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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Does the violin cause you mostly happiness or stress?

February 16, 2008 at 9:25 PM

Sometimes I love the violin, and sometimes I'd like to chuck it out a second-story window. Do you feel the same way?

These feelings can be quite passionate; I have a few ideas why: A beautiful performance can feel sublimely graceful and satisfying, thus the happiness. :) But that kind of performance is hard-won, often requiring not only hours of hard work, but also usually critical evaluation from one's self and possibly a teacher or mentor. That critical evaluation becomes a habit -- maybe even a personality trait in some musicians. It can spill into other areas of life. If you constantly beat yourself over the head for your lack of perfection, you're very likely to end up with a bruised noggin. And that can make you stressed. :(

I'm interested on where you fit on the spectrum today: what is your gut reaction today to this question, and why?

From Amy Nemecek
Posted on February 16, 2008 at 9:41 PM
Absence makes my heart grow even fonder of my fiddle, which is currently in the shop for a long-overdue physical. I really miss it, and can't wait to get it back next week!
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on February 16, 2008 at 10:51 PM
At this particular moment in my life, it is causing me a little more stress than happiness. I'm dealing with a teacher that isn't a good fit and making plans for transferring to a new school. But I love the violin, and I love music. I can't imagine my life without it. The stress I'm dealing with right now is just a bump in the road.
From Tara S.
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 12:33 AM
While this week has been stressful (orchestra performance tomorrow, so three rehearsals this week, plus getting prepared for a lesson) it's generally more happiness than stress. Since I'm an amateur and doing this for fun, once it becomes more stress than happiness, it's time to re-assess just what I'm doing. ;-)
From Carol Cook
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 3:46 AM
I get the warm fuzzies. She's my escape vehicle, a slowly unraveling mystery, wonder and delight. A new road.


From Mara Gerety
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 5:00 AM
Um, both. We have a very tempestuous relationship--I feel like absolute pond scum if I go more than a day without playing, but practicing is still frustrating and difficult. Can't live with it, can't live without it, in other words.
From Samuel Thompson
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 5:32 AM
Love, love, love - although I'm sure that when I spend another hour on a spiccato aria from "Lakme" that I will want to get divorced... =)
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 1:03 PM
Lately if the violin is causing me too much stress, I'll pick up the viola, and vice-versa.
From Rosalind Porter
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 5:54 PM
Really great question for the weekend poll Laurie! I find that even though the violin can cause a great deal of stress if you are vainly trying to perfect something hard or are simply out of practice, but it is a much more positive kind of stress than that caused by "Normal Life". I find it so relaxing to work through a problem on the violin and it totally takes your mind off other non-musical issues and actually ends up acting as a real stress-buster.
From Kim Vawter
Posted on February 17, 2008 at 6:22 PM
Much happiness--much.
I am my own task master. This is a project that I look forward to working on with no end in sight.
From Richard Hellinger
Posted on February 18, 2008 at 4:58 AM
Lol, Karen, I do the same as you, except instead of picking up the viola, I pick up the tuba!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on February 18, 2008 at 8:12 AM
Happiness. It has never failed to reward me with progress when I've practiced it, sometimes in ways I wasn't expecting.

And on any given day, I can at least make one pretty note on it.

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