V.com weekend vote: When do you feel the most joy with your violin (or other instrument)?

December 11, 2022, 1:12 PM · Joy to the world!

'Tis the season for pronouncements like that, but when you have music in your life, you can tap into joy at any time.

happy frog fiddler

However, not everyone feels joy when, say, practicing. Or under the stress of performance. Or at a lesson, or teaching a lesson.

Yet other people enjoy the very same things that cause headaches for others: the solitary problem-solving of the practice room, or the thrill of the stage, or the moment they learn something new during a lesson.

What brings joy to you, when it comes to the violin (or viola or whatever your chosen instrument!)? What makes you keep returning to it? What are some of the experiences you remember, that have been particularly joyful, whether they involved being in a performance or just a discovery or revelation that happened for you alone? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts in the comments.


December 11, 2022 at 09:34 PM · I really like recording actually, even more than performing. I know that sounds a bit weird.

December 11, 2022 at 09:42 PM · Ahhh I missed that one! A lot of people enjoy recording, thank you Jeremy!

December 11, 2022 at 10:12 PM · Playing for myself, which I guess is a form of practicing. Because then I choose the pieces that bring me joy.

December 11, 2022 at 11:38 PM · I voted “Performing,” although mine is really a tie between performing and practicing. It’s warm enough here in the Deep South USA to do both in the garage about 8 months each year, typically mid-March to mid-November. I don’t know who my present-day audiences are while I’m actually playing, because I can’t see them; but I know I have them, because neighbors and passers-by tell me afterward that they pause on the street, or sit on their front porches, to listen. This gives me the added incentive to make even the warm-up drills, which take about 20 minutes overall, as musical and appealing as I can.

Still, nothing quite matches the “high” you can get from connecting with a live audience in the same room. I experienced this mostly in my school years. I don’t have time now for recitals, but if I did, would gladly give one every week. For now, at least, the garage sessions are my way to share the music.

On the above-mentioned subject of recording: The garage is my recording studio - I like the reverb out there. My initial attempts at digital audio in 2018 - with my previous smartphone and its onboard microphone - yielded inferior audio quality. Now that I have a newer smartphone and a good external USB mic, I’m getting much better audio. Still working out some post-production issues so that the tracks will transfer satisfactorily to my YT channel, but I’m getting there.

I find recording takes energy, staying power, and patience. My real enjoyment in it comes during playback - when I identify a take that I like well enough to have it go out over the Internet with my name on it. This takes time. I’m picky.

December 12, 2022 at 12:21 AM · Sight reading a new string quartet with friends. Playing the Trout or Quintet in C for the sheer joy of it. This is what music is about for me. Performing in public is too much like hard work.

December 12, 2022 at 12:37 AM · I voted performing, but it's specifically performing with others, whether in orchestra or chamber groups. Playing casually with others is similar and is a close 2nd.

December 12, 2022 at 01:24 AM · I voted "playing casually with others." I had a chance this past week to merge my string quartet and flute quartet, which has two common players. We found Boccherini sextets scored for 1 flute, 2 violins, 1 viola, 2 cellos. The music was wonderful, and I can't remember when I've had so much fun!

December 12, 2022 at 01:31 AM · I love performing and always have, but I do enjoy playing casually, especially with others.

December 12, 2022 at 03:16 PM · I'm in a quartet club led by a retired professional orchestral violinist. Wow is that ever fun. We've played through selected Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Mozart, and we even did Shostakovich (No. 6) this past Saturday. We even put a larger group together to read Mendelssohn Op. 20, the great E-flat octet, and we've done cello quintets of Boccherini and Schubert.

What a blast. Young people reading this: My only regret is that I cannot play better. If you are young and you have the chance to improve on your instrument, DO IT. You will NOT regret the time or effort spent. My other word of advice is that violinists -- buy a decent viola and learn the clef. You'll have so many more opportunities like this. I always thought viola was kind of second class but it's really grown on me. It'll never "replace" the violin but I enjoy it very much because at least I have the chance to play.

December 12, 2022 at 06:39 PM · Definitely, "Something Else".

Partly being an introvert, partly Covid carryover, I absolutley enjoy being alone in my studio (the cats are welcome as is the very occasional visit from my wife with a question about something non-musical).

There is no agenda, no stress, no preparation for performance as I don't perform anymore. Just picking out pieces that I enjoy or choosing a challenge that I have to work through. Sometimes just the result of going through one of my folders and re-discovering a wonderful piece of music.

Preparing for a lesson is just that, preparation, notes, thoughts, lesson plan,...

December 12, 2022 at 07:54 PM · I voted learning. I belong to the 10% as of now. Of course I find listening also extremely joyful too, but it’s when you are lucky enough to explore the art of violin playing guided by great teachers, the joy is out of the world.

December 12, 2022 at 08:22 PM · I get most joy, before I play back my recordings.

December 13, 2022 at 05:06 PM · It's stressful, but definitely performing. All the stuff along the way is great too.

December 14, 2022 at 08:32 PM · Something else;--when my band is playing and some of the audience starts dancing.

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