Violin dreams

January 10, 2020, 2:41 AM · Last night's was fairly typical. The auditorium was packed as the four of us got out of our seats, ascended the platform and started to arrange our stands. This was when I discovered that the case I'd brought with me was actually a briefcase. Fortunately the first violin (a regular old desk partner, always tall and now grown to about 8') said he had a spare violin. I didn't get so far as to discover whether he had a spare bow and shoulder rest.

Remarkably, even on those rare nights when I've actually located my violin, my music and the concert hall, I've never got to play a single note. This is probably just as well because I'm always completely unrehearsed.

Replies (28)

January 10, 2020, 5:18 PM · I haven't had one exactly like that, but I did have a viola dream last night - I was carrying my instrument out of its case, and ended up dropping it. It tumbled down a ramp and into someone's garden, and the pegs, bridge, end button, etc. all came apart. For the life of me I couldn't find all the pegs or the end button. Then I woke up! Phew...
Edited: January 10, 2020, 6:12 PM · Last weird dream I had was having 2 gigs with the same band at the same time, but I was late for one of the gigs.
I know it sounds wierd, and boy was it frustrating, cause I knew it was impossible, yet - it happened.
January 10, 2020, 8:18 PM · I tend to have the same violin-related nightmares over the years, in which the instrument is eaten by worms. Sigh.
January 13, 2020, 11:21 AM · There are some believes, that broken violin in a dream reflects the fear of a separation with someone who is very dare to you... )))
January 13, 2020, 11:25 AM · Mine are typically that my violin gets damaged somehow - either someone takes it from me and drops it, shattering it to so many pieces it is beyond repair yet I scramble to try to find a luthier who is willing to repair it anyway, or I take it out of its case to play and it falls apart in my hands. In my dreams, these events typically are associated with me having to get somewhere with my violin - a lesson, a performance (that I'm also unprepared for), etc.
January 13, 2020, 2:41 PM · I have a bunch of recurrent dreams involving a satanic cult around my violin, a bug on me that i don't remember how it goes but it somewhat like the centipede in matrix, that's tries to don't allow me to practice and a lot of magic things, something like harry potter but instead of wands, using violin bows, also some kind of contact with the Devil, sometimes it's my violin getting alive and others the cult and the devil melt in one evil entity that haunts me. These are very realistic, and it may be real and i sold mi soul to the devil like paganini, but for now i can't play like him so 1 of 2: or he scammed me or it's fake.
January 14, 2020, 2:24 PM · ^ Yikes!
January 14, 2020, 2:35 PM · Ha Santiago - what are you eating before bed?!
January 14, 2020, 4:50 PM · I tend to have the same nightmare: that my violin WASN'T eaten by worms.
Edited: January 17, 2020, 4:31 AM · To be improved by the vision of dropping a viola down the stairs...

Very occasionally, I had anxiety nightmares about inadvertently discarding or destroying the nice instrument my grandfather left me. Wood stove, that sort of thing.
It was the kind of situation where it wasn't obvious to anyone else, because I could always play something else. But eventually, I would need to put my hands on it and I couldn't-- all the while half-remembering that I had done this stupid thing out of spite, recklessness, or carelessness.

January 15, 2020, 2:29 AM · That's what I'm talking about! If only Sigmund had asked the Vienna Phil, would he have concocted all that **** about sex?
January 15, 2020, 4:00 PM · I'm eating like usual before bed, but for the last 2 weeks i've been having nightwares (don't know if i spelled the verb right) and i don't know why.
January 15, 2020, 10:57 PM · Interesting. I've had many dreams about graduation anxiety, and my main hobby is learning foreign languages, and I have often had dreams about them or "in them" (i.e. struggling with them or pretending to be in them), but I haven't yet had a violin dream. I guess that will come.
January 16, 2020, 4:08 AM · same here, I am a real violin enthusiast, and generally have vivid dreams, but somehow never dream (at least as I can know about) violin-related.
Edited: January 16, 2020, 9:42 AM · One of the music magazines a few years back mentioned this very topic...and so this is my recurring nightmare that I shared then:

After checking my reflection in the bright lights of the dressing room mirror, I retune. I didn't particularly need to, but I figured I should check the strings before going onstage for 40 minutes. A-D, D-G, A-E. Yup, all good. I start the first movement of the Tchaikovsky, jump to the sixths in the cadenza, begin the third movement, and run through the final scale at half tempo. I felt good, the instrument sounded resonant, and I was looking forward to launching into Mr. Tchaikovsky's Opus 35 again. A knock at the door: "Five minutes...five minutes. Overture's almost through." I follow the portly man to the stage door, and smooth out my sweaty palms on the ebony Klein dress pants. The familiar feeling of adrenaline started to pulse through me, and I plucked the strings absent-mindedly, hoping the finger slip I had with the concerto in California wouldn't return tonight. How many times had I played the Tchaikovsky now? A lot - I had no reason to be nervous...yet, those demons occasionally come back. A board member approaches me, and gives a little smile. "We are so excited for tonight! Isn't the orchestra fun?" "Yes," I respond politely, "I can't wait to be onstage with them again." "Well, we can't wait, either," she enthuses. "Everyone here LOVES the Bartok 2nd concerto."

Excuse me? Bartok? With the jagged, rapid passagework, memory minefields, quarter tones, and approximately 3 minutes until I go onstage? The Bartok, after I've been working up the Tchaikovsky for the last two weeks? I would be digging my own grave onstage in front of a thousand people...

Then I wake up in a cold sweat.

January 16, 2020, 10:05 AM · I recurrently arrive at an important performance having forgotten my music, my violin, or having complete unfamiliarity with some technically challenging repertoire I am supposed to perform, which I will have zero chance of sightreading adequately.
January 16, 2020, 10:19 AM · They closely parallel my reoccurring calculus exam dream: I have missed most orchestra rehearsals and haven't learned the music, but somehow attend the concert. The conductor glares at me. I plan to fake my way through the parts.
Edited: January 17, 2020, 9:07 AM · Music aside, I also have recurring nightmares about being in some highly public place while being, uhm, "inadequately clad".

Hope you-all can help me out with that. :-)

January 16, 2020, 2:07 PM · I think the standard solution is to imagine the audience members similarly clad.

I wouldn't worry too much about Freud. Sometimes a viola is just a viola.

As for practising the wrong piece, here's the ultimate.

Edited: January 17, 2020, 4:30 AM · I have twice seen a conductor make that mistake in an audition. In college, we were using the Beethoven Septet as a piece for final candidates-- one of whom had worked up the wind sextet instead. He asked for the score of one of the spectators just before starting. Decent job of going through, but when he tried to correct someone's articulations based on the (urtext) score, he had nothing to say when the cellist said her (old Peters) part said differently.

More recently, I was leading a group doing Mozart concertos that was also auditioning students to be music director the next three terms. Each candidate got 10 minutes to run part of the rehearsal. One of them was supposed to have prepped the 27th Concerto, which we were performing, but through some mistake had done another. So he sightread his section with everyone and started work on. He was easily the best of all the candidates, and ended up getting the post.

January 16, 2020, 2:50 PM · And I had a roommate once who had a variant of Andrew's and David's nightmare. This skinny guy of medium height was in the wings of an opera house being told he was about to go on to sing Tristan-- which he had only listened to on recordings.
Edited: January 17, 2020, 9:17 AM · Please forgive me if I have gotten this wrong, but my opinion is that that the arm-waver in front of an orchestra has much less to do with a good performance, than the skills of the orchestra players.
Edited: January 17, 2020, 6:56 PM · I'm at a party and suddenly Nick Nolte is DANGLING my violin over the balcony ledge, because someone played Dixie at him in a malicious manner. I'm screaming that I don't play Dixie but I may have played Ashokan Farewell, but Nolte is smouldering in his grave mood, and tossing my ax up and down in his hands 30 stories above the sidewalk..

No wait- now I remember- THAT is a movie, yes, "The Prince of Tides" and soooo SEC of Him somewhere.

January 17, 2020, 6:30 PM · Not a dream.
I was in an orchestra when one of my colleagues opened his violin case. And there it was - empty.
He'd been practising, and put his violin down on his piano, then obviously just closed his case and walked out with it.
I knew practice was dangerous.
January 17, 2020, 7:16 PM · I recently was reading about lucid dreaming where you know you are dreaming and can control it. I understand that this is not always good, and can be scary. However, the part that stood out to me was a small note of how athletes and such can practice movements and plans asleep. I would try to get good at lucid dreams, and practice in my sleep- with a piece I have memorized. Maybe I would get new incites, or even inspiration for a composition. To become more aware of my dreams, I have began to write a dream journal every morning- not much to do with music so far though.
January 18, 2020, 6:01 PM · I used to believe in lucid dreaming- not so much that I could control the dream, but that I could remember and interpret it somehow. Now decades later I found that when I had good recall, I often found that the dreamscape I was in was actually TWO places I knew over-lapped in the dream somehow. It was then I came to feel more that dreams are not that much about symbolism, but about the nuts and bolts of our mind- trying to resolve past tensions and emotions and recalling events only to dispose of them mostly- a resolution that had the mind perplexed somehow.

I've wondered if the "two frame overlap" effect somehow represents an imbalance between the sides of my brain- I've had several concussion injuries in my life, but I haven't reached any conclusions there. As I've gotten older, and suffered sleep apnea from several conditions, I consider myself fortunate if I even reach a dream level of sleeping- never as much as when I was young. I think others around us and in us, can and do often influence dreaming sometimes as well- and in my own case- it's never good. Anyway, that's as far as an attempt at introspection and dream interpretations ever got me.

January 23, 2020, 6:16 PM · I haven't been at this violin game long enough to have dreams about my (very real) inadequacies, but when I DO have one, I'll know that my mind (at least) has accepted that this is part of my life now. Oh, joy! :-)

I've had the "inadequately clothed" dreams for..., well, pretty much forever. I think I'd actually prefer the violin-related ones!

Edited: January 23, 2020, 11:35 PM · I don't seem to have violin related dreams, but I broke that rule a few nights ago when I dreamt that I was improvising a solo in a jazz tune (that I didn't recognize), and doing it brilliantly (so I know for sure I was dreaming), but the problem was that I was driving my car in heavy traffic at the same time, and I was stopped in a busy intersection but I couldn't maneuver out of it because, after all, I was playing my violin. I felt a strong sense that other drivers were angry with me too. Could it have been my subconscious telling me I need a driverless car?

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