What You Play On, Makes a Difference

November 14, 2016, 10:38 AM · I’ve only been playing the violin for two weeks. Yet, I’ve learned a surprising amount in that short time. I've just had my third lesson, and it’s obvious to me already that 'perception' plays a huge part in a violinist’s relationship with their craft. For instance, as a beginner, perceiving progress is a catalyst in motivating to further progress. But it’s also important to perceive other factors involved in a beginning violinist’s journey.

By some accounts, in achieving a pleasant sound from the violin, the bow can apparently be as important of a factor as the violin itself. Speaking of which, just how much is this student’s violin I’m using impacting the results of my playing? Does my simple version of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ fall flat just because I’m a beginner, or are there other reasons? Everything my instructor plays sounds magnificent of course, but just how much of that improved playing reflects his years of experience and how much is owed to his quality older violin?

This led me to my second revelation as a beginning violinist. What a violinist produces is ultimately the result of a marriage of factors, of which the player’s skill is only one. True, a great player can make anything sound better. But to some extent the reverse is also true. A lesser instrument demands more from the player to make a decent note, while a finer instrument can be made to produce a nice note with greater ease.

The young lady who learned on this basic entry level student violin I am using, apparently played it for a few years before graduating to a nice Romanian violin. When she did, it was obvious to everyone in her family that her new violin was many steps above her first violin. So, it occurred to me that probably for some time the quality of her playing was probably being held back by the quality of her instrument. But when did the quality of her violin become a factor? After a bit of consideration, I realized that it was always a factor, but gradually became more of a factor as she progressed and her violin held her back more and more. Following that logic then, the violin is a factor for me as well, even as a beginner. The only way to give me a truer picture of my actual ability and progress would be to make the instrument I use less of a factor, and the obvious way to do that is to use a much better instrument.

Finding myself in the position to purchase better equipment, and determined as I am to follow through in playing the violin every day, I decided to learn what I could about buying a violin.

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