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The Weekend Vote Thanksgiving vote: For what are you feeling most musically grateful today?

November 24, 2010 at 10:00 PM

This week in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving, a day on which we count our blessings and express gratitude.

I thought it would be a good time to step back from whatever little intricate discussions we have here on and ponder the one wonderful thing that brings us together: music. Thank the heavens for music! Even when one part of my musical life feels out of balance, something else restores it: witnessing a beautiful performance, coming across a piece I've never heard, reading quartets with friends, helping a student discover something new, getting new strings on my violin and hearing it sing.

What has made you feel musically grateful most recently? Please use the weekly poll as a starting point for discussing what makes us most thankful in our music-making and love for the violin.

And in honor of Thanksgiving: "Simple Gifts": some American music (from Copland's Appalachian Spring) paired with American western landscapes by photographer Ansel Adams.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 10:09 PM

  It is always possible that I've missed the most important thing of all, that's why we've got you, Buri! ;) (plus I only had five slots, that's my excuse!)

From Susan Young
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Simple Gifts and Ansel Adams.  What a beautiful pairing! Thank you for posting it Laurie

From Maria Held
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 10:08 PM

I feel most grateful for those moments, when you are sitting in the orchestra, it sounds great, and the whole orchestra feels like one big living being. The so-called "flow"-moment!

I am so lucky and blessed to experience such marvellous moments almost daily at the moment!

It is also the feeling to be privileged: to have the possibility to participate, to play that certain piece with that certain great musicians at the very moment! I mean: how many (rather few!!!) people on earth have such a chance, to have been able to learn and study music, and to perform actively, not just witnessing a wonderful performance, but to be a part of it!?!

This is what I am grateful for every day, and music is so powerful, that it can make you forget all those hardships, which often come along with a musician's profession.

From Kevin Robinson
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 10:29 PM
I voted for "chance to perform" because I'm not really that gifted at violin playing. My nervous system is really too slow for it. Yet, I play in a 30-36 piece church orchestra, and I fiddle for my other job, at times. I also play bass for a WWII era big band, and sing for other church and nonChurch functions, sometimes even get paid. Nevertheless, I really enjoy it, and its a blessing for which I'm thankful for!
From Mendy Smith
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 11:56 PM

I voted "Chance to perform", but for me that really means is the chance to make music with and for others.

From Jim Hastings
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 12:07 AM

It was a tough call -- I am grateful for all five choices, but I voted for my teacher.  I had six teachers, and each one of them gave valuable guidance; but the one I'm especially thinking of now is my first teacher -- a real inspiration to an impressionable kid like me.

In December 2005, I re-established contact with her.  On January 6, 2006, she wrote back to me:

"I was so surprised, and very pleased, to get your great newsy letter! … I remember the days when I taught you and how very talented you were (and still are). What an interesting life you have had, both musically and otherwise.
* * * * * * * * * *

"Thanks so much for keeping in touch after all these years. I'm so impressed that you play several hours a day. I think that's great!"

Time for me to touch base with her again.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 1:01 AM

I voted for "The existence of beautiful music for the violin", but I'm also thankful for beautiful music composed for other instruments. 


I'm thankful for all the violin teachers I've had, the piano teachers, and the school and youth orchestra directors. 

I'm thankful for all my students, even if they are probably slacking this week.

I'm thankful I have gigs in this recession.

I'm thankful for my violin Guido, and for that really great adjustment done this summer.  Guido is thankful for that too.  He sounds the best he ever has!

I'm thankful for all the great artists.  I'm thankful for all the orchestras, opera and ballet companies, chamber groups, and music schools that are trying to hang in there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 12:43 AM

David Oistrakh's birth on this earth!  : )


Quality training/equipment despite beeing just an amateur. 

(inspires me to fight even harder against our bad reputation of beeing hopeless and finish.  Maybe we just need more time, good training/violin and to beleive in ourselves to achieve a few scores (no matter how simple they are!) very well with a pro sound before passing out!  As an example, everyone can play twincle with a pro sound after a few years, no?   So, no excuses... we surely can do this with a little more than Twinckle : )  


From Corwin Slack
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 2:43 AM

 I am particularly grateful that violinists like Kreisler, Ysaye, and others were able to record their sound for us and that it is not lost.

From Karen Bird
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 3:17 AM

I'm most grateful that even though I took up violin as an adult, I can experience the thrill of playing in an orchestra and quartet, on a regular basis! Also grateful that this morning I received word that I passed my final exam and am certified as a music braillist, ready to braille music for blind musicians. :)

From Steve Reizes
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 6:46 AM

Really the answer is all of the above.

From Michael Divino
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 2:14 PM

 My teacher(s)!

From Richard Watson
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 3:37 PM


From Sue Buttram
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 5:31 PM

 I'm a singer as well as string player and I am most  grateful for my voice teacher, Phyllis, who died yesterday.  I owe her so much and I will always miss her grace and patience.  She taught me how to teach.  I love you, Phyllis.

From judith s
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 8:11 PM

True, there should be an 'all of the above' option! There are so many things to be thankful for in my music world, I can't even begin go think of listing them. So, let's just say that I'm thankful for music!

From Lori Higgins
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 8:14 PM

I chose the musicians who are great artists, not only for the beautiful music they contribute to our world, but also for the inspiration to keep playing, so that, maybe someday I'll be able to play all the pieces that I love. And that's a tall order!

From Eloise Garland
Posted on November 25, 2010 at 8:19 PM

 I chose beautiful music to play on the violin because although the other options are important to me, without music there TO play, the violin wouldn't exist... or at least that music which has been written for the violin over the years wouldn't exist to play. Without that music, there would be no violin to play! I also love my violin though :) 

From Marsha Weaver
Posted on November 26, 2010 at 1:00 AM

I narrowed it down to two.  First, I'm thankful for my instruments.  My first violin was given to me by my two dearest friends.  My second violin came to me via a route that I never could have found on my own. 

Second, I'm thankful for music so beautiful that I occasionally have to pull off the road and into a parking lot in order to listen -- I know that I can't drive and absorb the music at the same time.

From Gregg Alf
Posted on November 26, 2010 at 4:28 AM

I feel grateful that I can support my family with something I truly love, a craft that brings only good into the world while leaving behind something beautiful that will be around for hundreds of years after I am gone.


From Janis Cortese
Posted on November 26, 2010 at 4:28 AM

I'm thankful for the life-changing revelation that brought the piano back into my life after a long hiatus and for the two musicians whose work inspired that revelation, thankful for my discovery of the viola and how surprisingly strongly I fell in love with it, thankful for the shock of a lifetime in learning that I can write music, thankful for an open-minded, talented, clear-thinking, and encouraging teacher, thankful I still have my beautiful kitty with me after an incredibly dicey two weeks, thankful that I could afford to do what I had to do to get her back to health, thankful for my ex-violin-prodigy mother and my crazy-opera-nut father, thankful I am gainfully employed at a job I like with people I like and respect doing something that is a universal 100% public good, and thankful for the fact that the worst problem I had today was too much food.  Would that everyone on the planet had that problem.

From Christina C.
Posted on November 26, 2010 at 7:23 PM

I voted for my teacher, both my first who managed to keep me at it  when I wasn't especially into it and my current teacher who is helping me to improve now that I finally am into it.


But what I am most thankful for these days is the chance to play chamber music with friends for fun. Nothin' better.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on November 28, 2010 at 8:11 AM

 Beautiful answers, all! Thanks to YOU!

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