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When showing off it isn´t worth it

February 8, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Throughout my violin career I have been surrounded by all types of violinists, virtuosos, terrible players, snobby violinists, silly violinists and every other type of violinists there is under the planet. I find most violinist I play with to be great people, fun, serious about their playing, dedicated but at the same time relaxed and know how to enjoy music. But occasionally I encounter the type of violinists I like to refer to as "show-off"

I think every violinist knows the type. It´s the person that sits in the front in orchestra, always and hates sitting in the back brags endlessly about the difficulty of the piece they´re playing,  when not playing they sit and scribble endlessly into their notes and appear to be in deep musical thought. and the worst thing; when it´s time for break at rehearsal they sit behind and start practising their notes, really loudly and exuberantly, meanwhile they look over their shoulder with a knowing glance, checking whether people are listening and admiring their amazing violin ability. I´d like to point out that obviously I´m generalizing.

I was once in rehearsal in my youth orchestra and it was break. While most of the musicians stood up, stretched and took the chance to relax and eat, the violin sitting in front in the first violin decided it was time to practise. She sat down, whipped up her violin and started technique exercises. She played really fast and with a loud tone. And of course she started looking around, checking whether people were admiring her. And indeed few of the younger violinists were listening to her shyly. I watched the violinist continue her exuberant playing and then I realized something. Her super flashy technique was in fact a Schradieck exercise, in the 1st position. It´s an exercise I use almost everytime I play and consider it finger bootcamp. It´s a great finger strengthening exercise and good to warm up with but it´s very basic. The flashy, awesome technique the girl wanted everyone to admire her for was in fact a very basic exercise but it sounds really flashy if played fast enough. 

I couldn´t help but laugh when I noticed this. The great show off was in fact a very simple exercise played in a flashy manner. I suppose in that manner we can show offs but I have no interest in that. Showing off just isn´t worth it.

From Christina C.
Posted on February 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

I do know the type and I often find it irrirating. On the other hand I also know that people's schedules nowadays are so crazy that often the only time they manage to get the violin under the chin is during rehearsals for music groups.

From Alexis Barton
Posted on February 12, 2011 at 2:12 PM

I don't fit this description... I'm a freshman in high school. I'm pretty shy about my playing (and just in general), I help pull kids out for private lessons when they're behind or need some help in my school district's elementary orchestra, I help my friends with pieces they're doing, etc. I usually sit in the front because that is where my school orchestra teacher puts me. I usually play the solos, too. However, last year I was deemed a "snob" and "stuck up" because I usually get picked for stuff. There are some instances where I haven't wanted to do things. I don't usually care whether I get the solos or not. But everyone else does... they believe that me not talking much is my way of silently saying I'm better than everyone else. I would gladly help one of them learn the solo if they believe they can do better. It's not that important to me. I just play because I love to play.

I think there is a difference between being shy and being snobby though. Obviously the person you have described isn't shy, but there are people that are.

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