Cringe Worthy Moments

October 8, 2016 at 07:26 PM · So My family has a weird habit of storing things in my room, and nothing is off limits when it comes to placement; my bed, my desk, or my couch. I kid you not I was out of the house for an hour and when I came back I had three sets of boots, five jackets and a large assortment of boxes on my bed. My bed is also where I put my violin case. So naturally I was pissed to find that they put a 50ib box on top of it. Anyway, what are some cringe worthy moments you all have had?

Replies (55)

October 8, 2016 at 07:32 PM · violins that have been glued with super glue or an assortment of other totally wrong modern glues!!

October 8, 2016 at 08:09 PM · After bringing home a violin that I'd just purchased, I set it on the counter and opened the case to get another look at it. My cat who is not declawed jumped up onto the counter and landed right on top of the violin. Thankfully no damage was done but now I make sure my cat is in a different room.

October 8, 2016 at 09:48 PM · In my sister's middle school orchestra they would throw their instrument cases across the room because they thought hard cases are "indestructible"

October 8, 2016 at 09:55 PM · Last season tuning student instruments for a rehearsal for the youth orchestra where I assist the conductor, I was handed a violin and I noticed that the bridge was way out of position. I tried to move it and it would not budge. I looked at the young musician who said: "My daddy glued it down last night because he said it was loose." I didn't ask what type of glue because I really didn't want to know.

October 8, 2016 at 11:37 PM · Playing my violin in my observatory in pitch darkness and suddenly hearing "SNAP!" or "Crunch!". Fortunately I've only cracked a bit of the bow button and learned what crows sound like when they are partaking reproduction. Also the darn music stand! Everytime I play with one, I somehow hit it with my scroll.

October 9, 2016 at 12:18 AM · Years ago someone came to class with a new and very strange-looking violin. I thought it was odd, because she had a beautiful violin. Why would she change it?

She didn't. It was the same violin. She changed the varnish herself. It looked like a desk.

October 9, 2016 at 12:51 AM · First off, thank you all for responding, Also I know I did not give the best example but I only use myself as an example. However, I can give some better stores of people I grew up with. I was always over protective of my violins.

October 9, 2016 at 07:20 AM · Heifetz picking up his violin by the strings in a masterclass! Repeatedly.

October 9, 2016 at 03:53 PM · So? I've done that a few times, though it feels safer to grab the sides of the fingerboard that are close to the sul tasto area of the string. :)

PS: The "indestructible case" case wins for me, though the glued bridge was rather funny. :D

October 9, 2016 at 04:25 PM · I once returned to the green room to find that someone had put my double violin/viola case (with instruments inside) flat on the floor to act a bench for three small children. I don't think they had ever heard me scream before that!

October 9, 2016 at 05:59 PM · Playing ponticello and then finding you're playing on the after-length part of the string (the sound actually isn't all that different). I've done it a couple of times, and a professional colleague once did it in a recording studio.

The classic case must have been the one many years ago when a wind ensemble was recording a VERY modern work, conducted by the composer. It was only at the end of the day's work when the clarinettist put his instrument in its case and noticed he'd been using his A clarinet instead of the B-flat. No-one had noticed, not even the conductor/composer, so he kept shtum. The recording was issued on disk without anyone being aware of the error, and the truth wasn't known until the clarinettist revealed all in a radio interview decades later, when it was safe to do so.

October 9, 2016 at 07:33 PM · I once witnessed a composer not recognising his own work when another was being rehearsed and asking the conductor to do a passage differently. He was informed that his piece was next on the rehearsal list, much to the amusement of the orchestra!

Ponticello - yes that happens to us all sometimes.

October 9, 2016 at 07:52 PM · The real punchline is that the other piece was actually The Nutcracker.

October 10, 2016 at 02:02 AM · Ms. Skreko you are witty! Forgive me but how would your pronounce your name? Any who, thank you all for responding again. You all have told great stories!

October 10, 2016 at 10:09 AM · Peter - this sounds very similar to a story related in Robert Simpson's biography. Was the conductor in question Sir Adrian Boult - or is this one of those stories which appears periodically with different names attached to it?

October 10, 2016 at 11:30 AM · I have a beautiful L Bausch bow. It was not cheap. I never set it on the floor, except for about 3 seconds a few years ago. During that 3 seconds, someone just happened to run across the room and step on it. I screamed, but thankfully, the bow is OK.

October 10, 2016 at 11:30 AM · I can't remember the composer, although he was English. It was not Robert Simpson.

I played with Boult a lot, but on this occasion the conductor was Hugo Rignold.

October 10, 2016 at 05:11 PM · I had a young girl come to her lesson with the violin covered with my little pony stickers.

October 10, 2016 at 05:24 PM · One girl's violin was covered with Mickey Mouses etc. I asked her mother about changeing the violin later, and she said "That's allright, we'll leave the stickers on!"

October 10, 2016 at 10:59 PM · It's "skr" as in scrape and then "eko" as in gecko. Thanks for asking. May I never hear "Shreko" again. :)

October 14, 2016 at 12:11 AM · A luthier went to reposition the sound post in my violin but was having trouble moving it. In the end he had me firmly hold the violin on the bench while he reached through an F-hole with a chisel and whacked it with a hammer. The sound post had been glued in place. (Fortunately it was a cheap violin.) He made up a new sound post and set it properly, and that cheap violin sounded like a brand new instrument.

October 14, 2016 at 12:19 AM · Hello all, sorry again for not responding sooner. Ms. Skreko thank you so much for breaking down your name for me. Mr. Gibbs, so far your story is one of the clingiest I've heard! Next to the student who re-varnished her own instrument!

October 14, 2016 at 12:19 AM · Hello all, sorry again for not responding sooner. Ms. Skreko thank you so much for breaking down your name for me. Mr. Gibbs, so far your story is one of the clingiest I've heard! Next to the student who re-varnished her own instrument!

October 14, 2016 at 03:24 PM · My cringe-worthy moments? Are you kidding? I'd have to list every time I've been on a stage. And most of my posts.

October 14, 2016 at 05:38 PM · Mr. Cole please explain in further detail I am very interested to see a list!

October 14, 2016 at 08:59 PM ·

October 14, 2016 at 09:38 PM · At a concert last night one of the second violinists dropped his instrument as we were about to begin Elgar... It's an enigma as to how he managed to drop it...

October 18, 2016 at 11:27 PM · What a nimrod...

October 19, 2016 at 12:30 AM · "What a nimrod..."

Glad someone caught my pun :D

October 19, 2016 at 07:11 PM · Many decades ago, I was in a packed audience at Chicago's Orchestra Hall, where a then prominent youth orchestra was in the middle of a passionate performance of the Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony (as I recall, it was in the middle of the 1st movement).

A violinist on an outside seat behind the concertmaster, in the midst of a furious downbow in this emotional score, let slip his bow, which went flying out to about the 3rd or 4th row of the audience.

Without any reaction from the audience, and with the orchestra continuing to play this emotional symphony, the young violinist put his violin carefully on his chair, and with careful effort hopped off the stage in front of the orchestra. And the stage in those days was quite high, so the young man had to exercise considerable care.

He waded and climbed over the first couple of rows of people and someone handed him the errant bow.

He then climbed back to the stage, but it was too high for him to hop up. So his partner put down his own violin, stood up, and reached over to pull his colleague back onto the stage, where the two of them took their usual places, and the Tchaikovsky continued on.

No one made a noise, and at the end of the Symphony, there was no acknowledgment of the event. But this still stands as one of the funniest things I have ever seen in the world of classical music, particularly since they were playing one of the more emotional and dramatic symphonies in the repertoire.



October 28, 2016 at 07:30 AM · I got one just the other day!

This lady I know wanted me to check out her grandfather's violin that had been in storage for years. So before my arrival, she made sure the violin looked all nice and clean, giving it a good scrub and some Old English all over!

(at least it was just a turn-of-the-century student German Strad copy)

October 28, 2016 at 12:28 PM · You can probably remove that wax by immersing the whole violin in a vapor degreaser. LOL.

October 28, 2016 at 02:23 PM · one time my little brother was throwing a tantrum in the car and he kicked my case really hard and i practically heard the strings break and my violin scream in pain

October 29, 2016 at 01:49 PM · Besides the entire Quartet performing while a bit intoxicated early on, the Cellists bridge snapping and hitting the 2nd Violinist on his head, the Cellist falling out of his seat during a particularly moving section of the Ravel, the Violist knocking over his stand which knocked over everybody else's music stands somehow during a performance, a borrowed bow I was using snapping into 4 pieces from playing which to this day nobody's sure how it happened. Then there's the lovely students, one which had their younger sibling taking a permanent marker to their newly financed $40k instrument, a young lady whose mother 'washed' her Violin in the sink like it was dishes, etc.. Too many instances to list.

October 29, 2016 at 08:47 PM · Cant stop laughing reading all this stories. My best one is once my mother dropped her violin and the fingerboard layed next to her violin.She still had to play so she took some bubble gum. Chewed it and used it to glue the fingerboard back to its place. It worked well and we still laugh about it.

October 30, 2016 at 11:14 PM · @M Snellen I think your story is the best story I have read!

November 1, 2016 at 03:01 AM · Personally, I think washing the violin in the sink wins the grand prize. I can't unsee the mental image...

November 1, 2016 at 08:35 PM · Washing in the sink? How about this?

At a bluegrass jam one night I had just left the room when the bass player's bridge fell over. The resulting bang was most cringe-worthy, but I suppressed it long enough to run back into the room to see whether anyone needed first aid.

November 6, 2016 at 08:20 AM · A good friend of mine and I had dinner today. He is classically trained pianist, who is now in med school. We were making plans for hiking trips, and he wanted to have a look at my viola.

He was trying to play twinkle-twinkle-little star on my viola. He's never played a string instrument, and he was trying to play it on its A. It hurt my very soul. In fact, I had to stop him to put a mute on, then plugged my ears and that was still painful... He was cringing his face the whole time, I'm sure it was even more painful to him.

November 8, 2016 at 09:23 PM · Once I remember I was preparing for a concert. I was a young girl, maybe 12. I was tuning my violin when a women came rushing past me and her dress caught on one of my pegs. My violin went flying out of my hands and crashed on the floor. Luckily my mother, also a violinist, brought me a spare but I had to do the concert on her instrument, a whole size bigger than mine! Yikes!

November 8, 2016 at 11:28 PM ·

November 9, 2016 at 06:08 PM · Mr. Hesse you win.....

November 9, 2016 at 08:47 PM · Nah, the win is when you throw a hard case across a room.

I shudder to think what would happen if a nice instrument was left around those kids...

November 9, 2016 at 09:53 PM · A. O. you have a point, but that bridge scares me.

November 10, 2016 at 10:17 AM · It was my first few weeks practicing and my cat, unassuming and giving no indication of discontent, inserted her whole claw into my arm. I dropped my brand new instrument and the sound post got knocked loose. She goes in the bathroom now, despite my improvements.

November 10, 2016 at 03:57 PM · Kevin: Owwww....

Julio: If that bridges scares you, how about this antique:

For details about it, go to the picture's source page at maestronet.


November 10, 2016 at 11:44 PM · I like how the link you sent me made it look like an art A.O.

November 11, 2016 at 04:49 PM · Thanks. :)

November 12, 2016 at 01:59 AM · Kevin, cleaning up the bathroom after her after she's gone? Rather you than me!

November 12, 2016 at 02:16 PM · In a very large concert several high schools in my area did together last year, I saw a violin bow fly 20 feet above my head and land in the cello section.

November 12, 2016 at 04:51 PM · Every year we have a huge concert with about 200 students and all of us cram onto one stage for one piece, and all of our parents and family watch us in the auditorium. There were easily 600+ people there in the audience and on the stage, and all of us watched as the bassist's music fell off his stand and floated down off the stage, to the auditorium floor. Probably the most embarrassing part was that it had happened to him several times before!

November 13, 2016 at 12:37 AM · I wonder if that unlucky bassist had one of those stands with a too narrow supporting ledge for the music? The solution, which I and others use is a strip of heavy duty cardboard, or similar, the length of the ledge, about 2" wide, and attached to the ledge by bulldog clips. Stable and effective. If, additionally, you're in a situation where there are draughts (was the bassist near an open door?), playing out-of-doors, or close to dancers moving fast on the dance floor, then you can't beat that simple old standby of clothes pegs to keep the music in place.

November 13, 2016 at 11:42 AM · @Trevor:

Clothes pegs (clothes pins),if inelegant, work well and always a good supply. The wife does complain if I lose too many.

November 14, 2016 at 01:00 AM · The fact that this is still on the first page makes me laugh. It's awesome reading all of these stories. Thank you all!

February 14, 2017 at 01:46 AM · It turns out violin cases ARE indestructible

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