What piece did you aspire to play when you started?

February 2, 2017 at 03:34 PM · For the most part, when we've started to play the violin there were one or two pieces we may have aspired to play in the future and work towards. Whether it was Canon in D, or some Lindsay Stirling piece for a new violinist, what piece did you aspire to play and why?

Once you got there how did you feel? Did you feel like you mastered the instrument, or did your aspirations change?

Replies (48)

February 2, 2017 at 03:37 PM · Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

Later, when I discovered I was very good at learning despite starting at 18, I upped the end goal to Paganini's God Save the King Variations.

February 2, 2017 at 03:56 PM · Twinkle. LOL. I was five.

February 2, 2017 at 04:18 PM · :) Thanks Mary Ellen (such a babe!)

February 2, 2017 at 04:42 PM · I had pretty much never heard a violin before I started playing. But since I was in a Suzuki program, I quickly got to see what other kids were playing, and what I really aspired to was the Bach Double, which looked like a huge amount of fun. (My Suzuki program did that schtick where you get the kids playing it in a big group, and they swap the kids between the parts on the fly by touching their shoulders, etc.)

Much, much later, I wanted to play the Mendelssohn. After that, I had no idea.

February 2, 2017 at 05:04 PM · My first piece, in 1939, was "Twinkle." (long before Suzuki in the USA). My teacher told me that when I learned to play it right he would give me the little jeweled matchbox cover on one of his side tables. Well--I did, and he did.

Years later my father told me he would be taking me to see Heifetz play the Beethoven Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony for my 16th birthday - so I worked on that for the preceding 6 months so I could really enjoy the concert - and I did - and for long afterwards too. I can still visualize the experience, over 65 years later. (Unfortunately, I can no longer play it.)

February 2, 2017 at 05:11 PM · I started at 5 years old, and I don't remember what my big goal was at that point. But I remember listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons and A minor concerto when I was very young and thinking that I would be perfectly happy once I could play that music. :) I played the A minor concerto at around 8 or 9 years of age and I remember being slightly disillusioned. It was so long and difficult. For me at that point, three pages felt very long. After Tchaikovsky concerto, of course, nothing feels long to me anymore. :)

February 2, 2017 at 05:11 PM · I never aspired to play any piece in particular when I started.

February 2, 2017 at 05:15 PM ·

February 2, 2017 at 05:20 PM · Didn't have much of an idea when I started to play at age of 6, or perhaps I just don't remember. I studied intensely until I was 18, then took up another career which left little time for violin. When I returned in earnest in my 50s to studying the violin, what I wanted above all was to play the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, all of them. My hero then was Nathan Milstein. That was quite a few years ago. (Nowhere near completing that goal, but I'm still working on it.) Oh yes, almost forgot -- I also wanted to learn the Scottish/Cape Breton fiddle repertoire - my roots - and play the music properly like a traditional fiddler. Still working on that one too. Natalie MacMaster is an inspiration. And will I ever get there? Unlikely, but I'll never stop trying.

February 2, 2017 at 05:42 PM · I just wanted to play the next piece in the book. I still do.

February 2, 2017 at 05:51 PM · I started at the ripe young age of 56 having never even touched a fiddle before. My aspirational piece was Ashoken Farewell. I got there in about 3 months but I must admit twinkle was the first tune I could play!

February 2, 2017 at 05:58 PM · For me, it was a musician who inspired me to play the violin. In the late 70's, right before my family left for the US, Yehudi Menuhin visited China. I still remember, seeing him on Chinese TV, what a gentle spirit he was. A lovely human being and a great violinist.

February 2, 2017 at 07:36 PM · I had so many. Schubert's Death and the Maiden, Mozart's g minor viola quintet, Shostakovich's 1st string quartet, Bartok's viola concerto, Da Falla's Love the Magician, Piazzolla's Four for Tango, Tchaikovsky's string serenade, Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, and many more. Once I got to the point where I could play them ( I have done most of these ), I certainly didn't feel like a master. Not even close.

February 2, 2017 at 07:44 PM · Back in the communist China during the "cultural revolution" in the early 70s, I saw a girl playing some revolutionary song on a tiny TV that my father built. It's called "(Mongolia)Prairie Red Guards Met Chairman Mao". Here is a modern version of the piece:

The young violinist played at the time looked about my age and also everyone said she looked just like me. I said to my parents, if you give me a violin, I can do that too. Soon they got me a violin and a teacher. Right away, to be able to play Kayser Etude No.1 in tune and very fast was something kept me working hard. Shortly afterwards, Mendelssohn deeply really shook me and I'm still working on it.

February 2, 2017 at 07:50 PM · Great stories!

Thanks for sharing everyone :)

February 2, 2017 at 08:40 PM · Not when I first started but when I first started getting serious about it, but I want to play the Sibelius VC. I'm still a ways away from being able to pull it off but it's probably my favorite piece and I can't find an interpretation that I can 100% get behind, so I guess I gotta do it myself (once I have the technique that is..)

February 2, 2017 at 08:56 PM · Mendelssohn

February 2, 2017 at 09:57 PM · Faure A-major violin sonata. Other stuff after that one, but that's my dream piece.

February 2, 2017 at 10:04 PM · There were several: Thais Meditation, Romance from The Gadfly, Bartok Romanian Dances, for three, but the music I most wanted to be able to play was Bach: Double Concerto, and the Allemande and Gigue from the second Partita. A little later i began to dream(stress 'dream') of being able to play the Passacaglia from Shostakovich's first concerto, having listened to a recording by Lydia Mordkovitch. Miles's mention of interpretation made me realise that a particular interpretation is as likely to inspire the urge to learn a piece as the music itself.

February 2, 2017 at 11:21 PM · Don't know of I'll ever arrive there. But Franz Schmidt Quartet No.1 in A major would really mean something to me...

February 2, 2017 at 11:45 PM · I'll pop in as a newbie and say that I haven't reached that stage yet, of having mastered a piece that I want.

But my current aspiration: just to be able to play simple songs that I'm in the mood of. Classical concertos are a little above my scope now.

Maybe I'll revive this thread in a couple of years :)

February 3, 2017 at 12:44 AM · I think Bruch Concerto was my first big "I have to play that!" moment. I'll never forget the feeling of awe when my teacher told me I was ready to learn it.

February 3, 2017 at 03:38 AM · I didn't have any particular piece in mind when I started playing, I just loved music. But, when I was quite young I had a recording of Eugene Fodor playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto; he'd just won top prize in the Tchaik competition, and for me living in Denver, he was something of a local hero. So I listened to the Tchaik a zillion times and really wanted to learn it!

February 3, 2017 at 12:24 PM · About the same time as I started playing the violin (8 years old) I spend my savings on a small tape recorder. There was money left for one cassette and I more or less randomly chose the Trout quintet. That was my distant goal. I knew that piece so well that when there was a TV show with professional musicians who among other things had to guess a piece of music played without the melody I immediately recognized it.

February 3, 2017 at 01:25 PM · I started at 70 wanting to play 100 tunes (mainly slow mushy show tunes). I cannot yet play any of them after three years. I still have (and play) my $30 plywood violin that inspired me. Having seen Pierre Holstein play "You Raise Me Up", I have added that to my list.

February 3, 2017 at 05:30 PM · A bunch of them: concertos Bruch & Mendelssohn, Paganini's 5th and 24th, Pachebel's canon and Vittorio Monti's Csardas. That was when I started. Now of course I have those plus many more.

February 4, 2017 at 02:05 AM · Bach - Sonatas and partitas for solo violin - they astound me, then and now

February 4, 2017 at 03:49 AM · easy... the day I brought my viola home

from school (3rd grade), I started working on this much to my parent's dismay:

Put needle on record. Let play 10 seconds. Try to reproduce. Repeat.

February 5, 2017 at 10:26 PM · Scales...or else I, and the other students in our teachers studio would get slapped across the hand. Fairly strict times.

February 6, 2017 at 03:09 AM · I always wanted to, and still do, play Dvorak's 9th Symphony.

February 6, 2017 at 04:37 PM · The Tchaikovsky! The advantage of not yet mastering it half a century later is that I can still aspire...

February 6, 2017 at 05:44 PM · If there's still something I want to play that I haven't yet, it's Scheherezade, as the concertmaster.

February 6, 2017 at 05:59 PM · Somewhat oddly it was Bach Chaconne for my daughter. Perhaps we listened to it too many times when she was young... Anyway she is happy now that it's her working piece.

February 6, 2017 at 10:48 PM · Well, Lydia, you're a concertmaster, so now you just need to persuade the conductor=)

February 7, 2017 at 06:20 AM · La fille aux cheveux de lin

February 7, 2017 at 04:03 PM · Paganini's Caprice no 4 in C minor

February 7, 2017 at 05:20 PM · I started playing the violin when I was 9. But long before that - as far back as I can remember - I was transfixed by the Beethoven Violin Concerto. I still am. And that is the reason I originally asked my parents if I could take lessons. As an amateur, I've certainly tried to bumble my way through parts of it from time to time throughout my life. And that, for me, has been enough. To me, that piece is still the holy grail of the violin.

February 7, 2017 at 05:53 PM · For me, it was the Kreutzer Sonata. During a party at my home when I was a little kid, Israel Baker and my pianist dad started playing it; Iz on the Jules Garcin Stradivari, my dad on the Steinway D - I still cherish those memories.

February 7, 2017 at 11:16 PM · Back in the day (a fifth grade me, about six or so years ago), it was Lindsey Stirling's Crystallize because I didn't know that it was technically extremely easy.

After I surpassed her music about three years ago, my goals became set on the Mendelssohn E Minor (Hilary Hahn recording).

February 8, 2017 at 10:32 PM · At age 6, my passion was to play Nearer to Thee My God so well it would make everyone cry. inly my dogs cried given the scratchy notes lol!

February 26, 2017 at 01:26 PM · Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D definitely. I remember that once a concertmaster of a local Baroque orchestra came into our school to teach a masterclass, and I was in the youth section, prepared to play Mozart's Menuett btw... And the first sentence I said even before I played was, "Hi, when can I play Tchaikovsky's Concerto?" All the teachers there had a very good laugh....

February 27, 2017 at 10:03 PM · Bruch's Violin Concerto #1, I quit playing the first time around when I had started working through the piece. (I didn't stop playing because I no longer loved playing, life took me in a different direction and I missed playing every day for over a decade.) Now that I am back, the top of the list is Bartok Roumanian Folk Dances, Ravel Tzigane and Enescu Impressions d'Enfance. I'm still learning how to walk/play again, so these pieces are still a long ways off...

February 28, 2017 at 08:17 AM · I was initially motivated to start violin lessons at age 7 after I saw a girl from my school playing in a recital. I don't remember what she was playing, but I imagine it was something from Suzuki book 1.

I was inspired to return to the violin in middle age after listening to Hilary Hahn's recording of the Chaconne. That piece gives me goosebumps every time. My goal is to learn all of the Sonatas and Partitas.

February 28, 2017 at 08:42 AM · Oh, good question. I started because I wanted to play the solo from Thais. But my end goal will always be pushed further back. Currently it's the scene de ballet.

February 28, 2017 at 05:53 PM · I fell in love with the Biber Passacaglia. Heaven knows when/if I will ever be good enough to play it.

February 28, 2017 at 07:22 PM · I was initially motivated to start violin lessons at age 7 after I saw a girl from my school playing in a recital. I don't remember what she was playing, but I imagine it was something from Suzuki book 1.

--> Jason, did you ask her out?

--> Alexander: Agree. The goal post always changes!

--> Krista: You can do it!

February 28, 2017 at 07:31 PM · John, we were in the same high school class, but I never asked her out. I did end up marrying a fellow Suzuki graduate though.

February 28, 2017 at 07:33 PM · Awesome Jason :)

I'll save the "how many of your started violin because you were chasing a cute boy or girl?" thread for another day haha

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