Your violin adventures!

January 17, 2010 at 01:18 AM ·

Just what the title and the summary says!
I'm really interested how did YOU encounter the violin and what kept you going, what was your motive for playing, what do you get by playing the violin, how did you start learning, why did you start learning?
So please, include all the details because you've got the best listener in the world here and I bet everybody else are just as interested to read your exciting stories!

Looking forward to your replies.


Replies (21)

January 17, 2010 at 08:47 PM ·

According to my parents, when I was three I saw an orchestra in tv and I told them I wanted to play violin.  They had already decided their children would all take private music lessons, so they bought me a violin and I started lessons.  From age three to twelve I didn't love the violin, but I didn't hate it.  It was just something I did.  When I was twelve I finally learned how to read music, joined a youth orchestra, and switched to a teacher who had her more advanced students play in weddings as a group and suddenly I loved violin!  It had taken me nine years to get through Suzuki books 1-5 because I played by ear and I didn't like practicing, but once I learned to read music I started zipping through Doflein and Suzuki books!  When I was thirteen I began teaching a few homeschool friends and found my true calling, to be a violin teacher.  I later entered college as a violin performance student, but carpal tunnel and arthritis forced me to switch to a B.A. in music.  I recently graduated with my degree in music, I play in a local orchestra, and I love my job as a private violin instructor!  I teach from my house, I make decent money, and I set my own schedule.  I honestly love my job.  My sister also plays violin and is finally old enough and advanced enough to play with me in weddings so we have been doing that for the last year or so.  That's my story.  Hopefully there is much, much more to it in the coming years!

January 18, 2010 at 09:21 AM ·


   I guess what opened up my desire to play and instrument was the personal tragedy of the breakup of my marriage of sixteen years. The hurt  and loss I still feel to this day for it has been going on now for two and a half years with no end in sight. The short story of all this is after my mother did her estate planning and putting my name on the family farm and trust my wife felt it was time to get what she feels is her due, coupled with unfinished estate claims from an Aunt against the family farm makes this an unending nightmare that I and our two children endure.      Unable to support myself due to mounting expenses, and my mothers health I had no choice but to move back home with her. If there is any silver lining to all this is that I am there for her now and enjoying our time together. One day when she was listening to the local PBS channel and I think it was Andre Riue I made the remake how I wish I had the chance to try the violin. Well was I surprised to say the least when my mom told me of not one but two violins stored up in the attic.  One she did not know where it had come from but one was from my father’s side of the family. It did not take long for us to bring them down, thus started my violin quest first to find a luthier and then a teacher. The luthier proved to be the easiest and after having both violins looked over  the better of the two was put in to playable shape or at least good enough to see if I would stick with it enough to justify more money in putting it in top form . I soon found a music shop through a friend at work that gave violin lessons and so for the last two years I have struggled and slowly learning to play Blue Grass / Folk violin, the learning curve at times feels like it is straight up but I have not given up and each bit that comes hard makes me more determined to learn to play. At first I wanted to play just for myself to fill the hole of pain that I had but I have come to realize that it will be a part of me and that it will be something I can and will share with others. With help I was able to find a luthier that was able and willing to bring the family violin to its best, and I am very lucky to have such an instrument far and away more than what most beginners start out with. To hear my violin played by my teacher or by the luthier , can almost bring me to tears that something so wonderful is mine to play and that some day I hope to play as well or at least that is my dream …

January 19, 2010 at 04:39 AM ·

I grew up in a very small coastal town in Northern California (so far North I always thought San Francisco was Southern California), and the only time I ever say someone play the violin was a neighbor's grandma that came from Oklahoma to stay with them as she could no longer live independently.
She showed it off, and tried to play, but arthritis was too much to overcome, and it brought her to tears.
I never forgot that.

Fast forward; in 7th grade I was visiting a friend, I played with frequently, and he let me in on a secret; he pulled a violin out from under his bed, and said he was taking lessons. I couldn't touch it, although I very much wanted to play it. I remember the respect and pride he had in that, even though I can't remember his name.

Fast forward again; in my 50's working a pretty good job for a tech company, working with engineers and techies, and helping my daughter with child care (my youngest grandson has Asperger syndrome, and was very tough to manage for a single parent). Grandpa has the little guy over whenever I can fit it into my life, and we have sword fights, walk the puppies (old dogs actually), and have a lot of fun together.
Little guy starts coming up with songs; I remember trumpet and trombone playing from younger years, but not interested. I think of the violin, and realize I always wanted to play it, I just never felt I had the opportunity.
I only play for myself and for Diego, but it is fun. I gave him a Craigslist experiment that didn't work out (a $40 violin isn't as good as you may expect!). He uses the bow to conduct, and he now has two keyboards, a ukulele, the violin, a recorder, and a kazoo. I have  a decent student violin, a 5 string that has great sound but a narrow neck for 5 strings, and an electric. Between us, we can have a blast!

I find the violin relaxing, and it adds a dimension to my life that Helps put things in perspective. I don't expect to be good at it, I only expect to enjoy it. I keep trying to sound better and better, but becoming concert-quality is not my primary goal. Keeping the little guy laughing with grandpa is my primary goal.

January 19, 2010 at 05:19 AM ·

I started at 14... having heard all my life that passed 5 you should forget it... Non musician family at all but kind ennough to support me to buy a good instrument. I started when I stoped beeing afraid from stereotypes of "young" or nothing... Started with a very kind teacher that created my love of music but with not much teaching experience thus: many chronic tendonidus, way way too hard repertoire, no technique, terrible stage fright + the natural fright of a 14 year old teen girl that never went on stage before (wanted to die each time!) told I could be a professionnal musician when nothing was more false but I know he didn't realize all this so I'm not angry since he though he was doing ok. But I switch to a conservatory after to have another perspective and fell on a jewel of a teacher for technical/musical competence. Owe her very very much but she put the dots on the "i" and told the truth about the reality of trying to go in music as a carrer.  So all this+ my family advice + my fright of having help financially from my family to study in something risky (would be too mean from me to do this to them) made me go in something else... even though my real love will always be music. This creates little (well pretty big ; ) psychological "conflict" that can be very painful since I feel like a professionnal musician in my head (I do not play like one because my body is less talented than my head so to speak. Very very clumsy, stiff and stubburn... With much work I'm a good student level but not professionnal. Maybe not that bad for a girl that can't throw a ball in straigh line after all lol)  I still love music ennough to want to give everything for it but I can't. I have to become something else...  This is the "conflict..."  However I'm much more happy to have found and try violin than not even if I was far from knowing what a journey it would become and how much place it would take in my life.  It's not a hobby such as knitting slippers or cooking on weekends... It's a lifestyle when you really love it.   (even as an amateur)  It is such a lifestyle I even know a couple who divorced over a violin fight!!!   (I'm serious!)

So this is my two cents about my story and relation with violin.  Good luck to you!


January 20, 2010 at 03:38 PM ·

Here's a chuckle for you. I started violin lessons in the 4th grade with Harry Alshin in the Hastings-on-Hudson (NY) public schools. The death of my father shortly thereafter necessitated a move to a school that did not have an orchestra program. By the time I took up string studies again I had matured, and my broad chest and musculature really indicated a better fit on a pin instrument. I took up the contrabass because it brought tears of gratitude to the orchestra conductor's eyes. An unfortunate accident in which I broke both hands finished any realistic hopes I had to play professionally, although I still play sometimes for enjoyment.

To answer the question of what got me into it in the first place I have to go back to a meeting between the school music teacher and my mother when I was in junior high school. The teacher remarked that I had unusually advanced musical tastes for a boy my age, citing my appreciation for the Gayne Ballet Suite, Wagnerian Overtures, and certain violin concertos. My mother blushed and laughed, and then she confessed that she had repeatedly played recordings of those selections to me while I was still in the womb!

So I guess you can say that I got started in music even before I got started in life. And although I will never play the violin well, I do the next best thing-- I build them! :-)

January 20, 2010 at 04:19 PM ·

I treasure your replies! Even if this post should go down, I will most definitely save these up in a pdf :)
I will literally go crazy if I won't get that violin soon (which I should get on my birthday, 25th jan)!
My biggest fear right now is that my love and motivation to play the violin will disappear once I will actually start practicing.

The reason for this post is of course to hear all of your interesting and exciting, sometimes dramatic but nonetheless awesome stories of the violin adventures! Hopefully these will help me stay motivated... Ah, worrying so much over an instrument, not much like me but the violin is a such a special instrument. You have to treasure it, you have to play it and put your soul into it!

Anyway, please keep the stories coming!


January 20, 2010 at 07:37 PM ·

 It was Darth Vader who convinced me.

Before I started the violin my sis owned a violin that I never were allowed to touch. But I loved instrumental music so much from my earliest childhood. So I dreamed about playing on her violin, especially since it was forbidden. And yes, when she was not at home, I carefully sneaked into her room, and took up the violin. I really dreamed about playing the Imperial March from Star Wars (you know, where Darth Vader is walking). So I learnt to plink melodies when nobody noticed on her instrument (Tinkle Tinkle Little Star, the main theme from Beethoven's 9th symphony), although only with one finger on the board :-) So after many discussions between my pissed older sister and my parents, they got me an instrument, and soon I got my first lesson. And since that day, I were doomed to love the violin.

January 20, 2010 at 08:33 PM · i have ALWAYS loved the violin. however, in fifth grade, when we got to choose a band instrument for middle school, there was no option to play an orchestral instrument...brass, woodwind, percussion, that was it. i chose clarinet, and after about two years, i realized that i wasn't meant to play clarinet. it just didn't speak to me. by the time i finished high school, my musician days were long-forgotten...or so i thought. i started attending college in downtown chicago, and i remember always passing this music store with friends on michigan avenue. every time, i'd look in at the violins for sale and say, "i always wished i could play violin. now i'm too old, and they're too expensive, and it's too late." i continued that line of thinking for several years. then last year, i was having a discussion with an old friend of mine about how i wish i was the type to pursue my dreams. i mentioned the violin, and how i was way too old and poor to take it up at 25 years old. he told me "nonsense. you should get a violin and play. it's never too late, just do it." within a month, i had found a violin. within two months after that, i found a nearby music studio that gives private lessons. it is now almost eight months since i've started violin lessons, and i LOVE it! i have the best teacher EVER, which i really believe is the key to success, and the more i learn, the more i WANT to learn and progress even further. the violin is such an amazing instrument...yes, a challenge, but for me, that's what i love the most. it's so much more rewarding when you get through a new scale, song exercise, etc. on an instrument that is considered more difficult than others. though i am still very much a beginner, i can say for sure that playing violin is something i will continue with for life. theo--how exciting for you to be entering this journey once you get your instrument! i think if anything, you'll be more excited about it and more encouraged once you have your violin and begin to play. i was scared i wouldn't stick with it, either, but as long as it truly is the instrument for you (i knew right away), then i promise it'll be something you will want to stick with!!! is a great site, too, especially once you start learning. WHAT a resource it's been for me! keep us all posted on your journey, and best of luck! this was a fun thread, i really enjoyed reading everyone's stories....

January 20, 2010 at 11:36 PM ·

Long ago and far away when I was a kid, the music programs in the public schools were fantastic.  I started playing flute in summer school the year I finished third grade.  By the time I got to junior high, I played pretty well.  That school, though, had lots of flautists and not quite enough strings.  They asked a few of us if we would like to learn the violin.  I thought this was pretty funny, and told my parents about it.  Being older and wiser, they suggested I give it a try.

Much to my surprise, I liked it- a lot.  The next year I quit flute and began to play the oboe, and eventually English horn, in band and played the violin (and English horn when needed) in orchestra.  The man who taught orchestra at the high school I attended was probably the best teacher I ever had, any subject, any grade, kindergarten through college.  Those years were when I decided that making music would always be part of my life.

Violin, and much later viola, is the instrument I have continued to play as an adult.  I've met many of my best friends through music and love the experience of coming together with anything from a trio to a full symphony and chorus to play.

I hope you get a violin next week for your birthday, and that it brings you the pleasure and challenges that it has to so many others.

January 22, 2010 at 05:30 PM ·

@Lena - Hopefully my first *real* lesson will be as magical as it was for you! :)

@Jessica - Wow! Interesting story. I sure hope the violin is truly for me.. Either way, I won't give up! If violin is not for me, I'll MAKE it be for me.
And most certainly, I will keep everybody posted. Tomorrow I'm having my birthday party (yes, celebrating 2 days early is bad but I had no choice). Besides that, I have some competition here. My sister also wants to learn the violin but she doesn't have an idea how it feels to truly want to play an instrument. I feel like she is having one of those moments when I wanted a guitar with excitement.. But yeah, I never took the guitar as seriously as the violin!

@Lisa -  I sure hope so!! I'll make a reply here again once it'll be monday. I should be getting a violin then.. HOPEFULLY!! The thing is, I don't live with my father and I see him pretty rarely lately, but hah, at least on my birthday I will get to see him as he told me that he usually gets a lot of old violins. I heard he will need to put a violin in for a repair but I'm afraid it might take month's or even YEARS to repair it because I know how serious repairing a violin can be. Would it take more than a week with a little damage such as a crack, let's say on the neck of the violin?
Either way, I want to phone/call my violin teacher now!!! But yeah.. I have to wait till I'll get it ;(

Keep the posts coming!

January 22, 2010 at 08:04 PM ·

I love everything Mozart and when I was expecting my second child (she is four now), I listened to Mozart for mothers to be. There is one piece there, voice with violin accompaniement which is, for me, the most beautiful of all. The violin is so sweet and follows the voice so ... can't find the words. But anyway I went and bought my (first) violin that winter... and the violin has now become my third child.

January 22, 2010 at 08:32 PM ·

Wow, I can't come up with any good stories off the top of my head.... But just to think about that moment when I first touched a violin, when I held it in my hands and thought it was so precious, and then everything that has happened between then and now, brings back so many memories! So many moments of joy, as well as disappointment. It's been a wild ride, that's for sure!

January 24, 2010 at 08:02 PM ·

I studied piano from the time I was seven until half-way through my sophomore year at Indiana University (Music Ed. major).  Through piano, I was exposed to Classical music, and grew up preferring it to pop/rock.  I ran out of money for lessons and tuition in my sophomore year, so quit school to work for a while (theoretically to earn the money to return to school).  Somehow I never made it back.  I worked a few office jobs, taught piano in my spare time, got married, gave birth to a daughter, was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, and then changed career courses by going into garden center work.

One of my garden center co-workers had an elderly friend (sort of an adopted grandfather) who passed away in his '80s back in 1992.  In Delbert's estate were two elderly violins, both of which needed repairs.  I felt particularly drawn to one of them, and a short time later the violin I preferred was given to me.  I had enough repairs made on it to make it playable (although it still had a crack in the top), found a local teacher, and began lessons.  Piano was NEVER like this!!!  I could play my violin for three hours and it felt like less than an hour.  In addition to my assigned lesson music, I was also playing simple melodies by ear (mostly Classical and folk/traditional).  This was all happening during the winter.  After about four months of lessons, reality set in -- in the form of the insane hours I had to work at the garden center as Spring approached.  I kept having to cancel lessons, and it was even hard to find time to practice and still keep my family life flowing.  I decided it would be a good time to have the crack in the violin repaired, so I sent it off  to have the repairs made.  When I got it back, my schedule hadn't improved.  Reluctantly, I quit lessons and put the violin away -- for a short time, I thought.  Wrong!

It wasn't exactly "out of sight, out of mind".  Out of sight, yes, but I did think about it often, and missed it a lot.  But my motivation to resurrect it was always overridden by "stuff" that was happening -- until about three weeks ago.  I FINALLY declared, "It's time!".   I pulled it out, and discovered that my bow had self-destructed -- horse hair EVERYWHERE!!!  I called around about having it re-haired, but being currently unemployed, ended up purchasing an inexpensive bow (much more budget-friendly than a re-hair!).  My playing is definitely for my own amusement/amazement, so I'm totally happy with a way-less-than-premium instrument and bow.

Starting practice in earnest again, I realized that in seventeen years my arthritis had definitely gotten a "leg up" -- right "up" to my wrist!  I was noticing pains in my wrist and forearm that I hadn't had back in the early 1990s.  I decided to visit a local instrument store and try a 3/4-size violin to see if it would put my wrist in a less-awkward position.  I'm pretty short, with short arms, so it seemed worth checking out.  It turned out that the 3/4 is exactly the right size.  The store had a beginner's kit on sale for about $75.00.  A Stradivarius it's not, but it does sound much better than I thought such a budget-priced instrument would.  I swapped out the original strings for a set of Dominants, and ordered an upgrade on the bow (still sticking with the budget).  

Even though my new violin is more comfortable for me to play, I still have a real emotional bond with my first one -- I play them both.  I can't afford lessons right now, but I'm working with a Suzuki book and the ever-informative Violin for Dummies.  My kitchen is my concert hall, my family is a captive audience (bless them!), and I'm back to having the musical time of my life!!!     

January 25, 2010 at 12:42 AM ·

I'm also one of those who started in the public school system.  However, for me it was viola.  In school, we chose the instrument we wanted to play when we were called in alphabetical order.  By the time my name was called, all the violins were taken.  The music teacher held a viola out to me and told me "it is just like a violin".   I believed her.  It wasn't until many years later that I realized how different the two instruments really were.  I studied viola from the age of 8 until I was around 13 or 14 and then stopped.   By then, there were no orchestras in the public school and I lost interest.

Fast forward to 2003.  I still had the viola that I played in middle school, and was sent to Malaysia for work.  I decided to take my viola with me figuring I'd have time on my hands.  I started taking lessons again, and still do to this day.  It was a painful experience re-starting, but I'm now back to the playing level I was at when I was 14.  A few years ago, I finally upgraded from my original viola to a larger one with better tone.  I've been playing in community orchestras, amateur chamber groups, and solo at church ever since.

Music has been a source of inspiration, hope, and comfort to me over the years.  It has become an avenue in which I can meet new people and friends no matter where my travels take me, and for awhile let the worries and stresses of everyday life take a back seat. 

January 25, 2010 at 06:02 AM ·

I started in the 5th grade at school in the Detroit area.  We were the pilot class for a new program called Suzuki violin.   After several months of group instruction I begged my parents for private lessons and studied with the teacher's daughter.  I absolutely adored her and wanted to be just like her.  A couple years later, her dad pulled me aside after class and said, "I'm sure you would be good at lots of things.  The violin seems hard for you."  I said, "but I want to play the violin."  After realizing that he may have been suggesting that I wasn't very good at it, I was MAD and doubled my efforts to prove to him that I could learn to play well.  30+ years later, after a music degree, teacher training, and lots more practicing, I still love the violin.    

The lady next door frequently requested that I practice at her house.  She had me convinced that the Etude Variation (Suzuki book 1) and many other pieces were the most fabulous thing she had ever heard. 

I often visited my Grandparents and Grandfather would say, "Play me a concerto!"  In the beginning, I didn't know what that was and thought maybe he meant a "concert" so I would start at Twinkle and play all the way through as far as I had learned.  Each visit I added to the "Concert" so it got longer and longer.   Eventually, of course, I learned a real concerto but still continued the tradition of playing all the review.   


January 26, 2010 at 07:23 PM ·

Wonderful stories everybody! Be it small or big, sad or funny, they are still what make up your violin adventures which are so interesting to read! The more the merrier :P

As for how my story continues... Looks like I didn't get a violin for my birthday. I full-heartedly believed that I'll get it and I even had a delusion that my mom was hiding one from me. Well unfortunately I didn't get it but I'm still happy with my present..
Now the problem is that I'm going to have to wait for 2 weeks for my mothers payday and possibly then ill get the violin but there's still a chance that I won't.. Or I'd have to rely on  my dad who would need to get a certain violin repaired, saying that if it'll get too expensive or will take too long then it's not worth it. So I'm pretty..sad right now. I cannot just wait to get the violin, I even take up the guitar and for now, the skin on some fingers are completely worn off and I somehow even cut my fingers (looks like a knife cut but I don't remember anything like it).

Anyway, hopefully I'll make it to the day when I get the violin. I'm quite worried that my violin teacher will just give up on me seeing how long it takes for me to get a violin :(
May I be granted strength to survive my school exams (especially art) and live to the day when I get the violin.. And I'm not even talking about the life changing choice I have to do soon!

This will conclude my post, wish me luck!



January 27, 2010 at 04:08 AM ·


you know you can rent violins for about a small amount of money each month...  Maybe an option?  Many do this at first when they are not sure.

Yes good luck of course!  I really know all the choices one has to make at your age... but there is surely something nice for you in life!


January 27, 2010 at 05:26 AM ·


I would suggest renting even if you have an option to buy a violin. You can find out more of what you want in a violin, and then you can more easily decide what is important to you when you do buy. Even if it is only for a month or so, renting is a great first step.

January 27, 2010 at 01:59 PM ·

Thank you!

I will definitely rent it if there's an option to do so. I live in a small country called Estonia and.. the music stores.. well, I don't think it'll be nearly as similar to the ones in US. If I can rent, it would be the best choice ever, for now at least..

Soon a friend should send me a link to ICE music shop, he said they sell everything so hopefully ill find some violins there.

EDIT: Excuse me, my friend isn't very fluent in English so I figured his pronunciation was a bit off.. The name is actually IS music shop if anybody is familiar with it.


ps: I really do insist on being called Theo


January 28, 2010 at 01:24 AM ·


Good luck! you may also see if any organization may help; there may be some music organization associated with the Tallinn University orchestra that has something to offer.

January 28, 2010 at 01:02 PM ·

Tallinn University orchestra.. I'm not quite sure how to go about it. "Hello, I'm a newbie who really wants to play the violin, could I lend one?"
Either way, I found a shop, too bad I can't rent. However it's good enough that I can pay some sum of money per month instead of buying it right away (I wonder if I can turn it back in if I won't like the violin)

For now the cheapest violin they have is some kind of china violin. I'll look up some china violins on youtube and.. I would like to ask you, forum, do you like china violins? Are they good? I looked up the strings they have (unfortunately only gut), pretty okay.
Hopefully I can start playing the violin this friday.. (tomorrow) :O
Really depends when I'll get an email back. If I won't, I'm going to have to call them.


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