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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Do you have siblings who also play the violin?

November 28, 2009 at 3:03 AM

When I imagine a childhood in which both my sister and I played the violin, I also imagine non-stop sibling rivalry: screaming matches, the violin-turned weapon flying across the room...Of course, maybe sharing a common endeavor would actually have had the opposite effect, and the real picture would have involved happily practicing the Bach Double together.

"Isn't this a beautiful piece?"

"Yeah, but you counted that wrong."

"No YOU counted that wrong."

"Hello, I'm older than you,"

"Doesn't mean you're right!"

Okay maybe not. But I'll never know, we mostly did different activities, and she never expressed an interest in the violin.

But as I understand it, in many families, multiple children happily learn to play the violin at the same time. Sometimes they even help teach each other! How about you, do you have any siblings who play the violin? Or perhaps you are an only child. Please vote below and tell us your experiences. You can also tell us about whether you have children who play the same instrument.


From Mara Gerety
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 3:08 AM

I don't even have any siblings. My mom took up viola for a while as an adult beginner some years after I started violin though. I'm not going to lie, it was weird, and an uncomfortable competitive aspect was certainly there (she totally blew her top once when I idly picked up her viola and played by ear the piece she'd been struggling with for months.....sorry Mom!!!)

From Corwin Slack
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 3:47 AM

 Three younger sisters took violin lessons. The oldest stayed with it and plays the piano, violin and organ. I have a  daughter who plays the violin and a son played the viola through high school. Another son played the cello into college and my oldest son played the violin for about a year. He took it up when he was a junior in high school.

From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 6:09 AM

My sixteen year old son is studying guitar and I am learning from him!  He's much less inhibited at making up his own tunes, and he knows some aspects of music theory that I find intriguing.

From Ana Freitas
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 6:33 AM

Well, my 14 year old brother is taking violin lessons but, not from me, we live far from each other.

It's his second try, once the first didn't work out when he was 8 but, this time he asked for it, justifying this choice with the possibility of playing duos with his older sister, mem, in the future. :)

Let's see how it will work this time! :)

From Laurie Trlak
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Nope, I'm an only child. I do come from a family with a lot of people who are musically inclined, but to my knowledge, I am the only violinist.

From Royce Faina
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 2:01 PM

My brother Bryan, 2 years my junior, picked up the guitar.  He loves it passionately and did very well with it.  His true tallent is as a photographer.  Anyway, due to arthritis he can no longer play.  In many ways my brother is my Hero!!!!!!

From Marianne Hansen
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 3:01 PM

My husband has taken it up, about two years behind me.  His strengths are rhythm and playing by ear.  My strengths are intonation and theory, including reading.  We do not play together much yet, because my intonation is good enough to know that things are terribly wrong, but not good enough to keep me on when he drifts.  We mostly practice happily, and separately, offering advice only when requested.  There were words - and tears - a  couple of weeks ago when he advised me unasked on vibrato, which appears to be natural to him but which I have been struggling with for most of a year.

His intonation is improving though - we may yet play Christmas songs together this year.

From Darcy Lewis
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Not my family, but my husband's: he and two of his three brothers play cello, while the eldest plays violin. Also, they all studied piano with the same teacher. They were actively encouraged to compete with each other. He and one cellist brother are now very close and musically supportive, while the other is completely estranged.

I would NOT encourage this style of parenting!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 6:39 PM

No but when I started violin, my twin sister was very jealous and took the violin off my hands to do 20 min of awful noise every day (as I did too back then and hope I do less now!!!) But that lasted two weeks and she got sick of it. My sister is too agressive to play music, she couldn't accept when it didn't work and screamed all over the house...   You need agressivity to play well but a "calmer" or "relaxed" sort!   She also tried clarinet for a very short period and we played together. (Klezmer type music was too fun!!!)  but it didn't last long since she quit for the same reason as what I mentonned. She also tried cello two times this summer with my mom but again, the same thing... so nothing to do... My brother isn't able to play gazoo or triangle : (    So no musical family for me!  Having a cellist or pianist sibling or parent would be a dream! (Clarinetist would be cool too!)


From sharelle taylor
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 8:51 PM

 Both of my kids and myself started at the same time, one was 16, the other 11.  they were never interested in what the other did so there was no competition between them, and no collaberation. My daughter and I did practise some pieces from the string ensemble that we both joined and that I'm still with.

A couple of years after stopping, my daughter - by then 19 or 20 - reflected that she'd love to be able to PLAY the violin, she just didn't want to have to LEARN it.

From Dimitri Adamou
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Well I don't know if the gap between my siblings would make me an only child or not. They are atleast 13+ years older than me. My sister was going to learn Sax but she stopped (She used to be a woodwind virtouso but stopped due to circumstances)

I would like some competition, or someone to work with I think that'd be a good experience/

From Eitan Silkoff
Posted on November 29, 2009 at 12:44 AM

Both me and my sister started playing violin at the same time, she eventually quit because she lost interest. I always just loved it

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on November 29, 2009 at 12:46 AM

 My brother is a singer, and he wishes he had learned to play the trombone as a child.  But the elementary school teacher gave him the baritone horn instead, which was too big and he didn't like the sound, so he quit.

The competitive aspect is there sometimes with my daughter, and I agree it's not always good.  I was playing more viola for a while, in part to give my daughter space on the violin to have her own thing.  But now that I'm playing mostly violin again she is sometimes intimidated by me--which is unfortunate, because really, I'm not that good.  I've told her several times that I hope she is better than me someday.  I mean it, but that day is still some ways off.

The other night we were playing some simple duets together and arpeggios.  She is learning 3rd position right now, and like most new things on the violin, it's a struggle.  She kept playing really sharp on the high D on the Eing, and it didn't seem like she was hearing it correctly, so I played it for her, up to tempo and reasonably in tune, and she said, annoyed, "Show off!!"

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on November 29, 2009 at 3:42 AM

; )

From Manuel Tabora
Posted on November 29, 2009 at 2:07 PM

When I was in Honduras, during my middle school- highschool years, I would go to school in the morning, classes started at 6:30 and went to 1:30, and then I would go to music school from 2:00 to 7:00 pm. My brother grew up watching me live this life, so I guess he was completely turned off by it. He's really good at soccer, though!

From Becky Jenkinson
Posted on December 1, 2009 at 4:22 AM

My sister played the flute and I played the violin.  I am ashamed to say that I lost my temper with my sister, and ended up breaking a bow by using it as a "hitter"....I still have the bow as a reminder.  My sister and I are dear friends, despite this childish action.   I have a couple of daughters who enjoy playing the violin. 

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on December 1, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Becky you can't imagine how much your post made me laugh!  I have a twin sister and although I never broke a bow on her we still had many fights as well despite beeing good but very different friends usually (she has a tad of a jealous personnality so you can imagine that me as the sister is the first one to suffer from her fits...) 

I still remember when she was angry since my practicing was noisy and thrown violently my Tchaikovsky/Miakovsky CD of Vadim Repin on the floor (the box broke and opened but the CD was safe...)  If she had done this with one of my rare Oistrakh collections she would be dead today!!!


From LyeYen Tien
Posted on December 2, 2009 at 4:59 PM

No siblings, but my 2 sons play the violin. They even played the 3 mvts of Bach Double for a recital 2 years ago.

Yeah, big headache, a lot of finger pointing - or rather bow pointing - you rushed, no you did!

Big headache for me, must make sure both play well on their own, and then playing together is a totally diffent ballgame. We havent even talked abt playing with the accompanist yet!

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