Violinist Nightmares

July 19, 2007 at 07:13 AM · After reading Sarah's "Why do we play violin?" thread, I noticed that a few people have had dreams of their violin being smashed, or destroyed in some way. I've had this dream, where I let my non-violinist friend play around with it for a while, only to return to find my violin smashed, and it totally scared the crap out of me when I woke up.

So share! Have you had any nightmares involving your instrument, or a performance, or even some prunes? ;P

Replies (57)

July 19, 2007 at 07:57 AM · I dreamt one of my brothers broke down my violin to its basics and when I got in my room to pick up my violin, all that was left were all parts. The parts were not broken though:-)

And there was this hilarious dream where one of my violinist friends was playing as a soloist with orchestra: a piano concerto. When she finished, she didn't wait till the orchestral tutti had finished though. She stood up from her chair, closed the piano and left the hall. All the time another friend of mine, who was in the audience, was shouting: "That's insane! That's insane!"

After the tutti finished, she came on stage again to receive the applaus and instead of greeting the audience, she waved to them... with her sports shoes!

July 19, 2007 at 06:59 PM · Sarah, hi!!!! Long time no see. Are you still at the RAM (Or were you over the past academic year)? Good to see you post!

Emily, I love this subject. I'm always having these weird, threatening dreams, which is interesting, as this is still a relatively new, easy-going endeavor for me. I blogged about it HERE. Interesting, rereading the blog just now reminds me of how ominous one of the dreams was, and it occurred months ago. I'll go ahead and cut/paste that one here:

I am in a strange room with several other people and I realize I haven’t seen my violin for a while. Could I possibly have left it in my car? Surely not. No, I brought it in. And yet, it’s nowhere in sight. “Where is my violin?” I call out, my voice rising in uncertainty. “Has anyone seen my violin?”

No one responds. Then I recognize a man who’d been standing nearby when I arrived. Surely he would remember. “Excuse me,” I ask him, “where did I set my violin down?”

He is tall and dark-haired, with shaggy, vaguely menacing features. He looks at me now, his face carefully inscrutable. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He has taken my violin. I can see it in his eyes. I cast a glance all around me. I see polite but blank faces. Carefully blank faces. Like in Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a conspiracy, then. They’ve stolen my violin. They’re going to lie about it. My breath comes faster, in choked little gasps. “Give me back my violin!” My voice has risen to a shriek. My violin is in great danger. I have no idea where it is. I race around the room, panicked now, knowing it is somewhere, terrified that I just might have seen the last of my precious baby.

Jeez. Still gives me the creeps, remembering how freaked out I was.

July 19, 2007 at 07:56 PM · Once I had this nightmare: I was eating my hands in a plate (no side dish)!

I woke up suddenly all sweat and with my hands asleep because they were pressed under the pillow and my head.

July 19, 2007 at 09:12 PM · I had a dream that when I was playing scales(very steadily, mind you), my violin and bow melted from my hands into a brown-red puddle of goo. I just stared and screamed "Noooo!" then woke up. It was *so* scary! My music teacher then turned around and his lips curled into a frightening, menacing smile and said in a tritonic voice "Play forever and ever and ever! Don't stop! Straight steady bows! Intonation is key!" then he stroked my hands with a long, damp whip and they started to bleed. When I tried to play again, blood would start seeping from my fingers. I screamed, then my violin melted.

I had this same horrible dream about twice in a week.

July 19, 2007 at 09:26 PM · So strange. All this stuff happens to me in reality.

July 19, 2007 at 10:49 PM · A little garlic will make those hands taste better, I think.

July 19, 2007 at 08:06 PM · Although I rarely dream and even more than rarely have nightmares, I do remember this one I had about a few months back. One lazy Sunday afternoon, I was sitting around the house, my violin was sleeping peacefully in its case and my mother, whom I live with was resting in her room. Suddenly, I heard a loud knock at the front door, I looked through the peephole and saw four men. Although their faces were indistinguishable to me, I noticed that they were of about average height, three with dark hair and the third with blondish to brown hair and were wearing dark gray suits and sun glasses. I politely asked them who they were and what they wanted, then without warning they bust down the door. They gave me a leveling look, and invited themselves into our small apartment. I watched in fear as they proceeded through my living room as well as my entire home. Concerned about my violin, I picked up the case it was still in, set it upright and hid it behind my back. In a few minutes they returned to the living room, dragging my mother by the arm and took her into the kitchen and forced her into a chair. The blond one began to advance towards me. However, in concern for my instrument, I clutched the case behind me and backed against the wall. This of course only served to irritate him and he grabbed me by the arm; but as I was still holding the case behind my back, the force of the pull jerked me to one side, causing me to lose my grip on the case and it fell. His eyes glanced over at it with curiosity as he shoved me aside and picked it up. He tersely asked me what was in the case. Exasperated as I was with his line of questioning, I tried to restrain myself. I told him that it was a violin. Suspiciously he set it down on the computer table beside him and slowly opened the case as I prayed silently to myself. I looked over at my mother and noticed that the other two, who had been glaring at her menacingly were also now looking at me suspiciously. I felt my heart rate increase as their partner giving me a knowing glance, then lifted the violin out of its case and began to inspect it. My eyes darted fearfully from him to my poor helpless baby. He sent me a dark withering glance and then slowly set it back down. He forced me into a chair next to my mother and asked us about some documents containing information about a local power plant. I told them that neither of us knew anything about a power plant or even where one was. Unfortunately, they did not believe me and swore they could and would make me tell them what they wanted to hear. They turned my mother's chair and mine so that they were facing back to back, then tied us up and continued with their line of questioning and threats, but with no results. The blond man then angrily grabbed the violin from its case and told me that if we didn't tell them what they wanted to hear that I would be very sorry. I begged him not to harm my violin and tried to explain that I was merely a college student and violinist, that my mother and I were simple people who knew nothing about federal documents. As his partners continued on with their tirade, he drew his arm back, my eyes filled with terror and my mouth let forth a blood curdling scream as he smashed the violin against the table. His partners ducktaped our mouths shut, smacked us over the head and we knew no more.

Thankfully I woke up right after that and then of course, checked my violin just to make sure.

July 19, 2007 at 11:36 PM · Parmeseano Reggiano might go well with it too Antonio.

July 19, 2007 at 11:41 PM · Juanita.... JEEZ!

Here's my take - the guys from my dream had so much fun they hopped over to your dream.

July 20, 2007 at 03:05 AM · Actually that makes me wonder, as negative REM transference and if so, would there be a way to controll it?

July 20, 2007 at 03:21 AM · I only have nightmares about missing planes and such, having traveled too much. It seems that one might have involved 'where's my violin darn it'.

July 20, 2007 at 03:45 AM · My nightmare usually involves opening my case and finding the violin a complete wreck. And the terror lasts until morning.

July 20, 2007 at 06:57 AM · My family doctor, who's also an amateur violinist, says that his teacher had a Strad but a student accidentally sat on it...

I think the teacher's dead now :-P

July 20, 2007 at 01:06 PM · Yes...garlic, parmigiano etc.. all good stuff but

who can cook for me this dish considering I have not my hands anymore?

Emily, your husband?

My hands will be honoured!

Ah my hands are very huge so I guess we can cook the left one for the moment and put into the fridge the other for important occasions.

July 20, 2007 at 02:05 PM · OMG! Reading this thread is enough to make me sweat. No, I have not had such nightmare (does it reveal that I have not practiced enough????). I do, however, dreamed of I was able to play a beautiful, piece of music sans vibration. It sounded too good to be true in the dream, and I woke myself up while I was trying to figure out when and how I learned the piece...

July 20, 2007 at 02:21 PM · Yikes! My violin nightmares are pretty tame compared to some of the above. But I have had this recurring one a number of times over the years: I'm suddenly reminded that I have to walk out to give a recital that I'd forgotten all about, and hadn't practiced for. I debate with myself whether I should go out and explain the truth to the audience, or go out and wing it somehow. I then think of discretely trying to get hold of a program to find out what it is I'm even supposed to wing! The dream ends there...

July 20, 2007 at 02:27 PM · Jim, what do you mean by 'it happens to you every day'? Your fingers bleed when you play? My blood in the dream was the factor which melted my violin. It served as an acid, I think. I evaluated it. I had some sort of sequel of that dream the other night. My teacher handed me another violin (somehow, he could produce violins from a human's blood( I didn't notice a small bucket under the violin scroll) small bits of wood,and tin) and repeated the same thing all over again. I told him he was a cruel, weird man and when it was time for me to leave, I couldn't because the door was locked from the inside out! My legs and wrists were then chained and shackeled, mouth gagged and I was dragged into a cell-like room in the so-called "spare room" of his apartment/studio. I saw two other kids just playing slowly and miserably, bloodied and frail, begging him something to eat, a decent breath of air and perhaps a shower.

"Never!" he snarled, whipped us and bolted the door. With the violin in hand, crouching in the dark damp room, I cried myself to sleep.

Juanita, that is so scary!

July 20, 2007 at 02:49 PM · I also remember a dream of when I was about to do a concert for school orchestra, when we were called on stage, the stage itself collapsed and we all died.

July 20, 2007 at 02:55 PM · I've always wondered what happens in a dream where you end up dying. do you just wake up?

July 20, 2007 at 03:11 PM · Raphael, my nightmares are pretty similar to yours. The one that stayed with me was going into a jury and playing a piece that I didn't know, with the panel first smirking and then outright laughing at my disastrous attempts.

July 20, 2007 at 03:18 PM · The most common element found in dreams (or nightmares) is a strong fear. People afraid of falling tend to have dreams in which they are falling. People who have fears of tornadoes (such as myself) have frequent dreams in which they are being chased by tornadoes. People who have dreams about something awful happening to their violin probably worry that something may happen to it.

Another neat tidbit about dreams: Everything you do in a dream (hypothetically) is evaluated by your conscience the same way it would be evaluated in real life. Therefore, everything you do in dreams is something that you would probably do in real life, given the same circumstances. And it's a good thing the circumstances aren't the same in real life, or we would have a lot of people walking down the streets with no pants on because their bathroom is not where they left it.

July 20, 2007 at 03:28 PM · "I've always wondered what happens in a dream where you end up dying. do you just wake up?"

I've had two dreams like that, unless the tornado got me once:

1: My mom and I were hiking and decided to explore the ruins of a large ampitheatre-style barn filled with fallen rafters, very cavelike (go figure). We left the main seating area and went through a door in the back to the side, where we were both shot (but I wasn't killed) by some guy who owned the property. I woke up then.

2: Recently I was in a locker room with some strange man. He had me and a bunch of others roped to lockers, and he was hanging them from the tops of the lockers. For some reason he forgot to hang me, and I slipped out of the noose to hide. He found me, muttered something about "How did I forget you?" and proceeded to tie the rope again around my neck. I thought to myself, "No point in resisting...last thoughts...oh, I know...Jesus, I'm sorry for everything I've ever done!" Talk about a blunt and last-minute confession... Then instead of hanging me he dug his knife into the side of my neck. His hand was warm, and then I went unconscious. I woke up, probably because the unconsciousness is hard for the brain to simulate.

So when you die, your brain gets confused and decides maybe you fell asleep and tries to wake you up, I suppose. That's my best explanation. I had a psychology teacher that dreamed he fell from the sky and died, and then he was a floating spirit, watching himself being rescued by the paramedics. Kind of different...

July 20, 2007 at 04:22 PM · Has anyone ever had this nightmare: playing with the blades of freddy krueger?

July 20, 2007 at 05:32 PM · Better garlic than your moldy fish and cheese sandwich!

July 20, 2007 at 05:40 PM · Hey jim

in U.S. probably you can find mouldy fish in Bari it's a different matter.

If you were talking about "my fish" it works pretty well, better for sure than yours.

Without offence:)

July 20, 2007 at 06:14 PM · You edited so that my funny response didn't make sense. I'm done with you, Borat.

July 20, 2007 at 06:17 PM · Me too


July 20, 2007 at 06:23 PM · Jim,

you have to know that here in Bari the offence is a common practice which is well understood here.

probably it is too heavy for US stds so...;)*

July 20, 2007 at 06:34 PM · > I then think of discretely trying to get hold of a program to find out what it is I'm even supposed to wing!

Raphael, this is hilarious! All of this stuff is. Dreams are so entertaining. Except, um, when they're nightmares.

July 20, 2007 at 06:34 PM · "probably it is too heavy for US stds so...;)* "

I bet you got stds there we never heard of.

July 20, 2007 at 07:42 PM · Ahem. I'm a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Now then, there is no question that dreams mean something, but there has never been scientific agreement as to what they mean.

The psychoanalysts would probably say something like this: "Dreams about ANYTHING actually are symbols for sex....except for dreams about sex (which actually are symbols for power and control)."

But when it comes to nightmares about playing the violin, my worry is not any nightmares I may have had, but whether I'm giving the audience any nightmares.

:) Sandy

July 20, 2007 at 10:00 PM · What does it mean when I dream I'm paralyzed in a swimming pool, drowning, and when my head thumps against the bottom, I wake up? This is a frequent dream for me.

July 20, 2007 at 10:10 PM · There's a lot of symbolism there, none of it good. Please seek counseling immediately. If you won't do it for yourself, then do it for your loved ones.

July 20, 2007 at 10:53 PM · lol! Incorrigible!

July 20, 2007 at 11:08 PM · LOL tsk, tsk Jim. Like I said though, thankfully I rarely have dreams or nightmares. Because, the last thing I need is something to cause me to become even more disturbed than I already am. I once read somewhere, that once a person reaches REM state, they go into dream mode. However, whether or not they remember what they dreamt, is an entirely different story. Which sort of makes sense, considering that science really has not been able to tap into the complexities of the human brain.

July 21, 2007 at 08:24 AM · 90% of my dreams are nonmusical. 90% of my musical dreams are not nightmares. They usually portray me as some kind of rock star, playing everything in tune and better than everyone else. These dreams are almost worse than nightmares because I wake up and life just seems a bit of a letdown.

And the nightmares? Typical nightmares, involving multiple students showing up for the same lesson, can't find my instrument, running around in a daze... I don't have too many of these dreams. I save my nightmares for grizzly bears. The last nightmare I had involved grabbing a bear cub by the toe and walking around town asking everyone what I should do with it; all the while, it was nipping at my fingers with its teeth claws. "Git! Git!" I shouted as I shook it by the toe. No one would tell me what to do with it.

July 21, 2007 at 12:40 PM · >>>What does it mean when I dream I'm paralyzed in a swimming pool, drowning, and when my head thumps against the bottom, I wake up? This is a frequent dream for me.<<<

Probably means you've been holding your breath. Ever get checked for sleep apnea? Sleepy during the day? Not refreshed in the morning? Grumpy, tired all the time?

July 21, 2007 at 07:07 PM · I often have that common nightmare of being onstage , completely naked, in front of huge audience.

-except in my dreams it's Buri onstage, not me.

Truly scary.

July 22, 2007 at 01:23 PM · I had a dream where I had super glued clear beads onto my violin's strings because I wanted that 'morning dew' look. It felt so real that when I woke up, I couldn't remember if I'd actually done it or not, so I had to get up and check my instrument. You don't know the amount of relief I felt when I found it exactly as I had left it the night before.

July 22, 2007 at 03:55 PM · I had this horrible dream in which I was playing 2nd violin in an all Johann Strauss concert. (5,000,000 um-pah-pahs). I woke up - and I WAS playing 2nd violin in an all Johann Strauss concert! ;-)

July 23, 2007 at 02:14 AM · Meg, that's really funny!

July 23, 2007 at 06:05 AM · Emily, I like your bear cub dream. I wonder how the cub sounded and I'd really like to join your dream and give you my secrete advice ...

Raphael, if the um pah pahs are your worst nightmares, you have a very good life. Congrats!

July 23, 2007 at 05:21 AM · Let's just say, my worst PLAYING nightmares - so far!

July 23, 2007 at 07:13 AM · Yixi, the only thing I could figure to do was shake him vigorously.

Or make him pay fifty dollars every day. Or is that tigers?

I was sorely disappointed this morning when the alarm woke me before I could tell the food server how much beans I wanted on my tortilla. The good stuff was just about to happen.

July 23, 2007 at 02:34 PM · Tigers and bears.

July 23, 2007 at 06:47 PM · "What does it mean when I dream I'm paralyzed in a swimming pool, drowning, and when my head thumps against the bottom, I wake up? This is a frequent dream for me."

Actually, dreams about being paralyzed are fairly common. Know why? Because your body is pretty well paralyzed while you're asleep, at least REM. Starts from the head and works its way down. You must swim a lot. That would explain the other part. So you're dreaming you're having your nice swim as usual, when all of a sudden you realize your motor abilities aren't functioning.

If you ever dream you are speaking, and it all comes out as wordless blah, that's the same thing...remember the paralysis starts at your head, so your tongue and lips aren't working very well, either.

July 23, 2007 at 07:21 PM · I dreamed I played Carnegie Hall in my Maidenform Bra!

July 23, 2007 at 11:13 PM · LOL Meg, that actually sounds like the kind of crazy idea that 5 yr old might come up with. Similar to my cousin undoing all the pegs on her violin and replacing it's strings with guitar strings.

July 24, 2007 at 03:44 AM · Scott?

July 24, 2007 at 05:02 AM · I do know about that paralysis business, because my body forgets to de-paralyze sometimes. I've had that since childhood; I used to wake up with my face in the pillow and be completely unable to move any part of my body. It's so frightening. My entire repertoire of sleep positions evolved around keeping my face from the pillow, so that when paralyzed I can at least breath. Fortunately it doesn't happen as frequently as it used to.

July 24, 2007 at 05:10 AM · well... i had a dream where i got tennis elbow from tennis... i'm not sure if that leads to a musical part

July 24, 2007 at 10:02 AM · My usual dream is that I have a concert in a few minutes and realize that I don't have my concert clothes and/or violin. Inevitably, the gig is an hour's drive from my house and I somehow managed to walk to the gig, leaving my car at home.

When I was a student at CIM, I had a dream that I was walking home from school when a man driving a brown colored chevy pulled over and shot me. The next day (in real life), I was walking home and saw a car exactly like that start to slow down. I ducked into the drug store as fast as I could!

I dreamed once that my cat was supposed to play on one of my student recitals, but when it was her turn, she just sat on the stage and did nothing (I also dreamed another one of my cats could play basketball).

July 24, 2007 at 11:56 AM · Last summer I sat grade 8 violin, and was practicing about 3 hours a day (on top of work). The night before my exam, I dreamt that my bow hit the wall and snapped in two. My dreams often contain puns and metaphors, so it is pretty obvious that I was about snap and hit the wall myself. Around the same time I also dreamed that one of my colleagues, who was a fan of Bartok, committed suicide. After that point I switched allegiance to Dvorak and Kreisler.

Otherwise my dreams concern stuff I would never do in real life - like gambling, shoplifting, taking part in satanic rituals and eating black pudding (really wild for a veggie!).

One of my worst nightmares was after drinking some Russian wine, bought on the strength that it had a nice picture of St Basil's, Red Square, Moscow on the label. I was chased by the devil, and woke up to find myself sat up in bed shouting 'Go away Satan'. I don't know what was in that Demon Drink.

July 24, 2007 at 12:56 PM · I dreamed once that my cat was supposed to play on one of my student recitals, but when it was her turn, she just sat on the stage and did nothing

Who's her teacher? Maybe she's in the wrong studio. Turns out there may be Suzuki piano for cats. No word on the violin program; maybe the little shoulder rests aren't perfected yet.

July 24, 2007 at 01:32 PM · Alison, what's the name of that wine? I want some.

July 24, 2007 at 02:23 PM · Juanita- hahaha, 5 year old huh...I wonder what that says about me? ;D

Patricia- man, dream déjà vu creeps me out too. Better safe than sorry, haha!

July 24, 2007 at 07:29 PM · "Otherwise my dreams concern stuff I would never do in real life - like gambling, shoplifting, taking part in satanic rituals and eating black pudding (really wild for a veggie!).

One of my worst nightmares was after drinking some Russian wine, bought on the strength that it had a nice picture of St Basil's, Red Square, Moscow on the label. I was chased by the devil, and woke up to find myself sat up in bed shouting 'Go away Satan'. I don't know what was in that Demon Drink."

Alison, I had a REALLY disturbing dream once that had me worried when I woke up:

So I was at some school, probably a high school, and it was summer, so no one was really there. A friend and I went to use the restroom, and when I was done, I realized there was this bed in the restroom. Some old lady walked in, which was awkward, and she left soon after, not even noticing she'd chosen the wrong restroom. I hid behind the bed so as not to give her a heart attack. Then I looked on the bed and this Irish girl was sitting there, and she said her name was Ilie. She said she lived in that restroom during the summer when the restroom wasn't being used, as though a restroom is a seasonal thing. Then she started singing a sweet but disturbing tune.

Late that night, my dad was driving the my siblings, my friend, and myself home. Ilie was with us too, for some reason. As we turned onto our road, she started singing again, and I shouted, "GOAT!" because there was a huge black goat in chains in front of us, and it truly looked demonic with its long kinky horns and long shaggy coat. Of course, that didn't give Dad time to slam on the brakes, and the goat began jumping on top of the van, starting from the front and slowly working its way back. Talk about freaky. The van shook violently as the goat jumped on it, crushing it with us inside (somehow it missed the front windshield, though). Ilie kept singing louder and louder, and the goat crushed the back windshield. The last thing I saw was the goat's gnarly black hoof in front of my face.

Then I woke up. I didn't move out of fear, and maybe partially out of leftover paralysis. I said a couple quick prayers and I think I finished the first decade of a rosary.

It seriously had me worried sick about the fate of my soul for the rest of the morning. And it didn't help much when I looked up black goats on Wikipedia and found that they are used as a countersacrifice in the Black Mass, and that the girl's name-- Ilie-- was the same letters that spell "I LIE."

Yikes. Good thing I am a devout Catholic. :)

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