Printer-friendly version

Discovering the violin

November 12, 2008 at 6:44 PM

I've been playing violin now for about 8 months, and was thinking the other day about the reasons why I started playing violin - first of all because I've wanted to play since I was little but never had the chance, and because I wanted an instrument that I can take with me wherever I go, as I travel a lot and too often find myself somewhere where i don't have access to a piano, my main instrument.  Not very strong reasons, right?

But now I've realized that my reasons for playing have changed.  I've fallen in love with the instrument. - it has taken me down a path of discovery in which there are so many cool things to learn, about playing and about the instrument itself.  Every new thing I learn makes me fall more in love with the instrument.  For example, I had difficulty being able to tell if I was playing in tune or not until I discovered that if you play a note that matches an open string, that string will vibrate as well and resonate.  Since then I always listen for the resonance, and have discovered that even those notes without corresponding open strings sound clearer/less muddy and seem to resonate as well when played in tune.  This is probably old news for most of you, but for a beginner, realizing this makes a big difference in playing.  I like the idea that the violin gives you feedback/input on what you are doing.  And there are other things about the instrument itself that I find totally awesome.  Like natural harmonics (I think that is what it is called in teacher only speaks German!  I'm referring to when you don't actually press down on the string but just lightly touch it with the finger, and it is marked in music with a 0).  And then the various sounds you can make with the violin - my favorite that I have learned so far is the excercise my teacher taught me in preparation to begin shifting into different positions - sirens!  It is good that I don't have any neighbors at the moment because I practiced doing sirens for hours when I first learned them :)  A siren on the G string sounds exactly like an accelerating engine on the video games where you drive a car if you give a little pause/back up a little while gliding up the string :D  Ready, set, go!

The more I learn about the violin, the more I want to know, and the more excited I become.  Each week I anxiously await Thursday evening, when I have my violin lesson, and am eager to discover which new technique or wonderful detail my teacher will impart - there is so much left for me learn and discover that I think it will be years, if ever, before my fascination with the violin wanes.


From Lisa Golec
Posted via on November 12, 2008 at 7:34 PM

Hi Elizabeth,

I've had a similar experience.  I started playing violin when my daughter started 3 years ago.  I'm not new to music. I play piano and am a singer.  I have become totally obsessed with the violin.  I've read up on so much, did some research on setups and sound, have been doing a string assessment to determine the best sound I can get from certain strings.  I'm amazed at how it has really improved my sight singing as well.  A year ago, I switched to the viola and love love love it.  I have a wonderful handmade viola that has a beautiful sound which inspires me more to play and recently I joined a community orchestra which has been the best musical experience I've ever had, and I've sung in a lot of good enembles so this is telling.  Thank Goodness I have a supportive husband because this is an expensive endeavour.  Expensive instrument, custom chin rest, new tail piece, new pegs,....  Did I mention that I need a new bow??????!!!!!!! 


From Pauline Lerner
Posted via on November 13, 2008 at 12:38 AM

Welcome to  I'm glad you fell in love with the violin.  I teach violin to both kids and adults.  I can see their frustrations and their joys.  I love to see the excitement in their faces when they learn something new that they really like.  I'm looking forward to hearing more from you.

From Aaron Schiff
Posted via on November 13, 2008 at 4:04 AM

Welcome to the violin, Elizabeth.  I started about 18 months ago after 45 to 55 years of playing guitar, bass guitar, dobro and steel guitar.  If you are German, the last two may not make sense to you; think of "cowboy music".  I have fallen in love with the violin.  I have a terrible voice, but the violin allows me to sing!  The closest I ever came to singing before was playing the dobro.  My wife is always supportive of my music, but she is especially supportive of the violin.  As you mentioned, discovering the resonance that comes with playing in tune was a big shock.  And the power of this little instrument is amazing.  The violin rewards me more than any of the other instruments.  From Haydn to Shostakovich and Grappelli to Ponty, it is like a completely new and deeper musical experience has opened for me.  I hope you continue to enjoy the instrument as much as I do.

From Jim Glasson
Posted via on November 13, 2008 at 11:35 AM

I too just started violin after considering it for a year or too and I really enjoy it, squeaking strings, wandering bow  and all!

Like Aaron, i've been playing guitar, though electric blues, for 40+ years and just wanted to fulfull a bit of a dream. You know, channel my inner "Itzak" :)

Just sit back, learn, play and enjoy- I am!!


From Chidozie Elvis Chidi-Ezeama
Posted via on November 14, 2008 at 8:21 PM
Dear Lizzy, You just told my story just that you did not say your violin's name(if you gave her one) I so fell in love with my violin that I named it "Helen" after my girlfriend (to be) I love both the physical and the violin Helen and always practice about 4hours in a day discovering new techniques in every minute of my practice; the most current discovery being the different styles of vibrato. Did I tell you that I have no teacher and only depend on what I see on the net, this site, on the media and from my violin tutor book; Eta Cohen's Violin Method: Students Book two. Good a thing you have a teacher and I felt exactly the way you did when I discovered that an open string resonated when the adjacent string is played at the same pitch! Just enjoy, it's worth the time you give it! Hope to hear from you!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine