September 2004

September 29, 2004 20:43

The scribblings come from every, any corner of the universe at any time-time holding-it's mantra releasing like gifts-the moments I aquire the perception-just moments. That life. THat alive. The sun a perfect height, consistency and the affirmation a million perfect sensations on my skin. After the all and before the free. This-this is my manifesto. This afternoon moment 3:45 Septmber 29th. Everything slides into simple alignment for this second.

I had a WONDERFUL lesson today. And Camerata rehearsal was fun. We read Barbar Adagio for strings, and it sounded pretty decent. We are going to work it. I'm putting bowings in tonight. I got my violin back. DId I mention that already? It electrifies my senses to play. It has been a long time since it has sounded so good (not speaking of the player, but the instrument). I put off playing in the recital until next THursday, though, because my bow was rehaired and I forgot about it needing some time to be prepared properly and be comfortable with efficient but not smoky rosin levels. Especially with Bach. I don't want to either be pushing too hard and forcing the bow to frict, or put loads of rosin on directly preceeding the performance and have it choppy and sticky sounding. ANyhow. Plus, ahem, I was freaking out last night about it. I am prepared, though. My teacher was a bit disappointed, but I think he saw the rosin thing as a real issue and not just and excuse. I hope it wasn't an excuse. I can't decide myself. Ahh. Today was glorious.
JW

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September 29, 2004 01:55

Not quite poetry:

My violin quivered a bit
I shook my head,
smiling at the irony of the evening.
The eyes of my fingernails
whipping fast around the running 16th notes
they had never seen before.
My bow slid and gripped
the strings strong and glad.

My knees bounced joy
ahh...new music.
Ancient airs and dances
we dance.
Then all slowed
and "solo" appeared
taken by surprise
the ancient air sang a breath from my arms.
Large beautiful arcs.
the Baton Stilled.
and we rehearsed the transition a few times.
the Third time,
my shoulder rest became a conductor of electrodes
EKG
The fists of violin
reaching through my collarbone.
"whole note, now...just play the whole note" music lost in directives from intellect.
Gripping ventricals, aeortia, heart.
Punching, gripping, twisting, pumping
the chortles of flow
quickening with the anger,
my instrument bore of my own fear
until the separate beats became connected-
so fast to one pitch,
maybe the 440 I heard in my eardrums.
But we were jointed by jabbing wooden arms
and I could not lower from shoulder
or calm the quiver of a simple line.
The music went on,
but I was no longer ancient air
or dance.
More like a vibration of solid stone
turning red around the profile
millions of acute senses
in the aftermoments of failure.
did anyone notice
the barrage of violin to body?
Or was it
a secret between the best of friends?
JW

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September 28, 2004 20:19

Orchestra rehearsal every Tuesday night is always such an emotional deal for me. I'm not sure why. I either am totally hyped up and pumped at the end and full of energy and life and enthusiasm....coming out of my skin...or I'm angry and frustrated the whole time so that by the end of rehearsal I'm numb and turned off completely...or I sometimes have days where I realize I don't care and just kind of float and want to be somewhere else. THat rarely happens and usually is more the anger part. TOday, it was weird. I was having a decent time. Feeling good...but I've been fairly ill lately and shaky. So I was really shaky tonight. It didn't seem to matter, though. MOst of the time I can have pretty shaky hands and it won't show up, no one will notice unless I"m trying to write ont he music. But bowing still appears controlled. THen, near the end when I was really tired, there came a solo for the first stand. It was really simple. Easy easy. PRetty. But I knew I was shaky so I barely played. I only used the end half of my bow. If I'd played more, just given more, it wouldn't have been shaky at all. But I wimped out. That bothered me. I should not be wimping out. NO reason to. ANyhow. So now I don't feel so hot about playing the Bach on THursday. WHat if that happens? It probably wont because it is solo so I don't ahve to try to play orchestrally soft....I can give my all. It is totally different playing. But still. I'm nervous now. Good thing happened. I was asked to run sectionals with the PRep youth orchestra some THursday nights for ahem..cough..pay. I'm exctied about that. It isn't going to be every THursday, but still. I will relish the job. It will give me experience in a specialized thing. I can go to a job and say that I have experience running sectionals.
JW

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September 26, 2004 16:19

I'm so bored and tired of my recital music. I'm going to be deviant and read through some music for fun. In search of the next piece to seriously learn after my performance is over. I don't feel too bad about "wasting" time on this because I've been pretty disciplined about what I practice for so long.....ah. Anyhow. Hope all is well with all.
JW

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September 26, 2004 14:24

I've been playing a lot for people lately. Family and friends. Getting used to the difference between playing my pieces for people and playing them in a practice room. Anyhow. I play in a general recital on THursday. Just the Loure and The Rondeau et Gavotte. I think it will be well. My violin is supposed to be back tomorrow. I'm hyped!
JW

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September 24, 2004 22:48

It seems like forever since I've written or checked the message boards. In reality, it has probably only been but a few days. Thus the time warp....
Anyhow. Been in a bit of a funk, but watched some Brit comedy and feel much better. More tomorrow when I'm sure the value of not working will wear off quickly and I'll become bored. I give myself until about 11 am. Well, after I clean the house for family.
JW

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September 20, 2004 20:47

I picked out another school instrument which is a little better. It is a student Suzuki violin. Hm...Well, I have to play in a concert on Thursday using it. Rehearsal tonight showed me where its weaknesses are. Maybe someone can loan me one for the performance. I had a good day. It started out badly, but the rehearsal tonight (minus the crappy sounding violin) made my day worthwhile. I remember....that is why music is essential to me. I actually got some good practice in. I had a lesson (skipped my cello lesson. I don't think I've ever skipped a lesson in my life...but it was necessary...and on the cello, so all things in their place) today which went alright. My teacher wants me to memorize the Ysaye. The fear in my eyes...must have been pretty evident because he explained that I don't have to perform it from memory, just memorize it. When I set out to do that, I think I realized why. There is much I don't know about the piece. Memorizing will be good for me. Also, gave me something to do with it. I've been playing the same music forever...which can be a deterent from practicing some days. ANyhow. Tomorrow is going to be a good day as well. I have decided.:). And on Wednesday a good friend is giving a recital. I'm pumped for her. It is going to be a great program. Bartok. Ysaye. a Ballad I can't remember the name of. Paganini caprice no.16, and the Mendelssohn first movement. It is her first solo recital (I'm impressed that she is doing the program as a freshman. I didn't give my first solo recital until I was a juniour.) Anyhow. May the force be with you all.
Sals,
JW

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September 19, 2004 19:40

I practiced a whole whopping 15 minutes today. I really tried to practice. After 15 minutes I was in tears and wanted to break something. I had to lie down and try to quell the frustration. THat was after I played through the Bach prelude way way faster than it should be ever played or that I can play it, missing all sorts of notes and playing very angrily and not caring about anything. Oh, the angst. The violin not responding. Basically threw it down, said some obscenities and curled up in bed. I think the violin is worth less than 200 dollars. It is o.k. for beginning string students, I suppose, but is not capable of handling the music I am playing. Really. Not just an excuse. I was so frustrated because I really WANTED to practice. I really WANTED to play. The bow is a fiberglass hunker with no balance. The G string sounds like a toy violin. Etc. etc. What am I going to do for two weeks? I wrote an angry email about the violin to my teacher, somewhere between the wailing, asking if he had a decent violin I could play for awhile. I hope, I hope. Now I kind of want to just play it anyway and not be so particular or care, just to get my fingers on a violin, but it is too late to be making noise in my apartment complex.
The trials and tribulations of being a violinist....they never end!
JW

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September 18, 2004 09:54

I just got back from UPS...shipped off my violin. In the five years I've had my violin, I've never parted with it. Hence, the massive list of repairs and adjustments needed....anyhow. I was so nervous about the whole ordeal that I totally did not write down my zip code and addresses legibly...or correctly. Luckily the guy noticed that there were not enough digits in my zip. I noticed a guitar sitting in the back of the UPS shop and tried to ignore it. I wanted to ask it if had been damaged during shipping...but I refrained. I mean, I put my violin in a school hard case, wrapped the case with the big bubble bubble wrap, put so many peanuts around it that my husband sat on the box to get it closed and then gave the box a nice wrapping of tape. I was covering up the old labels with blank labels and Michael said "STOP! It is like you are washing your hands over and over and over or something". He doesn't understand....I don't want it going the wrong place the wrong way or to get hurt. My baby. Anyhow. It cost me over sixty bucks to send it! That, with the repairs....my savings are going to be eaten. Yum. So...I'm playing a school instrument. I started on it yesterday and already have a rash on my neck. I swear. I'm allergic to everything. Some violinists get hickies. I get massive rashes that itch and break and...well. I have a picture from my very first solo recital (my junior recital college) and my neck...oh my poor neck. At that time I didn't really care. It was proof of how hard I worked in case I, well, you know, accidentally walked off the edge of the stage or played my violin upside down or forgot which piece I was playing. Now, it is just a neusance. And itchy. I don't know if I can put anything on it because I don't want to damage the varnish on the violin with hydrocortozone or something. Eat right through the varnish like the varnish is eating through my skin. Or maybe it is my nails that are eating my skin as I scratch scratch scratch. Hm. WEll, off to butcher Beethoven. No. Actually. I think I'll drink some coffee and remember that it is Saturday and relax for...ahem...half of the day first. Maybe in bed. Watch a movie about Ballet while my husband is at work. I got to pick the movie this week and subsequently, I picked a total girl flick and he is completely uninterested in watching it. That happens about every other week....
Sals,
JW

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September 16, 2004 18:46

I don't know what it is about my all day every day that saps my energy so much. I keep very detailed accounts of all my practicing...not just the times, but what I do and what I am frustrated about...failures and sucesses. That sort of thing. When I got home tonight I counted my time and had only done a few hours when I felt like I'd been practicing all day. My breaks kind of turned into siestas...so I broke out the violin and played through the whole Beethoven for my husband without stopping. It was hard because I was feeling a bit dizzy before I started (I didn't eat until I got home today and then I ate too much at once. stupid. Have to remember to eat at school/work during the day mental note to self). But I did it! I was surprised that I didn't give up. Somewhere in the middle of the last movement I lost my sense of the tonal center. I'm hoping that playing with the piano will help with things like that. I couldn't just stop and reposition my hand or play the tonic or anything. Oh well. I had a bad experience with the cadenza this morning. One of the other students is giving a recital in a week, so this morning I listened to her play through some of her pieces. To make her nervous and give her practice playing in front of someone. She didn't seem nervous.... played extremely well. I was proud of her, really. Then, a bit later was my turn. I wasn't really expecting it so I hadn't taken my performance meds. But I decided to try it anyway. I was o.k. until the middle of the first page when my bow hand started to shake and I messed up, like, ALL of the chords and shifts. Then mywhole body started to shake, lips included. I just stopped. She understood and we were going to do it later, but I got exhausted and went home and we'll do it tomorrow if there is time. I was pretty embarrased. That is the problem (past thread) with performance meds. You don't always know when there is going to be an impromptu need to play...after she left the practice room I tried to log in my notebook the experience but I was still shaking so hard I coudln't write. Pathetic. I didnt' want to say as an excuse that my ritalin was doubled this mornign so that could be a cause. Total excuse. I couldn't help thinking that she is a freshman and I'm almost done with my Masters and, well, it was just a hard pill to swallow that I couldn't play for her. ANyhow. TOmorrow is a new day. I know I'm putting too much pressure on myself. I'm tired all the time. I can't believe a weekend is finally almost here. TWO WHOLE DAYS to chill out. I have to send my violin off to get fixed. I've never done that before. I hope that it all goes well. And doesn't cost mea fortune. I've never robbed a bank before....don't want to start now! Anyhow. For those who have emailed me and I have not gotten back to you...I'm sorry. I'll try to catch up soon.
JW

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September 14, 2004 22:08

I'm completely exhausted both physically, mentally, and musically. But tonight in orchestra we played Wagner's Funeral March. Though it is much ado about Brass and the strings just kind of augment...I was quite moved (counting hard, but moved). Now I"m listening to Lutoslawski. Is it possible to be revitalized and drained at the same time? I had a horrible lesson today. I want to write my teacher a letter to try to explain why some lessons I play like magic and others I can't hit a single note. But I don't know, that might be a bad idea. I went into hte lesson all shook up about something else and there is an issue regarding my medical care that I'd just gotten done screaming on the phone about...it was impossible to play the Beethoven cadenza. It sounded...how did he put it..."lame"? My teacher is incredibly understanding and kind and, well...a great guy and teacher. I just don't foresee how I'm going to make it until Friday running on endorphins and the hyper-ness of exhaustion without blowing a gasket. I know that I"ve been working WAY WAY too hard and pushing myself, but I can't help it. I don't know when, where, or how to stop. I did, however, say no to a job today. Broadway type performance gig. I think that sometimes string players need to wear a teeshirt that says "I 'just say no'" on it. I don't know how it is anywhere but here, but where I am, string players are asked to do all sorts of extra things...play in people's recitals, play in big obscene productions, student compositions etc. I usually don't mind, but right now I"m just so busy. When I try to pinpoint exactly what I'm busy with, it is hard to materialize the details. I teach and have assistantships and practice and play in some ensembles and try to keep my health up to date...it just seems like every minute I'm on the go getting something done and I need a break. I have another lesson tomorrow, so perhaps if I get up extra early I can get in a few more hours of practice and redeem myself. It has more to do with my "state" when I go into a lesson than my level of prepardness with the music, though. I wonder if that is true with everyone? Anyhow. I allowed myself an hour nap after orchestra tonight (now it is about midnight and I"m back up). I have to type out some information about students and their two year lesson plan objectives and expound on my answers in my study notebook for my comprehensive exams and spend some time with my neglected husband. Poor guy. I'm always so occupied these last three weeks since school started. Anyhow.
JW

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September 13, 2004 06:09

It is strange that I somehow feel more grown up...professional...important...confident and in charge of myself with the simple act of putting on my blacks. Maybe it is the blazer/jacket and belt. Hm. Dressing up really does affect the way we feel about ourselves. Concert today. Twelve hours from now, so of course I'm drinking my typical morning overdose of espresso trying to get myself through the morning/afternoon of teaching and lessons and work. I feel proud somehow. All these good things. I am going to really miss this environment when I graduate in December. The lull and stagnancy of that space of time where I figure out exactly where it is that I fit into this musical world/real world. I mean, I'll still play in four symphonies/orchestras, and try to teach, but the academic environment will all of a sudden not be my identity so to speak. I know that everyone must go through this phase. I hope that I don't disappoint myself. Anyhow. TOday I woke up feeling like a professional. Instead of a student stumbling in in jeans and a sweatshirt. I've never been one for appearance...even caring at all. But it really makes a difference. At least for me. At least this certain day. I start a new student today. That always makes me a little shaky and quite hyper. Sometimes I wonder if my students think I'm nuts. It has to be in a good way, though, because it is all natural energy and excitement about what I love. Sometimes the student is so excited (though the older ones hide it more) that it is infectios. I want to give them all I can. They deserve to be inspired by me. That inspires ME. I just can't let it upset me when, inevitably, they loose interest at some point. I mean, it is college and I teach the non-majors, or the brass/wind/vocal students who, because of scheduling, can't make the general strings class and so opt for private lessons instead. I make it my mission to keep them interested while they have French class and physics and English class and performance on their main instruments stressing them out more. Violin should be fun for them, but I want them to get it right. They perhaps might be the one to be in the local school system orchestra/band slot and end up having to start kids out on string instruments. THat is sad. One semester of violin/viola/cello instruction will not make them certified to start students on a stringed instrument. What is that doing to the state of music programs in the elementary schools/middle schools? Oh, here the tangeant goes. And I'll jump off the wagon before I get going and make myself late. ANyhow. Life is fantastic. I"m going to hold on to that feeling as long as I can.
JW

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September 12, 2004 15:59

Well, I was going to blog, but no one has written since I last rambled on and about...so I'll wait. Hope everyone is doing well!!!
JW

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September 10, 2004 20:40

Kismet....can I zap into your head for three minutes and then unzap and write like you do? If I could only be articulate...oh. That was this week. The inarticulate one tries to speak, do, write, play. I didn't realize it was possible to be inarticulate on the violin. Newsflash. Anyhow. It has been a week of ups and downs. I'm totally and completely washed out. At least I have tomorrow in which I can do anything I want. Hang around on V.com all day (which I guess I'll have to neglect during the week now...whimper...sigh...whine), practice, wander around Walmart for hours until I remember what it is that I went there for. Black pants. First concert in a while on Monday. I'm excited. But for all the wrong reasons, I think. I can't wait to wear my concert clothes, which, like the ULTIMATE DORK I tried on today. But it is a good thing I did because my pants fell to the floor. I guess it was a stressful summer. I am feeling pulled and pulleyed by the stage. LIke, I can't wait to be on it with people in the audience. No one will even see me, but all of a sudden I'm romanticising the crummy blacktopped stage and the uncomfortable chairs. Remembering the blinding of the lights...looking out into the audience and seeing spots. Playing the national anthem to start things off and forgetting how it goes and making up harmonies because I'm a little nervous. Thinking about the sweat that will drip from my lip and my back as the concert goes into the final lap. The wierd post-concert feeling as I walk back to my car and drive home in a sort of zombie state...sometimes good, sometimes bad depending on how I played or how we all sounded. We aren't doing anything hard, so it will most likely be good. I get so pumped when I play in the symphony or in orchestra or in chamber music. Solo, too, if I'm not crippled by nerves. Some of you would hate watching me play because I just let go and have supercharged amounts of energy and my body is like a lightning bolt covered with skin. I perch on the tiniest corner of my chair and plant my feet on the floor (do they stay there? no). I try to focus the energy...sometimes it works. Others...anyhow. I'm excited. Today I threw a tantrum on the phone...several times until I finally screamed at the supervisor and hung up. I think my adrenalin is already pumping. I was right, though. Very right. I am never wrong. Ever. Nope. Except sometimes. Not today. Got some GREAT practicing in this morning. Even had the focus to sit down at the piano and play the end of the Beethoven 1st mvt. cadenza and sing the note before playing it and then play it and hear a completely different pitch. Ugh. I've got the chromatics wrong in my head. I practiced them a whole half step off all summer. I hope no one was up that early and in the music building to hear that atrosity. I had to console myself with four shots of espresso....GOOD MORNING MTSU!!! Well. Night all.

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September 7, 2004 20:22

Today I had the most fantastic amazing wonderful perfect thrilling and envigorating day at school/work. Everything was back to the best. I even got an impromptu lesson. Tomorrow the camarata starts rehearsing and I get to play the solos...sight reading, but i"m not even nervous, just excited and pleased and proud. ORchestra was a ball. Lovin' life today.
JW

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September 7, 2004 07:56

I spent all night agonizingly intense and contemplating quitting school and my assistantship and just taking lessons and playing my recital and taking my comprehensive exams and getting out of my school. There are so many issues...I won't go into them. Then I finally (after walking around my apartment complex, swinging on the swings in the playground at 2 am, having a long conversation with the gas station attendant at around 3...)fell asleep to wake up every half an hour or so drenched in sweat. Then I woke up this morning and feel fine. I can't remember what the angst and hurt and weirdness of last night felt like. Ah...how mornings bring perspective with space between the day before and what is to come. I'm sure I'll get all worked up today about something and have to calm down all over again. Sometimes I feel like I'm a car. A racecar. Black. Shiny. Going 180mph shifting gears and revving the engine. Then I either get a ticket or run out of gas and get stranded or pull over on the side of the freeway for a nap....stop at IHOP....if only I were more like my real car. A 93 hyundai that maxes out at 65 mph, chortles and coughs, blends into traffic, has a nonworking music player, and is small...
I love my car, though. I have an IPOD that I take with me...put on huge recording headphones and random play music when I drive. Sometimes I'm driving a spaceship, sometimes a submarine, sometimes I forget I'm driving....the greatest music comes on. Wagner, then the Louvin Brothers...then Dar Williams, then Bartok, then gregorian chant, then REM, then 60's girl pop, then indonesian music, then Smith's anthology tracks, then Vivaldi...makes the commute fun. Maybe that is why mornings are great. I look forward to the 45 minute commute of music and drinking coffee (as long as I don't spill it in my lap) and smoking cigarettes in the cool morning air. The day has not yet hit. You know, and it doesn't have to. I think I just allow things to get under my skin. So today is going to be pleasant and I'm going to let all the things that are bothering me there just slide off my skin when they happen. FORGET HOW TO THINK. That is the main problem. The music building has been my home for five years. My haven. My place. I am not going to let anyone or anything take that comfort and happiness and sweat away from me.
JW

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September 6, 2004 00:57

I so should be sleeping. Kind of like last night. Oh, wait, and the night before. Hm. When WAS the last time I slept? I think after three days without sleep one is legally insane. I feel pretty sane. I realized that I'd forgotten how much I love to drive at three in the morning with the fog making everything slightly wet and strange and no one else out and about. An empty grocery store yeilding interesting conversations with the employees as I look for my string cheese and jugs of tea and toothpaste. Ah. I am content.
-JW

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September 4, 2004 10:41

Ah. It is Saturday. I have a little time to breathe and sleep and think about my crazy/intense/wonderful/stressful/successful
and exhasting week. I really feel like I have grown and learned this week as I have come to conclusions and rebounded from slaps in the face and re-aligned my priorities. I've grit my teeth and poured myself all-to-all into making myself achieve product, sense, and reputation. I don't know if I can continue at this pace, but I can try. At least for a few weeks until I feel as If I have proven something or that people are no longer astute with thier watchful eye wondering if I can handle, well, myself in addition to the workload. I know I worked overtime this week (40+ hrs) but only get paid for 20 hours. ANd I don't care...because it is not about the paycheck right now. So...on my one day off (have to drive in to Mrfbro on Sunday for a Sextet rehearsal), what am I doing for fun and relaxation? Well, I'm studying for my comps...getting ready to re-type my answers to all the possible questions that were generated for me last year for my Analytical Techniques course so that I can send them via attatchment to the graduate co-ordinator/past A.T. instructor/member of my comprehensive exam committee. I think he was honored that I asked him to be on my committee. He is a cool guy. Cellist/composer. Anyhow. Doing that. And going to Vanderbilt to show my masterpiece of hte wee small hours of last night to my orchestra director, Dr.N. There is a fine art of finding free, downloadable music on the internet and making it work for your purposes. I compiled a book of orchestral excerpts for the orchestra to use for auditions. It is a good compilation, too, because I checked out many, many websites of different professional symphony, youth symphony, School entrance audition, etc. excerpt requirments and found the 15 most frequently asked-for ones. Some websites even had the excerpts on their site for download, which made things easier....I spent at lEAST three hourse yesterday on campus looking for excerpt books. We have none. We supposedly had the three volume Gingold set, but a bygone professor...ahem...took 55 (yes, FIFTY FIVE) items from the music library home with him, never to be seen again, and these were one of them. Anyway. So last night I decided hell, I'd make our own compilation. And every excerpt would be a really important one. I looked through numerous catelogues online and hard copy, and there were so many of them that were filled with irrelevant excerpts. Anyhow. So. My day off is filled with work, but since I'm doing it on my own free will and out of enjoyment, and then I can't wait to practice....violin and cello (I'm learning the first Bach suite on the cello and I'm super excited about that...too bad I can't quite get the string crossings right yet on the instrument....I keep hitting more than one string or thinking I'm switching strings when I'm really not...quite a problem). And of course, I have a violinnist's left hand hold, no matter how hard I try to get it into a cellist's position (my poor teacher....being a beginner on a stringed instrument is extremely helpful for reminding me what it is like for my own teaching purposes). So playing the cello is slightly painful, but getting better, and I'm being careful. No more than an hour a day on it. I mean, I have a grueling violin recital in November...K. Enough for now. Hope you guys are all doing well today. This fine day.
JW

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September 1, 2004 06:21

Yesterday was a good day. My assistantship was split between the orchestra director and my violin teacher. We are forming a string "camerata", which he will be in charge of and I'll be helping him with that and other strings classes stuff and be assistant teaching some of the violin students. I am so pleased with this. Also, resolved any coflict between me and another violinist who I like, but administrative decisions affecting us both have almost put us at odds. Helped her get her books and we talked. Very glad to clear some stuff up. "I know it seems like I'm upset and angry with you, but really I'm not." sort of thing. Anyway. Orchstra went well because I wasn't all worked up about details. Just played. Crazy running around again from 8am-10pm, but today I get done much earlier and can chill out. Anyway. Groggy this morning, but gotta get ready and go. So. More later of course.
JW

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