pretty sure I've earned a ticket to violin hell with my stupid azz.

April 18, 2008 at 02:59 AM · vibrato practice with this violin:

not long after, with this violin no more:(

Replies (34)

April 18, 2008 at 03:14 AM · Al!! Is that your daughter? I have watched her on Youtube before. She is an absolute delight!

How horrible for her that you sat on her violin. She always portrays a genuine fondness for playing...I bet she missed being able to practice.

April 18, 2008 at 03:56 AM · I bet you are hanging your head in shame, Al. Bleh, that is not a cheap repair! Do you have it insured? Or, a good excuse for an upgrade!

I dropped Guido (my violin) once in grad school. He hit the carpet, and the neck popped off. That was a $300.00 repair (clean break) plus shipping. And that was back around '93 or so. Insurance covered it, after the $100.00 deductible.

Good luck!

April 18, 2008 at 04:00 AM · Al, sorry to learn about your misfortune. That must have been quite a shock. I hope you had insurance. Hopefully, something good comes of it, a better violin as a replacement perhaps? :-)

April 18, 2008 at 04:08 AM · I snuck up behind my friend right before her All-State Orchestra audition and she dropped her violin on the concrete floor, causing the fingerboard to fall off and the face to crack. I let her borrow my violin for the audition but she started crying and was a total mess for the audition. :( I paid $300 to get it fixed.

April 18, 2008 at 04:37 AM · OMG, the post (violin) mortem is too much- Soooo cute! I feel like I was just on "grand rounds" at Bein and Fushi...

April 18, 2008 at 05:59 AM · Al, you’ve got a very talented young litigator(or a prosecutor)as well.

“This is Exibit A, the violin...

a piece of wood...

another piece of wood, ...

the most important, the bridge....

the chinrest is over there, if you can view it, please.”


April 18, 2008 at 10:36 AM · It has to be said. The violin should not have been in a place where anyone could sit on it.

That said, she's a fantatic player. Use the mishap to upgrade the violin.

April 18, 2008 at 10:58 AM · Oh goodness! What a ghastly thing to happen and it sounded a nice violin too. Has she really forgiven you? If it had been me I probably wouldn't have spoken to you for - say - 20 years or so...

Hope you get a great replacement soon.

April 18, 2008 at 11:22 AM · thanks people (don't know for what). it was mainly my fault. when she darted out to the school bus leaving the violin on the sofa, i was on the phone, pacing inside the house, talking, and finally decided to sit somewhere. when i realized what had happened, it was too late. of course, she was in shock when i, um, broke the news (i suspect she's also somewhat thrilled that daddy did it, and wait till we tell mommy). i truly felt pretty bad and stupid, like i backed up my car and ran over a puppy or something. not concerned about the cost aspect, but the memory of having done irreversible damage,,,dang!

ps. christopher, you are coming with me down the dark alley...that was premeditated murder. usually after a turn of events like yours, you have to marry her!:)

April 18, 2008 at 01:10 PM · My younger son dropped his violin, it landed on the music stand leg, and the neck popped out.

Had the neck job done. The luthier "cleaned" other stuff and improved the bridge as well. Although the job costs almost as much as the violin itself, the violin actually sounded better after the repair... ifthat is any consolation..

April 18, 2008 at 02:34 PM · Al, She's so happy acting as prosecutor!!! Has she got a new one already or is she just a majorly optimistic, happy child???? Yikes, I'd be in mourning for months!

So what's the plan of action? How soon can you get another one? Can you keep us abreast of the happenings?

Thanks for sharing - she is obviously a much loved and loving child to have that attitude and come up smiling.

Actually I have been known to put my violin on the sofa or armchair briefly sometimes, and every time (this was prior to your post!) that nightmare scenario runs through my mind. I think I'll not do that again. Ever.

Though another unthinkable did happen to me recently.

I'm normally really careful, and don't take my eyes off my violin especially if my inquisitive youngest son is around. Then one day I was putting some music in the pocket for some reason (normally I keep in in a drawer, but on occasion if I'm going away for a weekend or am planning to practice in my bedroom I will put some in the pocket of the case).

Zipped it up. Brain had entered semi-conscious mode. That action was enough to make me think the case was zipped up. It wasn't. As I picked it up, to my horror, I heard a clunk and saw the violin landing on a hardwood floor. My heart stopped for a few terrifying seconds. This was not my factory made instrument. THankfully, although it went out of tune and two pegs refused to hold the next day, it forgave me and survived intact. I had begun to think the peg box might have cracked and hardly dared inspect it closer till the day after.

Why is it that we seem to get so attached to these instruments as if they were more than wood and wire? (Need I ask?)

April 18, 2008 at 02:43 PM · Oh, OUCH!

And Christopher, I loved your story in a hilarious, OUCH sort of way. One for the books, that's for sure!

April 18, 2008 at 03:01 PM · It makes you love the violin more afte a "near death encounter".

April 18, 2008 at 02:55 PM · The first and only time I was about to put my violin on the sofa my wife said "You don't want to put it there, you'll make a habit of it and eventually you'll sit on it". That thought really scared me and it has since helped me to keep the violin away from sofas and chairs. Female intuition!

Remember Murphy's law ... If it can go wrong, it will.

April 18, 2008 at 09:12 PM · If I were Violin St. Peter, you would have earned a trip to Violin Heaven for raising one of my favorite violinists! I had no idea you were her dad. You get her a REALLY NICE one and we will all bless you for it some day. Probably some day soon, at the rate she's going.

April 19, 2008 at 01:30 AM · I'm impressed at how cheerfully your family handled that! Your daughter's Bach sounds lovely. I hope your search for a replacement (or can that instrument be repaired?) goes smoothly.

April 19, 2008 at 07:46 AM · Oh, my goodness!

(but I have to agree with the others...your daughter is so sweet, an absolute delight in so many ways!)

April 19, 2008 at 07:47 AM · Every time this thread comes up I think I am reading "stupid Jazz"

April 19, 2008 at 09:07 AM · we have a spare. between the busted up one and the spare, the spare indeed sounds better:)

no doubt she is developing into an interesting little person, the type that promotes early gray hair formation and myocardial infarction. at this point, the world spins around birthday parties and it is picking up pace.

to add to my rap sheet, here is another one. one time we travelled to a tropical area and when i opened her violin case to get ready for the morning scratch, i realized the humidity had thickened the E peg so that it did not move anymore inside the peghole. well, more precisely, the part that was outside the peghole moved a little, um, with force, and the part inside the peghole was stuck solid. to anyone with a brain the writing on the wall should read: HOT, DO NOT TOUCH!

between a maxed out fine tuner and an immovable peg, a little voice inside suggested: tinker on until it breaks. i proceeded to do just that.

daddy, are we ready?

not really.

what is in your hand?

it is called a peg, it broke off.

from my violin?



April 19, 2008 at 10:09 AM · Al, until further notice, you are herewith ordered not to come within 5 feet of the kid's violin.

April 19, 2008 at 08:37 PM · Al, now THAT had me laughing so much I had tears streaming down my face! You sure know how to tell 'em!

Any more to 'fess up while you're at it?

April 19, 2008 at 09:28 PM · OUCH. Poor violin.

Brings back nasty memories of the time many years ago when my old teacher nearly sat on my (brand new!) violin....absent-minded weirdo...

April 19, 2008 at 10:25 PM · Oh, Al, what a GREAT second story as well! Hope you're keeping track of all these anecdotes. Turn 'em into a book when your daughter is famous and make $$ off it. : )

April 20, 2008 at 03:07 PM · Yeah, but share 'em with us in the meantime! Your writing is delightful!

May 15, 2008 at 01:54 PM · ok, update with our cheapo spare with a message. it may be relaxing. or not.

May 15, 2008 at 02:36 PM · very nice! thanks for sharing.

May 15, 2008 at 03:22 PM · As to the original post:

Don't lean loaded rifles against walls or trees.

Don't put stringed instruments on chairs (overstuffed or not).

Disregard at your peril.

Ouch! Jürgen

May 17, 2008 at 03:55 AM · Oh my gosh!

How sad...

But at least she was happy about it... sort of? :)

When there is one nick in my violin I get depressed, but I guess it's kind of like an ankle. It's better to break it than sprain it because a break heals faster. It's better to sit on it than chip it, (even with the cost) because at least you can get a new violin and you don't have to see that chip in it every time you pick it up!

That's just my philosophy. Maybe it's wrong, but hopefully it helped!

May 17, 2008 at 05:29 AM · I've done any number of not particularly safe things with my violin, including carry it around on a motorcycle (strapped to my back). I'm most irritated about the music stand scratches it's received from when I've been careless about getting on and off stage during orchestra, but the worst thing I've ever done to a violin has to be the time I accidentally dropped one down a full flight of stairs.

OK, it wasn't *quite* as bad as it sounds--my little half size violin was in its thermoplastic case--but it sure went bouncing down a full flight of stairs. However, this is why I swear by those old school student cases--the violin survived its bumpy ride and wasn't even particularly out of tune (not that I had a particularly good sense of pitch at the time).

May 17, 2008 at 06:01 AM · Al,

Was all of this before or after you purchased my book? I would hate to think I might have contributed — stress can do funny things to an old man (both of us, as you are aging quite rapidly:-)

Next time, buy a case with the violin…

May 17, 2008 at 11:20 AM · haha,,, as much as i hate to sound like an infomercial guy, in retrospect, the book has something to do with it! before and,,,,after!! :) should have bought a violin case for every sofa!

still have a full head of hair, so if they cast us in the movies, someone has to play the grandpa. (jumping up and down on the sofa. but wait!:)

at this stage of this living game, if i can skip through a book in no time, it is probably not worth reading. your book is very dense, packed lots of goodies, like florida concentrated orange juice and as buri said once, have to think to benefit from it. well, since i can't think, i take it out on the poor violin:)

seriously, readers of your book and this site are all at different levels, but i think if we can benefit from it, anyone can. for instance, the recent talk about rep hits supported by buri's illuminating side post,,,definitely helped my kid. this left fingertips triggering bowing is very profound but highly effective. i can't wait to see her benefitting more down the road because there are just way too many big and little rivers to cross.

so boyz and girlz, even though the book costs $3,999, it is truly worth every penny! :)

May 18, 2008 at 05:31 AM · So when did it go on the 50% off rack. There goes the Mercedes…

May 21, 2008 at 01:01 AM · I think your daughter is a beautiful player, so i watched a few more of her performances on youtube.

Now I'm curious... Is there a specific book that she works out of? if so, which one? Is it the suzuki method?

I'm having problems picking out music for myself...


May 21, 2008 at 10:41 AM · hello emily, too kind. she did use couple suzuki books, not the method (not by choice, the first teacher not suzuki trained). now she is on her second teacher who essentially is redoing everything she had learned or not learned, from bow grip, to left hand to sightreading to theory to learning to use her mind instead of just fingers, etc, part of the growing pain i guess everyone has to go through, sooner or later. not on a particular track of books, but everyday works on some scales, double stops, and pieces specifically picked to focus on tech issues, problem oriented. for instance, the vocalise was to work on her vibrato which is uneven and not continuous enough.

IF you are a self learner, try to play for people as much as you can so that you can get feedback. believe it or not, often i find youtube comments quite helpful with unique perspectives.

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