Why did you pick up the violin?
I was reading another thread and Perlman’s name was mentioned.
I still remember watching this on Sesame Street way back in the day and while watching I fell in love with the violin (and Perlman!) and I started my violin journey....first by begging my parents for lessons, finally getting them around 5-6 and the violin has been a love in my life (off and on, we can be transient in our love, haha!) into my early 40’s. I still remember hearing this though and thinking “I need to be able to do this.” Cannot articulate it even now, I just had to and still do.
What inspired you or why did you start playing the violin?
I don't remember exactly to be honest. As far as I can remember, a friend suggested x/talked about it and I wanted to try, so I did. I loved it so I kept going to this day.
Age 4 or so. Because my parents said "pick two instruments" so I chose violin and piano. Actually I started piano at 3 and violin at 4. And I stayed with both until the last year of high school when I put aside violin to focus on jazz piano. I returned to the violin 25 years later, but I still play jazz piano, and a lot of it actually. My oldest brother chose violin and piano too, eventually dropping violin and then later picking up the trumpet. My other brother started on piano, added cello soon thereafter, and eventually dropped piano for the flute, and now he's mostly a jazz bassist (amateur). We all have day jobs in STEM areas (oldest brother recently retired though).
It was fifth grade, about age 11. I went to a rather limited music store with my father. They had three instruments; a trumpet, a clarinet, a violin. I blew in the trumpet, nothing happened , clarinet, nothing. The violin made a sound the first time. I remember that my reaction was something like: "this one works, I'll do violin" That $100 violin was ****, it was replaced about two years later, when I started with a real violin teacher.
I picked it up to play Western Swing and because my fingernails were no good for classical guitar.
I had to practise.
After two of my grandsons had been taking violin lessons for a couple years I decided to get a violin and a method book and give it a go. My mistake was when I called a music store to inquire about renting a violin, the store owner suggested that I should “be sure to get a good teacher”. I took his advice. That was seven years ago, I was 56 years old. Sometimes I wonder “what was I thinking”? I am now hooked, and really enjoying the challenge.
I had created some discussion forums for Cajun and Zydeco music. One acquaintance lamented that there was no specific forum for cajun fiddle, so I created one. Some time later I walked into a music store to buy a penny whistle, and walked out with a Pallatino violin (earlier, heavier Chinese export).
I had forgotten about seeing Perlman on Sesame Street.
First music lesson at secondary school they said we all had to learn either the violin or the recorder. Recorder was what the girls at primary school used to play, so... By such dopey decisions does one's whole future life get determined
I'm quite sure that the first night I slept at home after leaving my birth hospital I heard my father practicing the violin. He would have been 28 at the time and had resumed violin lessons after medical school and some evening chamber music experience there. He practiced every day after work and every 4 weeks his (revolving) string quartet practiced at our house. So at some stage in my young life, of course I wanted to emulate my father.
Plain curiosity and wanting a new challenge. I started as an adult after playing piano during my childhood and teens. I couldn't understand how do violinists knew where to place fingers without any visual guidance, how did they know an A was exactly an A and not something between an A and a #A... and I also had read lots of times that violin was harder to play than piano/the hardest instrument to play... so I had to try it by myself. I started lurking a bit and ended up taking lessons in a few months.
My older (by 12 years) sister's violin teacher got interested in the Suzuki movement and wanted to start a class in our small Kansas college town. My mother asked me (age five) if I would like to play the violin--to me, this meant being more like my sister whom I admired--so of course I said "yes!" I am sure that had I said "no," the outcome would have been the same; I was going to be learning the violin. In my family we were all expected to learn piano and at least one other instrument so this was just an earlier start to the inevitable. But my parents had absolutely no intention of any child going into professional music; that was entirely my choice.
I had been playing electric guitar for 13 years when another guitarist recommended the Paganini Caprices for developing my technique further. I got into numbers 11, 5 and 24 but grew frustrated because no matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn't sound good/right to me. Also having to play harmonics or outside the fingerboard was just silly to reach the right notes because you sacrifice tone.
My mother used to take us to the symphony when we were kids. The first time I heard
I thought of some tongue and cheek things to say in response to the question that I decided not to say :) Would have been funny though.
My parents sent me to recorder lesson with the neighbor upstairs when I was 6. Then they heard about a music school that subsidized lessons for low income kids (my parents income was just above the cut off of course...) and decided to send me there. The rule was that every kid had to take solfeggi classes (in groups) of at least a year before being found ready for a "real" instrument (recorder not being real). That gave everyone time to select an instrument. I selected the violin because I liked its sound. They told me it was difficult and for some reason that also appealed to me.
My parents could not afford piano 8-;
I'm the weirdo who picked up the violin mainly because I wanted to play the viola.
When I was a very small child, my mom sang in local professional choirs, and conducted a university choir as a graduate student. Music was always in the house from the beginning (she and her sister both learned piano growing up and still play; some family members of former generations were committed and even professional musicians). We had a baby grand piano; my parents listened to all varieties of folk music, classic rock, contemporary choral repertoire on our stereo. I remember my mom studying the scores for Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium and Bach liturgical works; I was taken to her concerts. Bach has always been some vestige of Creation—the miracle of dissonances happening such to amplify those perfectly-placed bundles of sixteenth notes in contrapuntal passages; a spacing, a sonority, a cognitive, emotional implication that seems to intimate some design or thing beyond. One concert in particular I remember was an outdoor park concert with a symphony orchestra. Moreover than remembering the choir at that event, I was drawn as a two or three year old to the strings in the orchestra! As it was a symphony concert primarily, I think that a few pieces were orchestral without choir; the silvery continuity of the violins in the high register, all in unison in those late Romantic washes of color as in Dvorak or Smetana or Grieg or Brahms was so alluring to me. Since playing the violin was something mysterious and grown-up, I told my mom I wanted to be a violinist when I grew up. My mom started me on piano a few years after that, and when I was almost 6 we began Suzuki violin lessons. I am truly one of the most fortunate people on Earth, because the wish has been granted, the dream has been fulfilled—I'm now in my first year at a conservatory, but majoring in viola....
In the early days of TV, I became enamored with several violinists on our small black and white set. I particularly remember Florian Zabach, George Liberace (his brother who often showed up on his show), and Jack Benny/Gizelle McKenzie. In fifth grade our school secretary, who also,taught piano, had a violin that one of her kids had tried and given-up on, so my parents bought it for $25. I started taking lessons with Muriel Pfisterer, an Indiana Univ. graduate who. also taught accordian and piano. Mainly I remember how she chain-smoked through my lessons in the small studio in back of the Bringe & Wilsey music store in St. Pete, Fl.
I first saw Perlman on TV maybe in the 80s, and he was accompanied by a pianist, and they played two pieces, both fast, and Perlman seemed determined to arrive at the end of each piece at least half a bar before the accompaniment. Maybe the accompanist was just slow. Anyway, I didn't immediately latch on to the empty virtuosity of it - Perlman seemed immature to me and less musical than I wanted.
My dad played. He had played as a kid and played some in his college orchestra (back of the seconds, he said). By the time I came along he wasn't playing much, but he pulled it out, or played the piano, occasionally, and good music was a big part of our household. I knew he had two violins--the one he played then and the one he had used as a kid. One day in 5th grade, there was an announcement on the loudspeaker at school, asking anyone interested in playing a stringed instrument to come to room whatever. My best friend Janet, whose uncle also played the violin, and I looked at each other, and we got up and went. The rest is history LOL! She was VERY talented--I was not. She went on to a pro career and eventually moved back to town. She is now my usual partner for all cultural activities (concerts, plays, operas).
My family origins include a line of musicians from late 19th cen. Eastern Europe (the family name was Musicant) who played for itinerant theatre companies common in the summer in those times. We have professional musicians in the family still, but alas I am not one of them. According to my mother, at age seven I returned from school and inexplicably asked to play the violin. I started on my uncle’s Markneukirchen violin (I wish I still had it) I took lessons as a child, but only restarted a few years ago. My motivation comes from a love of music, family tradition, and the incredible challenge of learning this amazing instrument.
I heard a violinist when I was a child and I felt that some part of my psyche broke a little and could not be repaired unless I was able to play the violin as well.
Thank you everyone for sharing your stories!!!! I just loved reading through the responses.
It was in the corner of my grandfather’s house in Tokyo and he let me have it along with some original Suzuki and Zennon materials. We walked down to the nisghborhood shop to get some new strings. He gave me my first lessons on that visit and my first practice recordings were those floppy plastic records.
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto is to blame. I wasn't that much of a fan of classical music, although I always knew and felt there was something special about the violin. Even without listening to classical music at all, the violin always attracted me.
I started playing guitar, but the strings didn't cost enough so I couldn't help feeling that it was "cheap." Then I discovered the violin and soon learned how expensive the strings were, and right then and there I knew violin was for me.
I first started drums lessons at 5 months old, learning what all these tempo, forte, rhythm, fortissimo, col legno, pizzicato words meant. My mom was not that happy about this but she supported me by buying me an organic drum set. After 9 months of lessons I though:
I play viola, and the two reasons I started were extremely practical. I had originally played trumpet at age 9, but I got braces and it wasn't going so well after that. Then, I had juvenile arthritis (autoimmune disease) that affected my legs and neck primarily and my doctor wanted me to use my hands very actively to try to keep them healthy. I was 13 years old at this point -- kind of late to start violin -- so I went with viola instead.
My 5th grade school required music classes for every student. Band didn't appeal to me. The violin was the cheapest to rent of all the orchestra instruments.
I was too young to know that it was impossible. Nice trick mom...
My parents had my grandfather-made broken fiddle in a closet for decades. As I turned 50, one day I picked it up, curious of what it might sound like; got it fixed cheaply to a playable state by a sympathetic luthier and tried it. I learned on my own for a short while, enough to play a few simple folk tunes and decided to stick with it and take lessons. I eventually got into classical, which structured approach felt more suited to me. I still have my grandfather's fiddle but long since replaced it with a "real" violin. My grandfather was more the carpenter type, and his fiddle more closely related to a 2x6 with a stick and strings attached, but it did make noise nonetheless! It would be best described as the folk art version of a fiddle ;-)
I had very little music education when I was young. I was told that my fingers were too short, so don't bother with piano (or anything else). Plus there is no money in the family for this. It wasn't too bad. I was not too interested in playing a musical instrument, and grew up only listen to music as a form for blocking background noise.
Why did I pick up a violin?
A friend moved into a new house and the electric stove was shot. We were switching to gas so I gave him our old stove. In return he gave me an old violin. I was already playing mandolin so I knew where the notes were.
Seventh Grade, Jr. High back then, the newly elected school board of my up-scaling hometown decided that Arts and Music would be taught five days a week. While the art teacher way overjoyed, the music teacher had to deal with is once-a-week lesson plan where he had bored thousands of students for years. He had a genius idea - part of the class was the standard lesson followed by the major event - over the course of two years all of us would have to attempt to play a scale on every instrument in the orchestra. It was actually fun and leveling. The kid who kicked it off, a trumpet player who was already taking lessons made us all feel pretty bad but we all tried. The next instrument up was an Oboe (accompanied by a huge box of reeds) and Mr. Trumpet only managed to imitate the sound of someone strangling a goose. We worked our way through and one day I got to hold a violin. I had paid attention to the teacher's advice to all before me and I didn't squeak or scratch - I wanted to play this. I asked my parents if I could learn the violin. My father, with his usual style, said "sure, as long as you can pay for it..." That ended the conversation and the dream, until...
In third grade we had to pick our instruments, I couldn't make a sound with trumpet, clarinet, flute, nor did I like the drums. That left me with the violin or cello (essentially), and I chose the violin because it was smaller and yet more grandiose and vibrant. Sometimes I wish I had picked the cello, I wonder if it would have been easier learning...
I loved the violin, from my childhood, from 3 years of age. And I still in love with violin and everything around. Woman playing the violin is the most attractive for me :) (And yes, my wife plays violin:)). And I hope my daughter will start soon (she is 2 years), but just if she will want to :)
On TV (BBC2, I think) circa 1970 I recall seeing Ruggiero Ricci playing all 24 Paganini caprices. I already played the clarinet, but seeing Ricci play the caprices gave me a severe case of “violin envy”. I bought a tatty old violin+bow for £15 from my clarinet teacher, and I gradually switched from clarinet to violin over the course of the following year. This was helped along by the fact that I bet someone that I could get to violin grade 5 in a year. It’s been violin ever since, apart from some very long interruptions due to job constraints, years spent relearning how to play the violin, and several orders of magnitude price increase in the cost of my violin(s)+bow(s).