrument, but I am realizing that I may be a little late, because she has people lined up for it already. I'm also realizing that I may not be ready for the new instrument, rather I am planning to invest in my current one.

I'm planning to get a new fingerboard(it now has a bump but no buzz yet, and it is quite thin already), along with the bridge and nut raised, and maybe a new bow, and I've already ordered frogs online and I will ask my luthier to modify the frog to fit the bow.

I'm also planning to try some gut strings when my Infeld Red gives out.

I'm realizing that this hobby is to stay for life, same with my current violin.

Has anyone else felt so attached to playing violin who is not a professional musician?

Replies (18)

October 8, 2017, 8:04 PM · My honest opinion is that being a violinist is a lifestyle, more than a profession. Whether you are an amateur or professional, it becomes part of who you are. A permanent, happy musical marriage, till death do you apart. When you see it as a mere "job", and wish to "retire" ASAP, it sucks the joy of music making away from you.

I think that even if it's for you a "Hobby", you should devote a lot of effort and time in order to enjoy the process more. Not everyone has the time to be sure, but every second spent intelligently on music making and/or developing your skills is quite worth it.

The violin is an amazing instrument. We are lucky to be able to play it and explore it's rich repertoire.

Edited: October 8, 2017, 9:23 PM · Welcome back! :)

I'm still too new to determine if I will be really attached to playing violin though I don't see any reason or feel anything negative that would make me stop playing.

EDIT: typo

October 9, 2017, 6:58 AM · Violinism is a chronic disease. It cannot be cured, but you can learn to live with it....
October 9, 2017, 8:09 AM · Nice to see you back Steven!
October 9, 2017, 5:04 PM · thanks Jean and John. Honestly, the weird part is that my technique has improved quite a bit. I am more confident and more aggressive in playing, resulting in more bow hair breaking.
October 10, 2017, 10:05 AM · I imagine there are a fair amount of amateurs that are pretty dedicated to their violin practice. I think in certain ways, it is easier to have a non-music job and then play as a break, as opposed to going from teaching and performing to practice. Us amateurs have the luxury of not feeling the pressure of having it be a job.
Edited: October 10, 2017, 3:54 PM · Yup, as Adalberto said, being a violinist is a lifestyle.

I'm not a professional violinist, but I have on and off played for more than 15 years with long hiatuses in between. Life takes place and one goes into different directions, but violin will always pull you back if it meant to be yours. My life these days is pretty much all around violin. I still take regular lessons. I practice anywhere between 2-5 hours a day. When I'm not practicing, I think about it all the time. I work on solo works, attending music camps and chamber music workshops, play in a local conservatory orchestra. I listen, read, watch and discuss anything interesting about violin. I even dream about the passages that I'm working on or recently performed. I regulate coffee and tea drinking according to the schedule of my violin rehearsal/performance. I exercise in a certain way that I don't over-work on my wrist or elbows... I can go on for a long time, but you get the idea why I think Adalberto is just spot-on: being a violinist is a lifestyle.
October 10, 2017, 1:51 PM · I played from 4th grade up into my mid 20's and then took a break until just currently (I'm now 48) I have very much enjoyed getting back into it, and almost think I am more dedicated to practicing now then when I was younger.
October 10, 2017, 4:43 PM · I think what prohibited from playing throughout the years from 10 and up was really discouragement from the family. I wasn't "allowed" to play when they were in the house. Also, the middle and high school music program didn't allow bowed string music, which made me to switch to Alto Sax for a while.
October 10, 2017, 5:00 PM · "Has anyone else felt so attached to playing violin who is not a professional musician?"

Yes Steven, I think about my violin a lot when I'm at work, when I'm cooking, when I'm driving....

I'm not any good yet, been playing just under two and a half years, had only 3 lessons...try to play every day but lately been working a lot and only play 3 or 4 days a week, for 30 to 90 minutes usually. Meanwhile I'm always reading books about music, listening to classical music whenever I can.

Basically, since I gave up on politics as a futile waste of time, my life has turned to music. As a father, I live for my son, but anything in life that is truly for me rather than for him...is music. Luckily he's totally into classical music and a talented (if lazy) musician.

I will never quit the violin unless my hands stop working....

October 10, 2017, 5:40 PM · I can’t with absolute certainty since I’m new too, say how attached I am to my violin. However, in this moment I can’t foresee setting it down for more than a day. I love my practice sessions with and without my teacher. I look forward to playing smoothly anything and I’m always surprised how easily (specially at my age) I remember all those notes. Actually I don’t intentionally memorize them, they just end up where they need to be. Anyway, I’m just loving my adventure.
October 11, 2017, 7:16 AM · Will, one of the problems that I face is that I have arthritis which prohibits me from playing in the winter, in any cold-dry condition. This means, I pretty much only play/play the most in the spring-summer-autumn, and summers are being consumed with travel and work, and so is spring and autumn nowdays.
October 11, 2017, 8:49 AM · A friend of mine has arthritis that tries to get in the way of her playing violin. She refuses to let it. She eats a lot of asprin and takes a couple days off every few months. I think she should slow down on the asprin but she will never listen. Still she deals with it as she thinks she should. Do what you can, just don't hurt yourself in the process.
October 27, 2017, 7:07 AM · I should mention, I gave in, and now I own a Scott Cao Model 017 Cello also.
October 31, 2017, 10:40 PM · All of this rings so true! I played piano first, then violin at school reaching the ABRSM grade 8 when I was 18. Then came University, then work and family and all of a sudden, I was 60 and retired having barely touched my violin for all those years!
I joined a local orchestra, found a teacher and even blew(invested) big money having a violin made......and then finding the right bow for it.
Now I am working for a performance diploma in a few weeks time and like so many posters on this blog, violin is a big irreplacable part of my life again even after a 40 year break.
I take a little longer to learn pieces, my fingers dont stretch the way I'd like, and my trills are slower than I used to manage, but I like to think the intervening years have made me a better musician.........
November 2, 2017, 2:19 PM · Steven,

You are a fellow violinist and veteran, we have a bit in common. I came to the instrument late for childhood family reasons that I won't repeat in this post.

Yes, there are a lot of us who find joy in playing and have made the violin a lifetime pursuit.

What form of arthritis do you have - osteo or rheumatoid? What is the effected part of your body? I know others with arthritis who do manage to play despite the malady.

Edited: November 3, 2017, 10:14 PM · Hi George,

I think my best answer to the type of arthritis is that it is Canadian. I'm only saying that because my "diagnosis" was when a doctor I went to see just stared at my hands, made no physical contact and "diagnosed" with arthritis and told me to take anti-inflammator/pain killers. I say it's Canadian, because Canadian doctors never take patients seriously, nor make proper diagnosis, and I've given up seeking proper treatment.

Even earlier this week, I had a minor stroke, and the Emergency room staff told me after 5 hours, without running any scan, to diagnose me with "Weakness". Only my nurse friend after hearing about that the next day freaked out and had CT scan done on my head.

I also have a scar on my eye ball from having a metal shard stuck in it, and the emergency room doctor diagnosing me with "pink eye", even while I still had the metal piece sticking out of my eye ball. Thankfully, a very skillful nurse friend took it out for me.

Bottom line, I have no proper diagnosis of what type of arthritis, a credit to Canadian health care system.

I am now again able to play my violin, but I will see if there will be a seasonal pause due to the Canadian arthritis in the coming Winter.

Edited: November 4, 2017, 9:26 AM · I have osteoarthritis (left hand and left knee) - so it is not something you can see by just looking at my hands (i.e., no swollen knuckles). I take two Kirkland "Glucosamine HCL with MSM tablets" and one"Instaflex" capsule every morning. With these pills I have less trouble moving and less pain than I did when I was 70 (13 years ago).

Also, if one is taking a statin to lower cholesterol that can really cause muscle and joint pain for some people.

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