Your Real Life

June 6, 2007 at 01:26 AM · Hey everyone,

This is probably a pointless discussion topic, but I wanted to know what everyone did or fellback on when their musical aspirations failed or became tedious. Or what careers do you hold outside of your secret affair with the violin?

Did any of you find jobs where yo could mix music with another like or love?

Just interested in hearing responses.


Replies (72)

June 6, 2007 at 01:35 AM · I work full-time as a project manager for a neuroscience research lab. I got a PhD in Neuroscience and then worked in the biotech industry for 7 years. For a while I thought that doing science was my real passion. But then I had two children, and that stopped seeming so clear. I still like science, doing it and writing about it, but it was around that time I felt that I needed something more in my life than just science. When my son (now 4) wasn't a baby anymore, I started playing viola again.

Many scientists (and doctors and researchers) are also musicians. I think they go well together. Someday I hope to audition for the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, which is largely composed of Boston-area medical and research professionals.

I just wanted to add after reading your post that I don't consider my scientific career a fallback, nor did my musical aspirations fail or become tedious. I'm happy to be an amateur musician and to make a living doing something else.

June 6, 2007 at 01:41 AM · You gotta be kiddin--this girl is a jealous hussy, and demands all my free time, my dedication, indeed--my left ear on full moons--and I love her.

Seriously though--I garden, take care of the folks, work a little when I want to, and am preparing to do my masters program.

June 6, 2007 at 01:48 AM · Greetings,

I am a linguist and cognitive psychologist. The latte ris necessary if one wishes to specialize in language teahcing rather than just knowing about language and explaining it to people which is a boring as watching paint dry. Aside from teaching the violin, my true love is working as a teacher trainer. Very little excites me more than getting a roomful of people who are either new or jaded in the language teaching field and showing them how exciting and relentlessly challenging working in the classroom is.



June 6, 2007 at 02:47 AM · I'm a bum.

I really am, actually. I'm a teacher on Summer vacation!

June 6, 2007 at 03:06 AM · I am in school getting fall-backs just in case music fails. But I will be a happy amateur musician as well. :)

June 6, 2007 at 02:58 AM · When I'm not with the violin, I'm with the piano. When I'm not with the piano or violin, I'm with the cello. When I'm not with either 3 of them, I'll be in front of the TV, x-box, laptop, CDs etc. When I'm not doing any of the above, I'm usually working during the day, sleeping during the night, waiting for the trains in between with my ipod on. Sometimes I catch up with friends for lunch to practise my Japanese with Japanese friends and sign language with deaf friend.

Was that the "real life" you were referring to? I've got no life. Though, I am saving for my Europe trip next year.

June 6, 2007 at 03:12 AM · I started studying violin late, around 12-13. I spent my freshman and sophomore years of college at Manhattan School of Music where I learned a tremendous amount and made great progress. However, I decided to leave after my sophomore year to get a more rounded liberal arts education.

In retrospect the decision to leave seems a bit strange even to me, and I suppose the reasons behind it were complex. Many of my former fellow students have made successful careers in music, including some of the top orchestras and chamber groups, some even as soloists. I think the fact of starting late and having been a bit timid as a teenager probably held me back...but that is old history.

Anyway, after leaving MSM I went on to get a BS and a PhD in microbiology. I seem to have a penchant for choosing long, difficult career paths...!

I did a couple of postdoctoral research fellowships and now I have my own research lab at the University of California. My lab studies HIV and AIDS. It is great work and takes 90+% of my time and energy.

I haven't played seriously since I was in my first post-PhD fellowship, when I was in a very good community/semipro orchestra in Paris. That was fun, but I no longer have that much free time...!

To be honest I recently started dusting off my playing after about an 8 year break...I don't really know where the time went. I am of course very out of shape, but I find that the patience and concentration abilities I've gained over the years help with practicing. I also play with less bow arm tension and more confident shifting than I used to, probably because I know my livelihood doesn't depend on hitting a high g-sharp...

In a perfect world I would divide my time between science and music, but since that is not really practical I do what I can...!

June 6, 2007 at 03:11 AM · No Dilbert jokes please... I'm an engineering manager by day and violist at night. The day job pays the bills while the night "job" keeps me sane. Well, at least as sane as an viola engineer can be :) And as frustrating as it is sometimes - I can do the most complex math imaginable, but still have a hard time counting rhythms. Go figure!

June 6, 2007 at 03:13 AM · Sign language is Kool! William. I'm proficient spelling, but that's about it.

Barbara, thank you for your research with HIV. I brought the quilt to my college as SGA president.

June 6, 2007 at 03:06 AM · I work at various things, for the money, and sometimes for the adventure and change of scene.

At various times I have been employed as a jackaroo (in my late teens), a field assistant (geological), a private music teacher, a school classroom teacher (temporary supply), a school instrumental music teacher, and a geologist. I've given being a writer a bit of a go. I'm looking for another job.

June 6, 2007 at 06:00 AM · Albert, my interest in HIV started in music school when AIDS was first discovered...(which will tell you how old I am!)...I wish we had a cure and am frustrated that we still don't! Good for you for showing the quilt. Some of my old musician friends are, unfortunately, 'on' it...

Jon, what is a jackaroo??!

Buri, nice to hear what you do...linguistics is fascinating...but I'd love to hear how you found your way to Japan!

Karen, good luck with your orchestra ambitions...there are a lot of great musicians (with day jobs in science and medicine) in Boston...what a great place to be!

One more little ps, I agree with Karen that it can be great to make a living doing something else...I don't really feel that my musical ambitions faltered but I'm glad to be doing something more concrete during the day. Studying music has added great depth to my life...

June 6, 2007 at 04:08 AM · Firmware coder. Mostly lately I make inanimate objects talk to you. Cracking the whip behind Silicon Sally in the checkout lane. The fast lane. My dream is to program one of those mini-Mars rovers. Mine wouldn't get stuck the way those H-1B visa ones do. Plus it would detect life, whether it's there or not.

June 6, 2007 at 04:25 AM · Greetings,

>Plus it would detect life, whether it's there or not.

Ah, you`ve taught English in a Japanese university too,



June 6, 2007 at 05:01 AM · That's much too daunting. However, I'd teach Japanese to the Japanese, if I could have a Japanese assistant.

June 6, 2007 at 05:14 AM · I ... have no clue what I'm doing one moment to the next. I remain in a malaise over what I am but it has something to do with being a mother, wife, teacher, writer, violinist, human being, Californian, Unitarian, steak lover, vanilla latte drinker...

June 6, 2007 at 05:17 AM · I install Windows for a living at college. I'm studying to go into computer forensics.

I also am a lead puppeteer/voice for a local church's puppet team. My specialties are the old dude (I put the cracks in his voice and he's very forgetful) and the hippie (rough voice because he's done too much crack, but he's pretty wise).

I am very active in my faith. I have taught religious education for five years (quitting because music practice has moved to the same time as class). I attend all of the retreats I can, from REACH to Youth 2000 to TEC. I am a regularly active member of the diocese's Communion and Liberation University chapter, and love answering faith questions.

When I'm not playing violin I'm probably working, doing homework, doing chores, transposing music, going to a religious event, performing puppets, eating, or sleeping. There's also the occassional "do nothing" for a couple minutes.

Oh yeah...apparantly I also use the computer...hence the computer forensics career outlook.

June 6, 2007 at 05:30 AM · Oh asked about careers in music. I've got one as a string quartet director. Doesn't pay well enough to consider it a stable source of income yet: currently <$400/year.

June 6, 2007 at 05:38 AM · "Unitarian, steak lover, "

I got a flyer for a Unitarian thing where the speaker is a guy who wrote a book proving there's no God. What kind of religion is that?

June 6, 2007 at 05:43 AM · During the acadameic year I am 100% absorbed in music (teaching , conducting ,playing )and as I only have Sundays free (and not always) there is not much time to do anything else.In the holidays I go trekking and mountain climbing,potter with my plants and like to enjoy good food and wine instead of living off ready made frozen dinners.

June 6, 2007 at 06:46 AM · Last October, I walked by a local guitar shop and saw a few violins for sale. I had played violin when I was young but stopped for over 20 years. I came home with a 100-year old strad copy that has a beautiful rich sound and great projection. I have been playing it like this is what I’m living for since then.

I was trained and practiced as a nurse in China both with western and traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. After I had failed to save a single cancer patient for three years, I went into studying Chinese philosophy and religion and this searching for meaning continued after I immigrated to Canada, where I first studied western philosophy and then law. My disappointment with institutionalized philosophy and disillusionment in practice of law led me to a serial of jobs in government working on policy and legislation. Contrary to a lot of myth about life of a civil servant, I actually find these jobs to be challenging and interesting. I could easily spend days and evenings thinking and talking about my work, but I also want to have balance so I have to force myself to stay away from work by getting myself involved in all sorts of things evenings and weekends. I’ve been involved in a local charity organization to help the poor and needy people. I’ve been growing roses and organic fruits and vegetables. I paint and do Chinese calligraphy, and I design and make one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories for fun and charitable donation. People also tell me that I’m a good gourmet cook.

Through playing the violin, I see more clearly, feel more intensely and think more freely. The effect of playing it permeates every espect of my life, and in this sense, the violin mixes very well with my work.

June 6, 2007 at 08:40 AM · When I'm not loving my violin, let's see...

I'm baking. I'm fishing. I'm knitting, hiking, running, drawing, and drinking coffee. I get paid to bake, and sometimes to draw, but not for those other things.

June 6, 2007 at 01:53 PM · I'm a retired airline pilot. Now I'm running the Town and Country Symphony Orchestra,, trying to bring it up to a very high level. It's a slow process, but things are beginning to look very good. The rest of the time I see planes in the sky and wish like heck I was back up there with them.

June 6, 2007 at 10:21 PM · I'm an interior decorator and I sew custom draperies, pillows, bedding, accessories. It doesn't pay as well as private teaching, but I can do it at night when everyone else is asleep.

June 6, 2007 at 03:08 PM · What an interesting group of responses (and what an interesting group).

I'm a Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist with a university center that serves the public. The 3 main reasons I didn't go into music as a career are 1) ability, 2) ability, and 3) ability. But I still play and (when I can find the time) study.


June 6, 2007 at 03:50 PM · I'm training for the Chicago Marathon, re-reading the Harry Potter books back to back in time for the new one (!), hiking, swimming, and playing Wii. :)

June 6, 2007 at 05:35 PM · I engage in recreational mathematics, chess, kettlebell lifting, and I play with my dog:)

June 6, 2007 at 05:39 PM · I'm a physician, I sing Lieder and some opera still, needlepoint, and I write fiction. But most of the time, when I can, I'm practicing.

June 6, 2007 at 06:21 PM · I'm a clinical microbiologist and a computer and statistics enthousiast. I am married and we have four children, ages 15-26.

And still there is some time left to play the violin!

June 6, 2007 at 06:33 PM · While I love the violin, I don't think there's any way I could be a professional. I came to it too late in life. I do it for love!

I work part time as a teacher of mathematics (junior college level), and full time as a mom.

June 6, 2007 at 07:31 PM · I've been a cross-country coach and have run a few marathons. I love trail running. I wish I lived closer to Emily Grossman, because I bet we'd be good running buddies, and she wouldn't make fun of my choice of iPod music.

I stink at computers. I think it's a miracle every day that I'm able to find and not get lost in cyberspace.

Carolyn--ohhh . . . I'm getting psyched up for that 7th Harry Potter too. I love reading and I'm a fantasy nut. I can even speak a little Sindarin (that's Tolkein's common elvish--I cannot believe I am admitting that).

So many very talented and interesting people in the ranks of violinists!

June 6, 2007 at 07:26 PM · Lots of marathonis in here - I'm a software developer now, the rest is violin, Aikido, training for my 3rd marathon, the local AIDS-help and my kayak.

June 6, 2007 at 08:08 PM · I love to stitch together with you, kimberlee. Drapery is something I don’t do well yet. Mine's usually are asymmetrical, as they move too much during the long line from one end to the other. But I love to do embellishment with painting, prints, and crazy embroideries and crazy quilt – anything crazy for that matter.

Emily, I want your baking tips as I can cook better than bake. I do make great apple pie though. I perfect my apple pie in my 3rd year boring law school. Each time I reviewed the business association text and cases, I had to have the apple pie in the oven to making the reading tolerable. I almost flunked that course:)

June 6, 2007 at 08:35 PM · Playing violin and dancing are two sides of the same coin for me, although dancing is definitely easier and even more compulsive - plus percussive dancing like Turkish with finger cymbals or Appalation Clog kills two birds with one stone. Even Maxim Vengerov is getting in on the dancing act, with his tango at this year's Proms.

My job is managing scientific and technical projects, but really I'm a geek and wish I was a techie again. I also do voluntary prison work supporting prison visitors. Here in the UK we have the highest prison population in Europe and research has shown that prisoners who receive regular visits are far less likely to reoffend. It's totally fascinating as all of human nature is there, and I've also discovered more about literature as one of my volunteer friends is an avid reader is always recommending the next book to read.

June 7, 2007 at 01:15 AM · Yixi--I crazy quilt too.

June 7, 2007 at 03:41 AM · I went a pretty long way with science, stopped to have kids, and now I'm a part-time biology instructor at a community college. Interesting to see a bunch of other scientists here. I stopped for a few years here and there, but in the last several years after getting a much better violin and bow, I am finding my playing so much better--that I can't bear to put it down. I do think about how it would have been if I had done music professionally. But one thought consoled me. If I didn't teach biology, I'd probably not study it on my own. And it is a nice bunch of knowledge. No one is making me play violin, but I'd do it anyway.

I just started teaching a few students. I experimented on my younger daughter and she seemed to turn out OK. My other time goes to seeing that my daughters practice their music, bringing them to lessons, mom stuff, faith (Christian) activities, and lately, reading these discussions for ideas about music and teaching.

June 7, 2007 at 07:22 AM · Patent attorney (biotech inventions mostly).

Kimberly, I had a client a few years back that was a Sindarin scholar (I didn't know there was such a thing) who was involved in a dispute with the Tolkein estate.

June 7, 2007 at 09:11 AM · Crazy quilt? You're kidding! Quilters are born crazy, that's what.

Did I mention, I'm also a quilter?

Kimberlee, save up every last penny and get yourself up here while the weather's still fine. You will find so many trails and not enough time to see all the amazing things here. Miles and miles of trails, the kind of trails that will haunt you in your dreams for the rest of your life. And don't worry, I'll keep the bears away for you. We will have fun, you and I, pushing through the overgrown pushki and stopping every once in a while to smell the tundra flowers.

I'm afraid sometimes that heaven will be a disappointment, after all I've seen here on earth.

June 7, 2007 at 02:41 PM · Alrighty then. I'm saving my pennies from the drapery endeavors and I'm coming to Alaska! Quilt me a nice warm blanket, Emily, I've been spoiled by the weather in Idaho.

June 7, 2007 at 09:07 PM · I was half the pit orchestra for the musical Quilters (the other half was a keyboard). Does that count?

By the way...Quilters is ...different. It's more of an anthology than a story line. I enjoyed it, but my parents were totally lost.

The music was traditional American pioneer-type fiddle music. By the way, if anyone wants to read the review on it:,1626,ECP_737_4639237,00.html

Oh...and I'm still trying to figure out what's meant by "Berst provided confident keyboard accompaniment, at times overpowering Schnautz's more tentative fiddling." I wasn't shy to play any of it. I played as loud as possible. They just had a really hard time micing me. (They didn't let me use my pickup since it wouldn't plug into the system.) Does tentative have a good connotation that I don't know about?

June 7, 2007 at 09:41 PM · y'all mean to say there is more to life than violin?

June 7, 2007 at 10:31 PM · How can I tell if I have a real life? The question seems fairly metaphysical.

June 7, 2007 at 10:34 PM · Greetings,

check the underside. If it`s stamped Wal Mart it`s a) real and b) c%$p.

Glad to be of assistance,


June 8, 2007 at 03:29 AM · I'm a writer by profession :-)

I'm glad that the violin gives me a different way of seeing (and feeling!) things in my chosen field, PR and advertising -especially when I need to take a breather from technical material, like electronics or home construction.

June 8, 2007 at 08:13 AM · Mr Dimacali,

I'd like to write. I have degrees in science, arts and education. Do I have to complete a degree in writing to get work, would you say? I don't think I could face university one more time.

June 8, 2007 at 09:07 AM · Wouldn't we have to see some of your writing to answer that question?

Ah, I don't know anything.

June 8, 2007 at 10:04 AM · Hi, Jon O'brien!

On the topic of writing...

To answer your question up front, you don't need a writing degree to be a writer. Nor do you need a writing degree to be accepted as a credible writer. In fact, I've often found that having only a writing degree to go by could be a hindrance because employers would always doubt whether you're capable of handling the subject matter!

Studying helps, but only up to a point. Sooner or later, you have to close your textbooks and just put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard, depending on your preferred writing instrument).

I think, given the breadth of your academic experience, by now you should have a lot of material and references to work with tucked away in your head somewhere.

Now all you have to do is write!

I know that's easier said than done. Even veteran writers feel a knot in their stomachs each time they're faced with a blank paper or screen. (In fact, I feel that way at least three times a day! Hahaha)

Think about it in terms of your violin playing... Each note, even if imperfect, is beautiful because it's heartfelt.

So don't be afraid to write whatever comes to mind, and be open to constructive criticism. Before you know it, you'll be a great writer! :-)

Cheers and good luck!

Best regards,


June 8, 2007 at 12:10 PM · Thanks Timothy. I'll see if I can get the writing craft up and running again. I submitted a piece last year to about 7 different editors and no one was interested to buy. It was a short piece on Scottish music as experienced by a small kid (me). I don't think I can handle the rejection.

Emily, you are a writer. Thou hast the talent.

June 8, 2007 at 10:28 PM · Jasmine, what a great idea for a post!

In my 8-5, M-F life I work as an engineer/project manager for an equipment manufacturing firm. Despite the fact that I often feel out of place in this profession, nonetheless I am quite fortunate and blessed. For one, I lack a college degree and therefore had to work my way up through the ranks to get into my profession. Regardless, such opportunities are seldom made available to those without a degree, so in this I am fortunate. Also, the company I work for is a very gracious firm, as the owners are very gracious people. The greatest blessing of all, however, is that my occupation allows my wife to stay at home and care for our two children, something that is important to us.

Outside of my 8-5, M-F life, and apart from time spent violin-in-hand, my life for the most part revolves around my family. I have a the most wonderful wife, Kelly, who is as kind, forgiving and understanding a soul as anyone could ever hope to encounter. I also have two beautiful children, Ryan who is 6 years old and Taryn who is 4 years old. I also have a strong Christian faith, which really is the cornerstone of my existence. My faith is woven throughout the very fabric of my life, although I seldom speak openly of it, and really only when someone invites me into their life and I develop a relationship with them. The way I see it (what my faith has taught me, really) is that other people I come across in life, no matter their history, background, belief, etc. have unsurpassable worth and my one job in this life is to ascribe to them unsurpassable worth and love them as Christ loved me and gave up His life for me. It is not my job to judge them, it is not my job to tell them what they should think or believe, nor is it my job to thrust upon them what I think or believe. My job in life is simple really, to simply love others, and I am learning what this really means day by day. But, I am off track a bit. Sorry about that, now I will turn back onto the main road.

When I was young I was fortunate in that I had a very wonderful upbringing. I grew up on a small farm, and even though I am but 37 years old (soon to be 38!), I grew up much as one would have back in the earliest days of the last century. We lived off the land for the most part, grew our own food and sold the excess. I learned a lot growing up as I did, and the experiences I had then have very much shaped the person I have become today. I learned to respect the natural world and the natural order of things. I learned how important it is to shape our will and desires to suit the world in which we live, as opposed to an effort to shape the world in which we live to suit our will and desires. It is a great arrogance (and ignorance) to assume we really, truly understand the natural order of things enough to justly ‘modify’ creation. We do this all of the time, and continually get ourselves in trouble doing so. Global warming just is the latest major contribution to the trend. However, such is human nature and one thing I have learned in life is that human nature trumps all. In other words, the decisions of others need not make sense! I have to tell you one thing, though. I really, truly admire Native Americans in that they managed to live here for many, many centuries in complete harmony with the land. It has not taken us nearly so long to have largely destroyed that which was present when our (or at least my) kind first arrived. It is a sad thing to consider, a very sad thing indeed.

I still try to live a life close to the land, and still find endless beauty in creation. I am all the while amazed at the intricacy of creation, of the delicate balance and the phenomenal design. There really is a design and a structure that transcends human comprehension. The more we learn of the natural world, the more we find out how little we really know. And, this applies to that which for all intents and purposes resides merely in our own back yard! There resides a whole universe of the unknown, not to mention the deep and other vast regions of which we no little on a macroscopic scale, not to mention the seemingly infinitely complex microscopic scale. Mechanically speaking, the human body alone is an engineering marvel the complexities of which any engineer can only begin to truly grasp.

Wow, I rambled on a bit there! I will stop now. Sorry everybody! Oh well, these are my thoughts, or at least a portion of them, outside of my life with the violin. However, it is not truly apart from the violin as the violin integrates it all, and acts as a sounding board expressing the voice of the inner world, of life and love and that which moves the hearts of men.

June 9, 2007 at 01:50 AM · "the violin integrates it all,and acts as a sounding board expressing the voice of the inner world,of life and love"

how true !

these words should be carved in granite !

great post !!!

June 9, 2007 at 05:01 AM · This is a fascinating thread. Thanks for starting it, Jasmine.

After earning (with blood, sweat, and tears) my Ph.D. in biochemistry, I did lab research at NIH for a few years and then did scientific review (read, analyze, write) for the FDA. In 2001 I was nearly killed in a car accident, and I was forced to leave my job because I couldn't keep up my attendance. Very inhumane. I have been looking for a job in my former career field for several years, but I am chronically unemployed. I started teaching violin after I lost my job. I love it. It's by far the most satisfying work I've ever done. Too bad I can't make enough money to support myself this way. I occasionally do some freelance science writing and get occasional freelance work as an English teacher/writing coach/editor.

Nonmusical things I love to do include reading, photography, working out, doing yoga, being outdoors any place pretty, helping others, writing, wasting time on the Internet, and cooking.

I apologize if this sounds like a Personals Ad. On the other hand, if anyone suitable replies, I'll be happy. ;-)

June 9, 2007 at 03:57 AM · Well, usually I'm either thinking about the violin or school or loans or something.... but I often find myself playing with my dogs in my spare time. What a great life they have.... they don't have to do any work, they just get to lay around and get petted all day. When you have to go to the bathroom, you just paw at the door and get let out. When you're hungry, you can either beg or wait until meal time (my dogs are better at the first part...)

I also enjoy things like shopping and exercising. I find the latter to be the best stress relief possible. Even when I'm having a terrible day or I'm stressed out, a good run or some time on a treadmill helps my mind clear out. Quite often I'm able to put things together and see things more clearly after a good run.

June 9, 2007 at 06:16 PM · Pauline, do you subscribe to the NIH Listserv for job opportunities in administration? I do (not sure why, since I'm not actually looking for a job), and they regularly post SRA (scientific review administrator) and other well-paying, stable positions...I can email you the link if you like.

On the other hand, that type of job would not leave you much time for violin teaching...!

June 9, 2007 at 08:28 PM · Thanks, Barbara. I'm aware of those positions, have even interviewed for one, but they are not interested in me because I don't have recent, glamorous research experience.

June 9, 2007 at 09:18 PM · They don't know what they're missing!

Ever think of working at Peabody...?

June 10, 2007 at 06:35 AM · Hi Barbara,

I forgot to answer your question. A jackaroo is an Australian word for someone who canters and gallops and trots and walks around on horses all day yelling at dumb cows and bulls and weaners.

At night he rolls up in a piece of canvas and blankets and sleeps on the ground, literally under the stars. Unlike a Gypsy, however, he doesn't get much violin practice done, so eventually he sees the light and one day gets up, shakes the dust off, gets on to his horse, and rides off into the morning sunlight, heading back to the world of bright lights, ice creams, women, and violins.

June 10, 2007 at 09:26 AM · That's a great word, John. Today, I got to take an Australian guy fishing with me--Krikey! "Jackaroo" would have been a great word to use on him. I learned a few things about Australian lingo, and what words not to use if I ever go there. I fed him some granola. "Granola? What is it? Is it made of granoles?"

I laughed so hard I almost fell on my fanny.

June 10, 2007 at 09:20 AM · Oh good point to discuss about!

Actually I'm a chemist close to defend my PhD thesis.

I quit studying violin when I began to attend the University courses 'cause I was so fool to belive that I couldn't manage well violin and chemistry.

But I made a big mistake!

To play an instrument is very helpful to form a solid discipline and to open the mind to deal with different problems at the same time (intonation, bowing mechanisms etc..).

I have met a lot of people at the University who are so mindclosed that probably they would need to play some instrument!!!


June 10, 2007 at 09:26 AM · Yeah, come down to Australia sometime. We don't have any bears here....a few nasty snakes and spiders and crocodiles. That's about it.

Don't you hurt your fanny!

June 10, 2007 at 09:27 AM · ;)

June 10, 2007 at 01:10 PM · Antonio, I quit violin during my PhD studies too. But I started playing again as a postdoc, and it took about 6 months but I got to be better than before. Sometimes you can't do it all at once.

June 11, 2007 at 07:09 AM · Jon, in California we just call them cowboys...;-)

but Jackaroo is a great word, although when I first heard that it reminded me of jackalope, which is a mythical hybrid jackrabbit/antelope (native to airport souvenir shops) in the wild west.

Thanks for the explanation!

Antonio, I agree with Karen and had a similar experience to hers. Keep playing if you can, but don't be too hard on yourself if you have to stop for awhile. Taking a break can bring a change in perspective.

June 12, 2007 at 07:29 PM · I try to live like a "normal" college student - hang out, go to the pool, go to parties. I try not to get too isolated in the music building (it can make you go a little crazy, you know?), and I try not to get mired up in music-student drama.

June 12, 2007 at 08:56 PM · It's interesting to see what people do other than violin :)

When I was growing up, my parents encouraged violin and harped on me to practice, but told me, "Never be a musician!!" Unfortunately that sunk in and I studied political theory in college, but also studied violin seriously at the same time. After I graduated I ended up getting a job in technology a few years before the internet "bubble" burst. Luckily I was able to develop good skills, keep gainfully employed and am now a software engineer.

All my co-workers tell me I must type so fast because of my violin playing. I tell them if that were true, my left hand would type much faster than my right :P

June 13, 2007 at 12:22 AM · When I'm not being a student, teacher, or performer, I like to spend my time riding my new mountain bike, playing lots of Wii and Guitar Hero, reading, wasting time online, hosting and/or going to parties, and, lately, cooking.

June 13, 2007 at 02:19 PM · What a great thread!

I'm a forestry professor at Auburn University in Alabama. First took up the violin after high school but strayed away from it as life got in the way. 20+ years later, I made a deal with my daughter (7-years-old at the time) that if she would start studying the violin, I'd take lessons with her. That was about 18 months ago and I doubt I'll ever put this wonderfully addictive instrument away again.



June 13, 2007 at 04:54 PM · By day I own and run a small sheet music store with a little help from two part-time employees (we also do instrument rentals and have studio lessons). For recreation I play tennis in leagues 4-5 times per week, singles and doubles. I read constantly but also exist in an alternate world as a level 70 Mage in World of Warcraft (my children are a Hunter and a Druid). I manage and play in a "commercial" string quartet that plays about 150-175 events a year.

June 26, 2007 at 06:46 AM · Well, my musical aspirations were stopped out when I was young by my improper violin habits. So I didn't have the technique and ability to progress to a higher level. I have small hands and short fingers, and I had difficulty with doublestop stretches. I lost interest and in college majored in math and became a software engineer. Today I'm a middle manager, not of the Dilbert type, because I still do code reviews and tech my engineers on their designs.

I came back to the violin after hearing a lady play at church. I was inspired to try again, and took up lessons. This time, my new teacher gave me no excuse on my small hands and short fingers. He just corrected my bad posture, improper left hand position, improper bowing arm, changed the angle that I hold my violin, and moved my fingers up above the fingerboard and finger orientation to allow stretching back to do tenths. I'm amazed that I can now play things I thought were impossible when I was younger, such as the Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas, Beethoven (Kreisler cadenza), and other wild doublestops. But I'm glad I'm an amateur because I can do crazy things like try play these wild difficult pieces in recital and not worry about my reputation. I still have my day job that pays the bills, and no pressure in the violin world, only fun and joy. I also play violin at my church and that has been a real blessing for me.

July 10, 2007 at 10:10 PM · The playing professionally part of my career has never exactly become tedious, because I've played hundreds of different kinds of jobs, each different from the one before. But as far as earning enough money to survive on from that...well I have actually just taken a leap of faith and have quit the secure day job of running an orchestra program for a school district. I have started freelance copy-editing and website editing, working on my Mandarin language skills (um, just a little but it is conversational right now), having barbecues because it is summer and the weather is great for it, swimming, playing string quartets for jobs, taking some time for me, and enjoying this site. And :( applying for a new day job. But I have a window of time to build up this freelancing business and I think that suits me very well. I'm working on making that stick because I like the idea of being on my own schedule to play concerts and to be free to travel to play overseas.

July 11, 2007 at 04:49 PM · I invest in real estate for money. It pays great and takes very little time away from practicing and drinking coffee. Takes aabout 1 to 1/2 hour per day but you need a chunk of $$$ to get started. How else could I have any time to read all these posts! :)

July 11, 2007 at 04:49 PM ·

July 11, 2007 at 06:11 PM · J,

Can I borrow a chunk of $$$?

July 11, 2007 at 10:26 PM · I'm jumping on late to add-on to this post! I'm studying fluid mechanics in jet engines... ok, I'll admit it, I'm an engineer. see Dilbert for reference to my condition:

I've just found this discussion board in the last couple of weeks but since then just can't stop reading it! I'm really impressed by the willingness of everyone to share their experience with the violin and take the time to provide all of this useful information. Chalk up violinists to the list of people who are stereotypically nice (like runners!) :)

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