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Karen Allendoerfer

Family Portrait

June 19, 2008 at 6:14 PM

A recent thread asked, how many violins do you have? Well, our household has 4, plus a viola. The one in the very middle is my daughter's new 3/4 size. She's quite happy with it and can tell the difference in how much better it sounds than the 1/2 size.


Her Suzuki teacher put the fingerboard tapes on the two little ones a few years ago, but I had to put them on the most recent one (I wasn't allowed to get rid of the tapes altogether, alas). Putting on tapes is a lot harder than I expected. I kept having to move them a millimeter one way or another.

My daughter's viola-playing friend officially quit the viola this morning. Yesterday was the last day of school, and she decided, after hearing the 4th grade band, that she would like to play the clarinet instead in the fall. I'm surprised how disappointed I am. She had not made much progress during the school year and did not have good practice habits, so I am siding with her mother that this was a good decision.

But, I was going to be helping her with viola over the summer, alongside my daughter, and while I knew it was going to be challenging, I had been looking forward to it more than I realized. They did enjoy playing duets together. Maybe I thought I could help this other girl get over that tough patch where the playing sounds like a cat being tortured and earn eternal gratitude from her parents. Maybe I wanted to live out an alternate fantasy life as a music teacher. Well, I still do that a little bit . . . my daughter is enjoying Mel Bay's "Easiest Fiddling Tunes" as recommended by Laurie Niles. Happy Summer!

From Terez Mertes
Posted on June 19, 2008 at 6:38 PM
Oh, what a darling picture!

And on the girl quitting and your "Maybe I wanted to live out an alternate fantasy life as a music teacher" comment, awww. Well, maybe that's your calling for next year then, to take on a mentor's role, but with a different student. (Imagine how deflated you'd feel if you were so sure you were helping this reluctant girl and she quit anyway.) Bet you can find someone who needs the same help, but has an ounce more motivation.

From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on June 19, 2008 at 8:47 PM
I love the picture! What fun. That's too bad about the girl quitting viola . . . I'm sure you'll still have fun helping your daughter along though. :)
From Bilbo Prattle
Posted on June 19, 2008 at 10:29 PM
That looks like a finger tape fetish to me. I can't believe anyone should need them or that a teacher would insist on them for 4 years or more of playing (1/4 to 3/4 size)!

But that is an old and very sore subject for sure.

From Paul Grant
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 12:30 AM
I love that me biased but I like the viola the best, hehe.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 1:28 AM
No, it's my daughter who insisted on keeping the finger tapes, not the teacher. I know they don't work for some people, but they really do seem to help her. When she's ready to let them go, she'll let me know.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 1:32 AM
Also, she only played the 1/4 size for a few months, she went up to the 1/2 size soon after, then quit lessons for a year. So, if you count from when she first picked up a violin, she's been playing for 3 years, but I'd say only 1 year of that really "counted."
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 6:42 AM
I love your description of bad sounds on the violin as "like a cat being tortured."
From Mendy Smith
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 7:33 AM
What a beautiful family photo. I too am biased, and think that the viola is the nicest in the bunch. What size is your viola again?
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 10:39 AM
The viola is 15.5 inches long. It's clear there that it is more robust on the top than the violins. It's not just bigger in proportion. I hadn't really realized that about violas before. For a small viola, it has a rich and strong sound--I'm assuming the wide shoulders contribute to that.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 20, 2008 at 12:44 PM
So who's the father?

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