What do you do outside of violin?

May 3, 2017 at 08:43 PM · Hi everyone! I'm curious about what sort of people are using this website. While our love/interest of the violin (or viola) brought us together. I can't help but wonder how many people are here that have a completely different life (not a professional violinist/violist, luthier, etc.) I'm interested. Below are a few questions to start of:

1) Are you a professional violinist or is your main source of living related to a string instrument? If not what do you do?

2) Do you get paid to do work (perform) that involves the instrument? (i.e. gigs? Orchestra?)

3) Have you performed for anyone aside from yourself and your teacher? If not, do you plan to?

For me, I play the violin more for fun. I'm an accountant in the morning and a struggling violin student at night. :) I have never performed publicly but in the future I would like to play with and for others when I get better.


Replies (39)

May 3, 2017 at 09:32 PM · I'm an emergency physician by night, amateur violinist by other nights. By day, I sleep.

I have few performance opportunities right now. I've played on a few recitals with my son, who is in Suzuki book 5, and I spent a few months with a community orchestra. I hope to have more opportunities as I improve.

May 3, 2017 at 10:07 PM · Now, 27 yeas after retiring from employment, and 10 years after ending my self employment, all my outside activities are music related or volunteering for local Friends of the Library activities. If you want to know more see me here:


If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area we are going to have a spectacular Lucas Valley Chamber Orchestra ALL MOZART concert at the Christ Presbyterian Church in the Terra Linda area of San Rafael, CA this Sunday at 4pm. All are welcome - no charge. We usually fill the hall so come early!

May 3, 2017 at 11:18 PM · I am no pro, do not get paid for playing music on any instrument, and perform at a local church and various other gigs plus music festivals and ensemble performances throughout the year. I'm an avid multi-instrumentalist, composer, tech fan, creative writing fan and studious young woman, striving to do the best in school.

May 4, 2017 at 04:30 AM · 1. Professional violinist

2. Yes, probably 2/3 of my income comes from performing and the other third from teaching.

3. See above.

When I'm not playing the violin, I enjoy arguing with strangers on the internet. ;-)

May 4, 2017 at 04:56 AM · 1. I am far from a professional. I'm actually one of the terrible self taught players.

2. I have never accepted payment for playing. I wouldn't want to because there are too many people out there who deserve to be paid for their music and I'm not one of them.

3. I have recently played for a wedding, which I feel went pretty smoothly. I also playing for friends, family, and I suppose the occasional stranger within earshot.

I play mostly for my own enjoyment. If my playing can bring any happiness to others that's even better. Other than violin I enjoy teaching rock climbing free of charge to people willing to learn, cycling, and working to improve my second language.

May 4, 2017 at 07:37 AM · I like wasting time playing videogames and watching movies, i study maritime engineering and love wood, metalwork, cnc-machining, 3d printing/modeling and i absolutely love hiking and summer.

I picked up the violin because i have always loved instrumental music, and violin is the one that can best help me to be able to express and write down the tunes for everyone to hate or love. Haven't got a teacher or actually performed to anyone, played a few tunes to my friends (I can hardly call that performing) but i'll get a teacher when my economic situation allows it

May 4, 2017 at 08:13 AM · 1. When I was in high school, my teacher told me being a professional violinist was never in my future. I am in a profession where there is a healthy emphasis on work life balance, which enabled me to return to the violin in my 40's.

2. Your question took me down the memory lane. As a teenager, I actually played in weddings and events for money.

3. I play for my 5-year old daughter. She loves the sound of my violin and falls asleep with it every night.

May 4, 2017 at 09:40 AM · Thanks Vicky for this question. It's nice to get to know people in the group.

I'm a Chief Strategy Officer for a large group in the Middle East. Started learning the violin later in life as a mean to keep my sanity after a long day at work. Actually I really got into it to the point that I bought a very expensive violin (made by Georg Winterling in 1922) and another Yamaha silent violin for late night or early morning practice.

By the way, I love Mary Ellen's comment about arguing with strangers. Would love to argue with her :))

Please send me your twitter handle or connect with me at @hajjarmo

May 4, 2017 at 10:38 AM · I teach violin on the side, I have about 20 beginner students. I've played in recitals, orchestras, etc.

other than that Im a Forex trader, and electrical engineering student , and a cryptocurrency investor/speculator like bitcoin and what not.

May 4, 2017 at 11:29 AM · I'm a keen amateur although I have been paid for a couple of low key performances as an orchestra pit member for Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

By day I work in the oilfield in operations so a pretty hectic round-the-clock job with unpredictable days. I am pretty disciplined and manage to set aside at least 45 minutes a day to practice violin. I play in two community orchestras and one string quartet (we meet for fun as a quartet with no intention of performing in public!). Restarted lessons last year after over a decade without any extra assistance. Currently working towards sitting my ATCL recital diploma to give me added focus!

May 4, 2017 at 03:06 PM · I am a beginner on violin, so no I would never attempt to charge for it. People might pay me not to play;P I have actually had a few successful public solos even at just over one year playing. Nothing too complicated yet. I participate in Irish music sessions usually bringing along a bouzouki too.

I'm a regular church pianist. Music leader/minister. I am very involved with music technology and am a beta tester for music software. I compose music and record with computers. I don't get payed for any of that.

My day job is a building control software programmer/operator. I manage a facility that supports 17.000 people.

I also build and repair things, lots of things. One of my larger projects was a wrap around porch with gazebo. This was my house. I built a fireplace bookshelf surround. I've done extensive remodels. My most recent project was a hen house. My wife brought home chicks and they needed a home :) It was more work than I anticipated :)

I like to play with my Yorkies and play music. Sometimes I like to do nothing.

May 4, 2017 at 03:10 PM ·

May 4, 2017 at 03:23 PM · My bio is available already on this site:


May 4, 2017 at 03:28 PM · I'm an IT industry analyst these days (my job is kind of like arguing with strangers on the Internet all day long, except it's colleagues and clients, with a sideline of punditry for the press). I have a computer science engineering degree and think of myself as an engineer at heart, and I'm still a fairly decent hands-on implementer, if only for fun now.

I consider myself a solidly amateur violinist now, even though I occasionally get paid for things (pit orchestra, coaching, etc.). When I was younger I freelanced more -- mostly pick-up orchestras, and the occasional quartet light-music.

I perform quite a bit, though. I'm the concertmaster of a community orchestra, and I occasionally play a set with other community orchestras in the area. My quartet performs a few times a season. I play in my teacher's student recitals even though I'm often the only adult. But I also play public recitals, shared with pros and other serious amateurs (figure one to three performer groups per recital so I don't have to prepare a whole hour on my own). I am actively trying to do more solo performing, in hopes of being able to better control my stage fright.

May 4, 2017 at 03:34 PM · 1. I'm a professional jane-of-all-trades: an executive assistant.

I was told by my childhood/teenage violin teacher that I could have played (violin) professionally if I wanted. But back then, I didn't want my life to be what being a professional musician entailed - not sure I would want that life now either. Like David, I'm in a profession that has a healthy work-life balance; so, I play for fun, recently returned over a decade later and loving every second of it - especially all of the studies, scales and technique work that bored me to tears when I was younger.

2. No, but I wouldn't say no if someone offered - even though I'm woefully inadequate to be playing in front of others as far as I'm concerned.

3. In the past yes; but now just myself, my husband, my teacher and my various neighbors who overhear me. I would like to see where I am at with my playing at the end of the year, I might consider joining a community orchestra - I miss that sound and feeling.

Edit: For fun, I read, write, cook, listen to music, hike, make art here and there (much less since I got into the violin again), and am an herbalist (Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic herbs). I also teach at an online herb school.

May 4, 2017 at 03:59 PM · My secretarial job by day leaves me evenings to practice my newfound hobby. Other pastimes include piano, reading, writing, computer and nature.

I would love to become a violin teacher one day. Not by professional means though; just for beginners who want a head start. I would also love to play with other musicians when I become more advanced in my playing.

I perform for myself, primarily! When my siblings come to visit, I try to get them to play piano with me, but after a couple times they learned better than to allow me to disturb their beautiful, harmonious playing. My keyboard does a fine job, for the time being, in accompanying my cacophony of a tune.

One more tidbit - I dream of joining an orchestra! The huge ones, with rows upon rows of musicians.

May 4, 2017 at 04:24 PM · 1) I am an amateur violinist and work in computational physics (m.sc. physics)

2) Yes, I am a last minute jumpin in orchestras/ensembles and my quartett gets regular gigs. I also do both without payment, depending on who is asking. As a student I did a lot of payed gigs to pay for university, today its enough to buy strings, nothing more.

3) Yes, many times but everything on an amateur level.

I do pretty much everything I have fun with, nothing more. I play about 1.5h per day and take a single hour lesson once a month. I did pause 2 years for very personal reasons but I came back six years ago and play the violin for nearly 30 years in total. I play in two orchestras, a quartett, regulary in church and everything which sounds fun.

I also play the piano, flute and guitar, but not on the same level as the violin.

May 4, 2017 at 04:42 PM · Good question. I would encourage any young musician considering a career as a performer to, at some point, acquire another job skill. It could take as little as 2 years at a community college vocational-technical certificate. I was a pro, doing better than than most, in the L.A. area from ages about 20-28. Then I stopped, went back to school, worked most of my life in a med. lab. specialty, playing part-time. I had an involuntary early retirement from that. Now I am a temporary part-time Lecturer at the local CSU music dept., play jobs on weekends. I do not commit to non-paying events on weekends. jq

May 4, 2017 at 04:43 PM ·

May 4, 2017 at 07:08 PM · 1) My main source of income since '92 is from the software engineering line of work (although I have been out of paid work for the last year).

2) I don't get paid to play violin. Although, I might have made $75 or $80 to play in a wedding once...

3) Like Lydia, I am concertmaster of my local community orchestra. I have performed solo with them before, and also in string quartet/quintet groups as part of the concert program.

Other interests: tennis, table-tennis, mountain biking, running

May 4, 2017 at 07:21 PM · 1. I am a banker by profession and a student of violin.

2. People would probably pay me to stop playing! After 5 years, I still have a lot to learn.

3. I play with a small string ensemble, and with the Mid-Atlantic Scottish Fiddlers. Fortunately, these two groups are very tolerant! I would love to play with one of the local amateur orchestras someday.

May 4, 2017 at 09:38 PM · There was a violinist named something like Albert Einstein, who did something other than violin playing for a living - Anyone remind me what it was?

May 5, 2017 at 02:06 PM · I am a 59 y/o ophthalmic surgeon, with a focus in corneal transplant surgery here in Portland, Maine. Though I studied Violin as a youth, it had been completely dormant in my life until several years ago. It's unclear what made resuming violin suddently so compelling, but it has been. I found a wonderful and inspiring teacher (I call her a pedagogical genius) who is now essential to my efforts.

I have never been paid to play - too much a beginner for that.

My first recital was this spring (Huber Op.8,#4) and felt like a milestone. Since October I have been in the V-1 section of a Community Orchestra here in Portland, and find it challenging and fun.

I notice there are a lot of technically minded folks in this thread, and John R. invoked Einsten. What else do you suppose characterizes violinists re personality, attributes, lifestyles, etc. as we perpetuate this time-honored art?

May 5, 2017 at 03:26 PM · There are a lot of technically-minded folks (including an awful lot in the medical profession) in orchestras, period, although I agree this seems to be especially prevalent for string players.

There are correlations in the part of the brain used. But playing the violin well is also intensely detail-oriented. There's always the joke that string players are the most neurotic.

May 5, 2017 at 04:23 PM · I reconnected with several string players from my youth orchestra days via social media. They have alll returned to their instruments. I wonder if music schools, especially those dealing with ever decreasing number of string students, should see if there is a new market for them.

May 5, 2017 at 04:59 PM · I studied engineering and work for the government now. I have been paid a few times for "gigs" I didn't expect money for. I mostly play at church, but occasionally at retirement homes. I used to play in a community orchestra, but quit to have time to devote to improving on the violin.

May 5, 2017 at 05:00 PM · I have a PhD in mechanical engineering. Live meandered and for more than ten years now I have been working for a software company.

I pay to play :-)

One student recital and family having endured my efforts is all I can refer to.

May 5, 2017 at 08:08 PM · I've always said that most violinists are engineers (whether they realize it or not), and this thread confirms that.

May 6, 2017 at 04:27 AM · I play full time as a professional violinist with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony since 1987 being the 2nd Associate Concermaster.I had a full contingent of students until having two children but eventually I will build up my teaching studio again.Its been a very rewarding career and I have enjoyed playing very diverse programs and the challenges are never ending.

I have great respect for all the fascinating careers and higher education that so many posters have here on this thread.My wish in life had always been to go into science or engineering but I chose what I love to do and have accepted the financial repercussions.Overall,it's been a good career.

May 6, 2017 at 05:53 AM · Most science jobs are not better in terms of salery ;)

If you go into privat companies you get better salery but do less science.

May 6, 2017 at 06:04 AM · I played professionally for 25 years, but the demise of the orchestra in which I was employed caused me to change tracks to teaching violin a few years earlier than I had originally planned.

May 6, 2017 at 08:20 AM · 1) I am a retired English teacher who returned to the violin a year after my husband 'impulse-bought' a piano one week after his own retirement.

2) I have never been paid for playing - they might pay me to go away!

3) We have performed for friends at a New Year Ceilidh and at our home. I also now play the fiddle at two pub sessions (folk/Irish) near my home.

Apart from music? Not much, because music has completely taken over our Third Age, and very lucky we are too to have this in retirement.

We go to baroque and folk concerts, and we are also keen Scottish Country Dancers. Gardening, reading, walking & trips to scenic or historic sites are also things we love. And footling about on the internet for hours each day.

May 6, 2017 at 01:34 PM · I'm a professional amatuer violist. I get paid for performances with applause, food, good company and happiness. Day job is Business Analyst in the Oil & Gas industry (mostly I write custom business software applications).

May 6, 2017 at 09:21 PM · Wow! Thanks for sharing everyone. I find very interesting that majority of the people here have a career not related to music.

I've admired those professional violinists who've made a career of what they love. But now I also admire those people who have a completely unrelated career to music but has continued to work hard and learn the violin.

Also, to those people who are orchestra members (not to mention concertmasters) you are an inspiration to me and a lot of violin beginners. Eventually, I would like to play in an orchestra or a quartet, etc. (curious how long do you have to be playing the violin to be part of an orchestra?)

May 7, 2017 at 09:21 AM · Since re-starting violin as an adult, It took 1 year and 10 months to feel that playing in a community orchestra was realistic. Before then, it seemed way too daunting to try, but my teacher noted that violin is a performance instrument, and the goal is to play for/with others. My advice offered to anyone new to orchestra: There are players both better and worse than yourself so just relax and learn; listen to recordings of repertoire and prepare a lot with marked-up scores; and especially use a metronome to study timing - e.g. entrances, the six measures of the same 1/16th, and all those long rests you don't encounter in ├ętudes and solo pieces.

May 7, 2017 at 10:22 AM · It completly depends on the orchestra. In a orchestra beeing able to play all common pieces id suggest something like 6-10years.

I joined my first orchestra beeing 8 years old, after 1.5 years of playing. But this was intended to be an easy one where the conductor did great arrangments of pieces making them easier but only for those who needed it (esp in the woinds it differed at lot).

May 7, 2017 at 10:22 AM ·

May 7, 2017 at 04:20 PM · Hi Vicky -- I started violin lessons when I was 5 and played through high school. Then, I took a 20+ year break before starting regular practice again in 2011. I think I had reached a fairly high level of playing by the time I graduated H.S. Also, I had played in youth orchestras up to that point.

I joined the current community orchestra that I am concertmaster of about 3 years ago. After my first season, the music director asked me if I would be the CM (as the previous CM had decided to move on). So, it's not quite as impressive as having won the job... ;)

May 7, 2017 at 05:15 PM · You varnish it!

Sorry, could not resist the temptation....

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