Should I bring my violin?

July 23, 2013 at 01:55 PM · I have an upcoming trip to India - I'll be there on business for a week or so, then I plan on exploring the country a bit by myself (I am an experienced traveler, but this would be my first trip to India), and perhaps making a stop somewhere in Asia or Europe afterward...

In the past, I had always taken my (one and only) violin along when I traveled, but those destinations were not completely foreign to me, and I never felt uncomfortable bringing my violin... This time I am not sure it's such a good idea - I am less concerned about the business part of my trip, but once I start traveling, there would be a lot of unknowns... As a foreign woman traveling solo in India, I would probably stick out already, the last thing I want is drawing more attention by lugging around a magenta-purple violin case, not to mention all the hassle involved, and concerns about the health and safety of my violin... On the other hand, I cannot imagine not practicing for so long (What if I get used to it?! ;) ).

What would you do if you were in my shoes? Rent a cheap violin with an inconspicuous case? Forget about bringing a violin completely? Any other ideas? Thanks in advance for your help!

Replies (20)

July 23, 2013 at 03:15 PM · How important is it to you to be able to play the violin while on vacation? If it's crucial to relaxing, then I'd take one along...otherwise, just enjoy a violin-free holiday!

If you travel a lot though (with your violin), I'd consider investing in one of the better travel violins. They pack up small enough to fit in your suitcase (or most do), so are much more convenient.

Another option is a silent violin. They're arguably sturdier - and you're less likely to disturb others when you practice.

Otherwise I'd suggest buying something really inexpensive and consider it somewhat disposable...so if gets lost, stolen or breaks you won't be upset...

July 23, 2013 at 06:48 PM · N.A.'s suggestions are good. However, having been a tourist in India, I am not sure why you would want to bring your violin. Enjoy the fact that you are in a fabulously interesting country with lots to see and do and forget about playing for a few weeks. Have a safe and fun trip.

July 23, 2013 at 08:51 PM · Violin is optional, but according to recent bad news, common sense and pepper spray are mandatory.

July 23, 2013 at 08:54 PM · Hi Joyce, trip envy :). Enjoy travelling in India. Practise mentally, have lots of great inspiring music recorded, and make a point of seeing lots of great inspiring different musicians and art. Perhaps as mentioned a travel violin that can pack away, but i'd be going the non violin route, and be desperate to get back to the darling on my return. The climate / humidity / heat / theft / attraction / risk just seems too great; plus any extra piece of luggage is an extra piece of luggage to get lost or damaged.

July 23, 2013 at 09:17 PM · Rent a cheap violin with an inconspicuous case?

No, BUY a cheap violin.

I am not sure why you would want to bring your violin.

Well, one may enjoy the opportunity of the 'jam session' or a 'workshop' on how to play 'Carnatic' violin playing.....

I dunno, tis just my 2 cents worth....

July 24, 2013 at 02:27 AM · Travelling in India, in summer, or any other season perhaps, with a treasured violin isn't a good idea.

It's for occasions like this that you might want a beater or back-up violin. Renting is fine, but you might not get insurance and if damaged or lost end up paying full retail price.

Maybe swing by China or.. see what you can find in India?

http://luisdias.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/in-conversation-robert-thornhill-luthier/

July 24, 2013 at 05:17 AM · Everybody should have second violin for travellling. I take my Chinese made violin with me when I go to China and practise with a heavy rubber mute in hotel rooms. This year I may take my silent electric violin and practise with headphones. The elctric violins are more robust and there would be no problems if it goes as checked baggage.

Buy a second violin !

July 24, 2013 at 05:31 AM · I enjoy solo travel and just did a three-week one in Europe. I didn't bring my violin and glad I didn't. I believe in travel light and I don't like to check my bags so a violin means even less carry on which was not an option for me. Also travel solo can be mentally demanding. Caring for another piece of luggage is a major pain, but caring for your violin is something more tasking. Stuff happens when travel and violin doesn't learn from bad experience like we do. So just go and enjoy the world. The violin will thank you for that.

July 24, 2013 at 08:44 AM · So the consensus seems to be:

1. It's better not to bring a violin.

2. I need a second violin.

Regarding a backup violin - I did not think it would be possible to find something suitable in such a short time, but I just saw two 7/8 violins on Yita Music's eBay store: here and here

My question to those who have bought violins online: how do you decide one over another since you cannot test their sound and playability?

BTW, if I do decide to travel sans a violin, I guess I will just read Simon Fischer's Violin Lesson and watch the Tone Production DVDs in lieu of practice...

Thanks everyone for your input!

July 24, 2013 at 09:31 AM · How long are you going to be gone? Will it cause you more worry than peace? Think of which might make you feel best, and do that. I like to think that bad things can happen to violins and bows anywhere and it doesn't matter in that respect whether you take it or leave it. If you can't leave it in the hotel room (or wherever you are staying), then that's something serious to consider because you'll have to figure out how to keep it with you. For instance, I'd like to stop and hike a mountain on the way home from quartet practice, but I'd have to leave the violin in the car, and that's just not okay. So, I don't mix hiking and violin-related activities.

Can you pack it in a less conspicuous case?

Will you stay so busy that you won't have time to play anyway?

July 24, 2013 at 10:18 AM · if i were younger and had the chance, that would be me in this video (not with the hat, however):

July 25, 2013 at 12:35 AM · If you look at Arifa Goodman's "Non-Western music for violin and related instruments" Discussion, you will find that the violin is played in India. You might be able to buy a violin in India for travel in India quite cheaply.

July 25, 2013 at 02:34 AM · "My question to those who have bought violins online: how do you decide one over another since you cannot test their sound and playability?"

In this case, Yita only has 2 7/8's on sale at the moment; describes the sound differently, with one also being priced higher. But it's still really a coin-toss. I guess that the difference between the two is not worth spending much time thinking/guessing on, and that the sooner you choose one, the greater chance you'll have to get it on time, and have it re-fitted if necessary as you want.

BTW, Yita's standard cases are simple foam shipping cases. They get the job done, and are the lightest ones, but won't provide much protection. Assuming that you're planning on keeping the instrument with you and not putting it in harm's way often (and not spending much money on the instrument in any case), it's probably fine (or better, because of the weight), but otherwise, the time of buying the instrument is the best time to get a case upgrade, as it will not have an added shipping cost.

July 25, 2013 at 09:42 AM · a little of this carnatic music goes a long way with me but it's enjoyable all the same. i understand they use steel strings and lubricate the fingers with oil before playing:

July 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Hi Joyce,

Haven't seen you around much lately. I would vote for leaving the violin home. One week without violin isn't going to kill you. Take the practice time and explore the world -- translation, don't be such a geek :-)

July 26, 2013 at 03:07 AM · How long are you going to be gone? Will it cause you more worry than peace?

One week without violin isn't going to kill you.

It's more like 3+ weeks... My fear is that I will love not having to practice so much and make it a habit. ;)

the sooner you choose one, the greater chance you'll have to get it on time, and have it re-fitted if necessary as you want.

Great point! Someone (a v.commer, I suspect) beat me to snatch the one with nice flamed back last night (It had been on the market for almost a month before my post)... Luckily I was more interested in the other one because of the shorter string length. So it kind of forced me to bite the bullet... Now I regret not buying both when I had the chance... :) I also upgraded the case thanks to your tip, and asked them to swap out the tailpiece with a Wittner with built-in fine tuners ($18 for the tailpiece, which I think is fair).

It would be awesome if I can get one of these while I'm there: :)

July 26, 2013 at 03:50 AM · If you're going to bring a violin, a Yita will work fine, and is a much better idea than bringing your primary instrument or trying to find one there. On a whim, I tried looking for violins in Chennai once, which didn't work out.

Just realize that with a brand new instrument with a brand new set up in a country with perhaps a very different climate that you may have an interesting time beginning to play in your.violin. There can be some pretty big climatic changes depending on which cities you'll be visiting in India.

Have fun!

July 26, 2013 at 04:55 AM · If you buy a new violin from yita, be aware that the varnish will probably not be fully dried, so you'll need to be careful about wither the lead in time before you travel, or how you store it. It WILL pick up the indentations of the case lining, possibly dye and other nasties.

July 28, 2013 at 01:27 AM · When I was in India, I learned a bit about how to play their local stringed instrument. The musician who taught me how to do it said that with about a week's practice I could quit my day job.

July 28, 2013 at 08:48 AM · ha! - welcome news, i'm sure.

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