I can't wrench myself away from the violin. These are some of the reasons:
1. Playing music yourself, even if not at a professional level, is a different way to experience music than passively listening to it performed, and one that is at least as satisfying as listening to even the best musicians, and in some ways even more satisfying—or maybe I should say it’s satisfying in different ways. Not that listening to outstanding musicians perform, either on recordings or live, can’t be deeply satisfying, but performing by yourself and for yourself is a very different experience.
2. The challenge of struggling to master a piece, even if you aren’t quite able to take it to the level of a professional performer, or just getting a technical exercise down, or even just getting a scale in tune. I even enjoy playing scales!
3. Playing the music yourself—working on it—gives you a more intimate familiarity with and understanding of the music than just listening to it.
4. Playing the violin yourself makes listening to professional performers a much more rewarding experience. You’re sensitive to so many more of the subtleties of phrasing, tone color, dynamics, etc. that the performer brings to bear on the music. And you’re more dazzled by feats of virtuosity when you know what it takes to achieve them. That’s particularly true of listening to outstanding violinists, of course, but it’s also true of listening to ensembles and orchestras and even other instruments such as the piano.
4. Along the same lines, sometimes when I listen to a “real” violinist, I almost feel as if I’m experiencing sympathetically the physical sensations of the performer as he or she plays the instrument, enhancing my enjoyment of the performance in a way that isn’t accessible to those who don’t play. Anyone else have this sensation? Or am I just plain looney?
5. And related to the last point, I even find pleasure in the physical sensations of playing the violin, completely independently of (and sometimes despite) the sound they produce—the even dropping fall of the fingers on the string, sliding the hand up the neck, the smooth and fluid motion of the right arm and wrist, etc.
6. The violin and the bow are among the most sensuously beautiful products of human handiwork. You open the case and there they are—you’re gripped by an irresistible urge to take them out and tuck the violin under your chin . . .
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.