Printer-friendly version
The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Have you ever broken a violin?

June 14, 2008 at 4:59 AM

Here are a few of the stories I've heard: the professor who left his Strad in its case without zipping the case: he picked up his case and the violin came smashing to the floor. "Always, ALWAYS fully close and zip your case!" admonished the friend who told me that one.

Another person told me about someone who placed her violin on top of the car, then ran right over it when it slid off...I can barely stand to think about that! Ever since the day I heard that story, nearly 20 years ago, I've never placed my violin on the roof of my car, or even beside my car. I don't care if the story is even true, the thought frightens me silly!

Have you ever broken or destroyed your violin?

From Tobias Seyb
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 6:41 AM
When I was a kid, I had my violin case on may back and rode my bike to school. A truck hit my case and the case opened. The violin misteriously survived the heavy traffic. Only the pegbox broke, and it got some serious scratches.
I collected the instrument, and it could easily be repaired.
Still wondering why nothing more serious happened to my fiddle, and nothing at all happened to me.

The truck driver never noticed the event.

From Jennifer Leong
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 7:34 AM
I haven't broken a violin, but I did manage to drop a brand new violin. I was putting it back in its case, or at least I thought I was. Next thing I knew, it was hitting the floor. Fortunately, the damage was only cosmetic (although it was rather embarrassing to explain to my teacher). You might think that someone who lacks the motor skills to put a violin in a case should not attempt to actually learn to play the instrument...and you'd probably be correct!
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 8:49 AM
Laurie, I'm horrified by the stories you tell. I hope I never do anything that would break my violin.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 12:28 PM
I broke the bridge of my rental in 4th grade, but fortunately that was easily fixed.

And, I noticed on the T the other day, on the way to my lesson, that my viola case was only half-zipped. Yikes!

From Patricia Baser
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 12:36 PM
1. When I was in the 8th grade, I slipped on an icy spot hidden by snow and tripped. My rent-to-own violin fell on some rocks and knocked a corner off.

2. When I was in graduate school, I was walking (with my violin) to the music building to meet my ride for a rehearsal for Mahler's 8th. As I began crossing the road, someone turned left and hit me, smashing my violin and giving me 6 months of back pain.

3. My current violin has a new neck because I backed over it. Was fixed well, works better than ever.

Hopefully, that is the end of my career as a violin wrecker.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 12:47 PM
I dropped Guido (my violin) in grad school. I was practicing in my apartment, and he slipped right out of my hands. The scroll hit the carpeted floor first, and the neck popped clean off, a lucky break. Oops.
From Annette Brower
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 12:58 PM
I have not broken a violin but I can still see my student's violin going over his shoulder and hitting the wood floor....a total loss....the neck broke in half near the scroll and the instrument was only worth about $1400. It wasn't even my violin and I was still a nervous wreck for a couple weeks. I expanded the carpet area after that. The first question is always, "Was it insured"?....yes.
From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 2:29 PM
I expanded the carpet area after that.

That was my favorite part! haha

From Alayna Faulkenberg
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 3:46 PM
Worst day of my life. I cried so hard. :( I was bending over in my seat in orchestra to pick up a pencil and knocked my scroll against the chair leg, it broke through the A-peg. The luthier managed to epoxy it back, but he wasn't sure how long or well it would work, so we donated that fiddle to my school and I got a new one. I love my new one, but man I wish I hadn't murdered my old one!
From Hannah Wright
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 4:49 PM
no, thank goodness
From enion pelta
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 7:07 PM
When I was 5 months pregnant with my son, I was in New Mexico working on an instructional video. I stepped outside to get some air, violin in hand, and tripped right over a stump that was right outside the door. Trying desperately not to fall on my belly or my fiddle, I managed to fall on both - the baby was fine, the violin....the neck broke off, not so cleanly, and cost me $1500 to repair.
From Bernadette Hawes
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 7:21 PM
I actually did the not-zipping-the-case thing myself, though thankfully not with such disastrous consequences. I had been putting music in the top pocket, zipped that up and having zipped 'something', picked up the case not realizing the case itself was not zipped up. It was only when I heard the clatter of the violin falling on a wooden floor that I froze in horror as it dawned on me what had just happened. I had a quick look, but couldn't face a close inspection that evening. The next day I could not tune one peg, it just 'unravelled' instantly and I wondered if the peg box had a crack. But once I'd unwound it and wound it up again, it was OK. I have checked and triple checked on a number of occasions since.
Doing things on automatic pilot can be lethal. I almost repeated the mistake with my son's fiddle recently. Couldn't believe I'd be capable of it. Automatic pilot. They should put music sleeves inside those fiddle boxes, then we'd have to zip up on closing the case.
From Clare Chu
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 8:34 PM
I left my shoulder rest on my violin when I was a teenager and when the case wouldn't close, I gave it a shove so I could get the latch to click. Later when I opened my case I got a nice big soundpost crack on the top of the violin. We repaired the crack and it's still holding. It already had alot of the other cracks, both wings, saddle, both sides of the fingerboard, and bass bar crack that had been repaired through the ages. It has serious dents to the top. It was an abused and beaten up violin. When the varnish came off on the edges, my dad used a maroon magic marker to color it in. The pegs are all mismatched, and probably needs bushing. I fixed the seam separations and picked off the stickers I had put on it when I was a kid. It is a rare O. M. Robinson, 1907 violin.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 9:34 PM
I've never broken a violin, but I dropped my first full size violin on the bathroom floor (I used to practice in there all the time). It freaked me out, but aside from some slightly cracked varnish, it was fine. :)
From Laurie Niles
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 10:30 PM
Enion, I could barely read that. Wow, truly an awful moment; I'm glad you and the baby were okay.
From Ben Clapton
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 11:52 PM
Thankfully I haven't done anything to damage my violin. However I have a friend at uni who has twice this semester left an instrument on his roof. First it was a flute that he was considering buying - fell off in the car park at uni, and took 5 days for it to be handed in.

The second one is even more incredible - it happened only a few weeks after. He left his clarinet on the roof of his car. Some how it managed to stay on his roof until he got to the freeway - where he promptly got up to the 100km/h speed limit, and then the clarinet decided it couldn't stay on the roof any longer. Flew off into the bushes. Though apparently only scratches on the instrument and case - it's still playable.

You'd think that after doing it once, you wouldn't do it again... especially so soon afterwards...

From Sean Gillia
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 3:37 AM
When my daughter was in first grade, she dropped her violin while at her lesson and just managed to grab it before it hit the floor. Everyone laughed with relief. As my daughter went to put the violin up to play, she somehow just sent it flying over her left shoulder. This time it fell on the linoleum floor. By some miracle it only received a ding.

Last week, now just turned 13, she was placing her violin in its case but somehow didn't notice the korg metronome already in there. I didn't see it until the next day, while walking past her case. I wondered why one of the latches wasn't closed. Thankfully, I didn't get crazy with it, and force it, and opened the case to see what was going on. No visible damage. I think it might have gotten a little extra pressure on the tailpiece area from the rectangular cusion on the top, but ...well, lucky again, I guess.

From Kelsey Z.
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 7:47 AM
Probably now that I've voted no I'll have jinxed myself and will break my violin when i try to practice tomorrow.
From Louise Pallet
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 8:32 AM
You won't believe this but I broke one yesterday.I set up one of my violins for a friend to try out to see if she might like to learn to play.I put it down next to a ladder which I needed to climb on, to choose a bow, well the phone rang and i jumped down on top of it.The sound of cracking still rings in my ears.I was in shock and it can't be fixed. I will keep it to remind me of my stupidity.
From Bethany Morris
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 11:37 AM
In seventh grade, I tried to hold my rental violin by the shoulder bar. This was asking for trouble, as I learned, because the violin fell and the fingerboard popped off. My mother was furious, but we managed to glue the fingerboard back on well enough that the shop didn't notice when we traded it in!
From enion pelta
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 10:18 PM
after an excellent repair by jeff smith in maine, the fiddle's good as new, too. Now if only I had more time to play it while caring for my 3-month old....
From Lynne Krueger
Posted on June 15, 2008 at 10:16 PM
Although I don't think I ever seriously damaged one of my own instruments, one of my violins was destroyed by someone else.

A friend was visiting with her large family and commented that she'd like to start one of her daughters on the violin but didn't have the right sized instrument. So I offered her the loan of an extra student violin I happened to have sitting around not being used. As they left, my friend sent her children out to the van ahead of her with the violin. She chatted with me for another minute or two then walked out to her van, started it and backed right over the violin and case, which her daughter had set down behind the van expecting her mother to open the rear doors and put it inside. Oops! It was totaled I'm afraid. I was just very thankful it was an inexpensive violin, not one of my nicer ones.

From Brian Allen
Posted on June 16, 2008 at 2:39 AM
1. My dad when he was young, was practicing Kreutzer Etudes in the winter time at his home and the home had no heat. His fingers were so cold that he became more and more frustrated and eventually hit his violin scroll against his forehead. The neck broke off, he thought his violin playing days were over, but luckily, his parents were able to get it fixed as it was a clean break.
2. After playing a solo at church, one of my friends wanted to carry my violin to the car for me. My parents and I were very honored by his show of respect. But once we got to the car, he laid the violin in back of the car thinking we would put it in the trunk of the car. My dad had just bought a new Jeep Laredo, and when he backed over it, we hardly felt it, in fact, we thought at first it was just a stick, until my dad look into the rear view mirror and saw the violin laying in the pavement. It was totalled. Luckily we were insured.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine