Being a violinist

June 9, 2007 at 04:22 PM · Being a violinist is not same as being a pianist or a singer. For one thing, as Perlman put it, the difficulty in playing a violin well is of no comparison to playing other instruments.

What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

Does play the violin makes you feel special?

What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

Replies (29)

June 9, 2007 at 05:29 PM · I disagree with Perlman and others about whether violin present the greatest diffculties. Sure, violin is difficult.

But trumpet is very difficult too. It has only 3 valves, nothing to pluck or strike. The player must make the sound, and only with the smallest of muscles - the umbouchere. Intonation is a big challenge with it too. Physically demanding. Very difficult to produce a satin tone. Much fewer players reach greatness, so there must be a reason. I challenge anyone to try a trumpet, and tell me they can progress rapidly. Try to practise for one hour straight, and tell me how you ache. To play trumpet sweetly yet powerfully is an extremely difficult challenge. Maurice Andres is one of the very few.

Piano is kinda tough too.

I will listen to such comments only when I see and hear someone who has attained mastery of both. So far, the world has not produced one. Until then, I think players should respect the challenges of each others instruments and talents (to put this politely).

June 9, 2007 at 05:59 PM · Fair enough, Ron, this kind of comparison is hard to come with the right answer, and maybe I shouldn’t put the first paragraph there.

Now let’s focus on the following questions:

What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

Does playing the violin makes you feel special?

What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

June 9, 2007 at 06:24 PM · What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

--It means I can show off a bit musically and still be playing calmly. It means I get to play virtually every piece in the musicals. It means I can be innovative and start new bands (since the original ones don't think they could use a violinist).

What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

--Love for music, a good ear and reflexes, at least two or three years of experience, the ability to either read music or play by ear. Also a non-stuck-up personality. Otherwise you're worthless outside of the orchestra.

Does playing the violin makes you feel special?

--Yes. I often hear from girls, "I would marry a violinist before I would marry a non-violinist, even if he wasn't as cute."

What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

--LOL. Originally, I wanted to play drums. Mom heard about my perfect score in tonality/rhythm recognition back in fourth grade and said no way. This was before she understood the importance of a good percussionist, and the rarity of such a person. Word got to my teacher, and when I was trying out the drums, my teacher said, "Roll the drum." So I turned the snare on its side and it didn't roll very far. Apparently, that was the determining factor for me to learn a string instrument. I wanted to play cello, but it was too big. So was the viola. So I ended up on my fourth choice instrument, the violin.

I can't imagine how boring my life might be if I had taken up drums or no instrument at all. I would probably still be in the choir, but I'm not sure how my music reading skills would fare in the choir.

June 9, 2007 at 06:33 PM · On another note (pun intended), I tried the trombone in attempt to join the jazz band in high school...little did I know that the reason no trombonists had signed up was because trombonists in my school gave up playing it. I played for six months (the summer and fall), still didn't get to join the band, and gave up for reasons such as inability to learn the bass clef, a broken rental instrument (it's very painful to get the slide stuck as you're pulling the slide back in...), and severe hand pain (I learned on a trigger trombone...the heaviest there is).

June 10, 2007 at 04:15 AM · The mother of one of my young students said that when she told the kid to practice, the kid whined, "Why me?" (older sis didn't have another instrument to practice.) I didn't know what to say at the moment. But later, I thought, "Why me? Why me of all people to get to play this wonderful instrument and enjoy such moments of making music?"

After I have a good play session, I do feel like I am walking on air. It does make me feel special, because the violin is not an easy instrument to play well. Besides the love of music which drives you to persist, and a sensitive ear, I've heard you need to be a nit-picky type of personality. I think you also have to have some degree of show-off in you.

June 10, 2007 at 01:01 PM · 1.What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

A Peacefull spirt

2.What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

I agree reading of music, and technical position with instrument and bow But I learned strictly Classical played for 14 yrs in an orchestra and there was no time for playing completely by ear. Not to mention absolutely no improvisions allowed. I think this type of learning takes away creativity with music

3.Does play the violin makes you feel special?

No not special but Blessed to have been fortunate to have the chance to learn and play

4.What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

Oh this is difficult because I had to stop playing for health issues as well as financial issues and just started playing again after 25 yrs

What I missed was beyond my comprehension What I lost was at least half of my former ability and with age flexability is a bit harder to regroup

I Lost a freedom of expression a peacefullness. Now I might never regroup and be what I once was But I can still play and enjoy the feel but certainly not the expertice I once commanded. I will however not give it up again and will play till the end.

Very good questions for self refection.

June 10, 2007 at 07:57 PM · 1. What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

It is a part of my identity, 24 ours a day

2. What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

A sharp, clear mind and an open heart

3. Does play the violin makes you feel special?

It feels good, not particular special

4. What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

I don't know; 'if' doesn't exist

June 11, 2007 at 01:33 AM · Come on guys, these are not hard questions! Here are my answers:

1.What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

It means I don’t want to go to heaven.

2. What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

emotional

stubborn or strong willed

perseverance

intelligent mentally, kinesthetically and musically

sensitive to a fault

self-critical

generous

fun-loving

trouble

...

3.Does playing the violin make you feel special?

Absolutely, but then a lot of things make me feel special. Being able to play the violin does make me deeply proud of myself.

4.What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

A voice.

A dear friend.

A whole world.

June 11, 2007 at 01:50 AM · Greetings,

these are really hard questions but I note you addressed guys, persumably because women are better at this kind of stuff.;)

What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

It means whatever else is wrong with one`s life or the world the possibility of doing something creative is only as far away as opening the case. This is tapping into the energy of the universe which is freely given by god (s) and stupidly denied or abused by our species.

What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

Self aware, both physically and mentally. Patient. Willing and able to set goals. Able to love other people and ask nothing back.

Does play the violin makes you feel special?

No. Music is special, the violin is special.

What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

Sitting in a group and discovering the secrets and miracles of so many composers. It`s like taking a walk in a forest and at every slight turn of the path one finds an exquisite flower or a sudden view of magnificent mountains (or even a good looking babe....)

Being cndcuted by a truly great conducter who says try this and suddenly a whole string sections does something together that is a unique and miraculuous creation that can never again be repeated in exactly the same way.

Cheers,

Burp

June 11, 2007 at 02:05 AM · Yixi, when I die I'm going to approach God and ask him would He mind too much if I make myself a violin and continue my studies. We can't just have choirs for Pete's sake. We need that "Shhzzitt!" sound and that "Kratz" that only a violin can do. And that soaring, heavenly E string and that luscious G, and, and, ....all the rest.

June 11, 2007 at 02:18 AM · Brava Burpy Buri! I would have missed out knowing people like you exist in this world had I failed to return to violin!!!

Jon, do you really have to ask? Here you don’t have to. So stay!

June 11, 2007 at 02:28 AM · Oh yes, yes, stay I do intend to do. Don't get me wrong! I am very much a man of this world.

June 11, 2007 at 02:33 AM · 1.What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

It means I cut and past the numbered questions into my answer because it has nothing to do with my nightly practice, or particularly tonight working with colle aspects of martele.

2.What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

Persistence that is not exclusive to violin, but anything that is done with dedicated excellence.

3.Does play the violin makes you feel special?

Absolutely. As my blog elsewhere began, "an intoxicating poison". Violin for those who encounter it as I have know what I mean. Though I get in ruts I guess, and though I still have a bunch of techniques to master, I to this day feel like a little kid with his first football. So no, not special among others, but intently so internally.

4.What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

overuse injuries, Buri's typing, long soliloquy type flame wars, thousands of dollars spent, jealous trouble making students of other teachers, and most importantly, one of the most beautiful legato delicate Air On G String renditions imaginable.

June 11, 2007 at 02:59 AM · Jon, I am God. You may have your violin. However, it will have sixteen strings, two fingerboards, and two bows! ;).

June 11, 2007 at 03:20 AM · Noooooooooooooo!! That's not true.

That's impossible!!!!!!!

(Looks up in abject and black despair at Darth Albert, and then looks down at the gaping abyss beneath)

PS I couldn't resist another:

"General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the violinist.com flame wars....."

June 11, 2007 at 03:16 AM · Practice Jon--practice.

June 11, 2007 at 03:23 AM · Yes.

Albert, you hit it in one.

June 11, 2007 at 03:26 AM · Actually 2--two more notes on the Sarabande kicking my butt to get in tune--on the fly. Howevah, it was until day before yesterday or so, 2 measures. Practice.

June 11, 2007 at 03:50 PM · [quote]

From sher kos

Posted on June 10, 2007 at 6:01 AM (MST)1.

2.What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

I agree reading of music, and technical position with instrument and bow But I learned strictly Classical played for 14 yrs in an orchestra and there was no time for playing completely by ear. Not to mention absolutely no improvisions allowed. I think this type of learning takes away creativity with music

[/quote]

Actually, I guess I have used the term "playing by ear" for several years literally, rather than figuratively. The figurative use would be improvisation, although the literal use, which I intended was to be able to transduce the note desired into an actual physical reproduction, or more simply, to play the note you hear in your head. Sorry for the confusion.

June 12, 2007 at 01:36 AM · violinist: one who plays the violin

June 12, 2007 at 01:39 AM · LOL, Jubin! I’m asking for insights and you are giving us tautology (something is true by definition of the term)!

June 12, 2007 at 01:46 AM · Ah, what makes you a violinist is playing the violin because you have to, but because you want too. You have to love to play more than you love your life. When your done practicing your eyes have to have deep black bags underneath, you have to be bleeding by the eyes from the intensity, your fingers have calluses the size of Saturn, AND TO TOP IT OFF... YOU MUST GROW A FOUR ARMs FOR DARTH ALBERT'S TWO BOW AND NECK VIOLIN HAHAHA. No not really, you just have to love playing. Your love for the music has to be great.

June 12, 2007 at 02:17 AM · I always wondered why I often have dark circles under my eyes. Now I get it.

June 12, 2007 at 02:31 AM · You have to love to feel through the notes by fingers. How would you describe the sound you draw out by the bow? Kissing someone to death?

June 12, 2007 at 02:41 AM · Oh yes. I give death kisses out like candy

June 12, 2007 at 06:30 PM · I imagine if there were any violinists in this world we would have found them by now, with their Saturn-sized calluses.

June 12, 2007 at 07:26 PM · Hi,

My take...

What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

It is a vocation, a way of life rather than a job.

What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

Hard work, dedication, integrity, enthousiasm, an analytical mind, and most importantly remembering that "you are at the service of the music; the music is not at your service."

Does play the violin makes you feel special?

Not really. It is a part of something greater. The violin is special, music is special, but I am not because of either one.

What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

Too many things - it is an integral part of my life. Most things would not have happened if it had not been there. So, I would have missed out on my present life.

Cheers!

June 13, 2007 at 03:43 AM · Being a violinist means that you love to play your violin and you would practice as much as you can and you love it. That's my opinion

June 13, 2007 at 04:11 PM · What does it mean to you to be a violinist?

Being a violinist (to me) means a lot of things but in my own personal life, being a violinist means being in a long-term relationship. It has its ups and its downs and sometimes I wonder why I keep playing but then something happens that reminds me why I stick it out. It's a commitment, it's a passion, it's a drive and it's striving to achieve something greater than you have in anything you've ever done before.

What kind of qualities you have to have in order to be a good violinist?

The want to succeed. Being musically inclined really helps, being flexible and adaptable is also very helpful but with commitment an perseverance, anyone can become a good violinist, it's becoming a great violinist that is the real challenge!

Does play the violin makes you feel special?

It did at first, mainly because I was the only person aside from my best friend at the time who took violin lessons which is why I chose it. We both took lessons from her dad and did duets together as beginning violinists. As I got a bit older (10 or 11), it made me feel special in a negative way and I actually quit for almost a year. I was teased, insulted etc. Even after I picked it up again, that persisted and a much greater and more potentially damaging level then it had previously but I was older and mature enough to not let it affect me as much as it had previously.

What would you have missed out had you never played the violin, or had you stopped playing?

Music is one of my greatest accomplishments. It provides me satisfaction in so many areas of my life - I get to work with really interesting people and get to know my students really well and build relationships in a way that just doesn't exist otherwise. Specifically violin though, if I had quit and never returned to it, I would never had had the opportunity to teach, to travel, or meet some of my closest friends. Basically the life I have now would not exist. Period. Everything I do currently has been somehow impacted or effected by my violin career. The people I know and love, my job (how I got my non-violin related job is thanks to someone I met at a music camp!), everything!

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