A Skosh More Room - A Shirt That Gives Freedom to the Bow Arm

January 26, 2018, 5:54 AM · My life as a violinist has consisted of long stretches of getting the job done and waiting for the breakthroughs that make the job easier. One happened just as I was about to go on stage with a string trio. We were playing Hindemith, and, needless to say, I was scared. Something popped into my mind, a recognition that I had the bad habit of waiting and doubting when it was time to propel the beat. I was ignoring my first impulse to react to the beat, and instead reacting to my second (or third) impulse.

I knew it was a breakthrough because the music then flowed more naturally, I was now in touch with a very pure instinct from within, and it felt right.

Other breakthroughs that helped my bow arm become more effective and impulsive have been some of my most cherished memories. The one thing I haven’t opted for, yet, is wearing the shirt/jacket that many violinists and teachers wear. Known as the schmacket, it seems to be growing in popularity. It’s roomier than a regular dress jacket, and can have two to four pockets (obvious advantage for a teacher.) It gives the bow arm more freedom of movement, and for a professor, gives off an aura of respectability and authority. The “m” in schmacket is borrowed from the affectionate Yiddish word for rag, schmatte. The French couture are still trying to find a fitting French name for the schmacket. I think sales will increase when they succeed.

Heifetz, wearing a schmacket
Jascha Heifetz, wearing a schmacket!

For now, I'm told you can find a nice selection of schmackets at Three Day Suit Broker (in person, not online). Also, here's a link to 10 nice schmackets.

One day I will buy one, but I still have a few years of wear left in my regular shirts.


January 27, 2018 at 03:06 AM · The dress code needs to get less stodgy in general. Other genres are miles ahead in variety and comfort.

January 27, 2018 at 06:20 AM · Wonderful!! Schmacket wearers, unite!

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