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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Should the violin go on the road trip?

June 26, 2009 at 11:17 PM

Next month the family plans to trek the U.S. via Prius, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to bring a violin, probably my American 20th c. one.

I can think of a lot of reasons not to:
It will melt in the car
I'll have to bring it in everywhere we go
I might leave it somewhere
There's no room for it

And reasons to bring it:
So I can practice
If we meet a band of gypsies, Texas fiddlers or subway buskers in DC, I can whip out my fiddle and join the fun
I want to bring it

In sum: my reasons for wanting to take it are romantic, while my reasons for wanting to leave it are practical. What should I do?


From Ryan Frania
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 12:24 AM
I voted no. It is a lot safer not to bring a violin with you on a trip. And anyway, are you really going to have as much time to practice as would be ideal?
From Thomas Gardner
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 1:21 AM

Hey Laurie,

I think your last comment sums up why I said yes...."I want to."   I am sure you will take care of it always look cool to walk into McDonalds with a violin case (at least I think...they seem to prepare my chicken nuggets faster, either in respect for my high brow instrument or fear that its actually a gatlin gun in there....   :)

Posted on June 27, 2009 at 1:31 AM

This is a good reason to have more than one instrument....   I would take my cheapest violin with me.  I remember Steinhardt, from the Guarneri Quartet, wrote a book in which he described how his precious violin was soaked in gasoline during a trip.

Posted on June 27, 2009 at 1:52 AM

it's a family trip? spend the time with the family...simple

From David Beck
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 4:24 AM

Don't musical instrument insurance policies often have clauses making them invalid if an instrumant is left unattended in a vehicle for more than a certain time, e.g.30 mins. ???

Whatever ...... it's nice to return to home or violin refreshed after a break. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. One reason for going on trips. The downside is having to catch up on gardening chores on returning.

From Christine Kharazian
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 4:45 AM

I have the same problem. To bring, or not to bring, that is the question.

From Kim Vawter
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 5:08 AM

 I voted no but here i am in Kansas City with my violin.  It is just me--I know where i will be going--how long it will take to get there and I am running the air conditioner. It is like having a baby in the car. It just takes planning--

A full road trip with multiple destinations (Cave of the Snakes? Pioneer Town? Disney Land?) NO!!!! Also most people just are not that keen on hearing an impromptu concert, unless they are the sort who have their violins too and what are the odds on that happening?

Gotta go practice--where is my mute?

From David Allen
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 5:44 AM


If you come here to visit do bring your violin; take it with you wherever you go. Otherwise, how will people know you are a musician? Also, One never knows when opportunity will knock. I like the idea of busking your way across America!  Speaking of opportunity, it sounds to me as if you actually NEED a carbon fiber instrument. What else would a modern day gypsy use?

From Elizabeth Musil
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 6:59 AM

I voted no, but if you really want to bring one, bring one that you absolutely dont care if something happens to it.  I wouldn't risk a good violin on a road trip.

I've been in the same situation here in Europe when I've taken several short trips.  Each time, I've ended up bringing my violin with me, and both regretted and been glad I had it with.  It's a lot of stress having to look after it, worry that it will be left somewhere, ruined or stolen (more of a problem here as I travel with trains), carry it with luggage, etc.  Most trips I've had it on I've had a lot less time to play than I had planned, and at several places people have knocked on doors asking me to stop, and my playing isnt that bad.  On the other hand, the times I've gotten to play while traveling - priceless.

From Patricia Baser
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Maybe you need something like a Wiplstix. 

From Royce Faina
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM

These days (for me) there are to many opportunities to play.  So the violin goes with me frequently.  This time of year I love going into the mountains and the open plains with my violin because there are just sooo many natural ampitheaters.  There are places that makes my violin sound beautiful in away that it will only sound like this at a particular spot and no where else!  I make it a game, have the sound deflect off a body of water which projects it into a hill side then back too me, a natural amplifier!  Just so many neat places to play the violin here in the Rockies!

From Anne Horvath
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Don't bother.  If you leave it at home, you will feel guilty for missing your practicing.  If you bring it along, you will blow off practicing and feel even more guilty.  This is a lose-lose situation.

This is why I hope your trip involves some Graeter's ice cream  (Insert smiley face here).  Have a good time!

From Donald Hendrix
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Laurie, as above you need a knock around junker, reasonably useful but as above, one that it does not matter so much if it gets to hot, damaged or stolen but something that you can crank out some notes on, jam and maybe practice a little.  Enjoy the trip, you will always treasure the memories and the fiddle can add something.  Don 

From Barry Nelson
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 2:41 PM

like already said, I wouldnt bring an expensive fiddle on a adventure like that. But if it was me, Id have to bring one. Do a little online reseach and find out where locals have jam sessions, play with street musicians.


This is a chance to have fun with your music. you'll have to share your adventure when you get back.


Have fun !!!

From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 3:56 PM

I almost always leave my violin home on vacations. Just too much hassle and danger to the instrument. Plus, its nice to have a break from practicing once in a while.

From Thomas Gardner
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 10:49 PM

Laurie, we seem fairly evenly divided so in order to satisfy all of us you need to go on your trip for a few days without the violin and then fly home early so that you can practice.  In this way we will all be get a little bit of  a family trip....the "no takers" get what they want, and we "take it with you" people at least get a bit of a compromise.  Its a  win win for everyone.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 11:41 PM

It just occurred to me that maybe I should take my much-neglected mandolin....I do have a violin that's not my primary one, though I probably would offend it if I called it a "beater"!

From David Rowland
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 3:41 AM

I'm taking a trip next month and bringing my electric violin along. But I'm going to a place where there will be people who want to play some music and I'm planning on joining in.

Earlier this month I took a trip and left it behind. I don't regret it and was pleasantly surprised at my next lesson that I didn't seem to suffer from the short break (a week). My instructor felt the break may have helped me.


From Tess Z
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 4:38 AM

Has the folding violin been invented yet?

If you really, truly, and seriously think you will have the time to play then bring it.  But give it some serious thought as you are packing a families belongings for a week? long trip in a Pruis?  You're nuts!  Where are you putting the instrument, under the hood with the engine? 

From David Beck
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 6:40 AM

Surely the tribe DESERVE a break from the old squeak-box ?? Undivided attention for them, for a change !!! Would I take my mistress (if I had one) away on a trip with the wife'n'kids ?? 

From Thomas Gardner
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 10:21 PM

Maybe if your "mistress" provided a significant part of the family income that made the trip possible, David :)

I vote Mandolin, Laurie.  Just please film yourself busking with the mandolin.  I think it would make a great YouTube video.

From Tess Z
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 11:21 PM

LOL David.  Interesting analogy.

From David Beck
Posted on June 29, 2009 at 10:55 AM

" Maybe if your "mistress" provided a significant part of the family income that made the trip possible, David :)"

Unfortunate choice of phrase, Thomas. !! Professional playing might sometimes SEEM like living off the proceeds of immoral earnings ....... cheating management and public alike with out-of-tune wrong notes....

From Thomas Gardner
Posted on June 29, 2009 at 11:13 PM

 "cheating management and public alike with out-of-tune wrong notes...."

Ha!  I didn't know you attended my last concert should have come backstage and said hello  :)

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