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Justin Lee

Musings of an Amateur Violinist: Renewed Love of Music and the quest for a new violin!!

September 18, 2009 at 8:51 PM

One day, while searching for some of my favourite classical music on Youtube, I came across some videos of James Ehnes.  The raw, yet mature sound of his Strad.  The precision of his notes.  Before, my artists of choice were Midori and Sarah Chang.  BANG…  I was hit with the music bug, and I began searching for more.  My love of classical music began to resurface once again, and I longed to play the violin once more.

15 years ago was the last time I had picked up a violin.  I began my violin studies in school, grade 4 taking after my older brother who also played violin in school.  I played throughout my secondary schooling ending up sitting first chair, co-concertmaster and playing violin concerto solos by Bach and Vivaldi.  I studied briefly at the Royal Conservatory of Music, but time and financial constraints meant I had to stop.  Along the way, my violin (an older French model, labelled Medio Fino) took quite the beating.  A non-essential part of the top piece broke off leaving exposed wood.  My bow didn’t fare too well either, having been crushed by a careless classmate who stepped on it while we were about to step on stage at a music festival.

After graduating from high school, my post secondary studies and then my career became my priority – and I set aside my amateur violin ambitions.

Cut to the present, where after listening to James Ehnes play – I set off in search of more of his music.  I borrowed everything of his that I could find at the library.  I dusted off the classical CD collection that sat un-played for these many years.  It wasn’t enough.  I had to hold and play a violin again.  The smell of rosin in the air as my bow moved across the strings…  The calluses on the fingertips of my left hand...  Even that semi-hickey looking thing on the left side of your neck…  I wanted to experience that all over again. And not just for a good grade in music class, or in preparation for the regular slew of school concerts and music festivals.  Just simply, for the love of the violin.

Then, by chance I discovered  I see everyone calls it  Wow, information overload.  I set off on my quest to re-learn everything violin again.  There were all these adjectives to describe the various qualities of an instrument.  Also, there was the multitude in string choices that can greatly affect the sound and temperament of one’s fiddle.  Then the violins themselves...  Which to look at – which one to buy?  I felt like I was putting together specs for a new computer.

I visited every local violin shop that I remembered and played on so many violins.  Lesson #1 that I discovered about searching for a new violins @ – PLAY AS MANY AS YOU CAN.  I spent countless hours of research, looking for a violin that is:  consistent, good value for money, excellent sound and projection.  I think I’ve decided on an Andreas Eastman VL305.  For a bow, carbon fibre looks to be my best bet for my budget.  Not sure which model it will be, but I’m leaning towards Eastman Strings’ Cadenza line.

I’m headed down to the luthier this coming Monday to try out a few 305s, and hopefully come home with a new violin!!

After I dust off some old repertoire and getting back into the swing of things, I’m gonna be looking for some advice on which way my musical adventures will take me.  I’m so excited!!  More to come when I bring home a new fiddle.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on September 18, 2009 at 9:44 PM

Good luck!!!   It's pretty difficult to be away from the violin forever isn't it : )   Some people also feel like this when they fall on "the" teacher they needed.  Invest in that too if you can.  The trio good violin/teacher/will is very efficient!


From Christopher Liao
Posted on September 19, 2009 at 12:48 AM

Awesome. When I discovered, I totally went "wow this is an info-overload" too - haha! Best of luck in your rediscovery of the violin. :)

From Michael Divino
Posted on September 19, 2009 at 2:31 AM

Welcome to the community~!!!!!!!!!

We're happy to have you.  Whenever I googled something violin-y, would always pop up!  I knew I had to join.  I now check several times A DAY.  But, I love it.

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