Today I performed two Bach pieces. My brother-in-law afterwards told me that "my violin sounds like a really expensive one". I took it as a compliment :-) It would be fun to hear about funny compliments you have received once!
I've got 2.
"I know nothing about music, but you looked really good!"
In my 20s, after playing a violin solo at church: “That was really good – you should consider becoming a professional musician.“
"If I could play like you, I would practice ALL the time!"
After a community orchestra concert in which I had a big principal viola solo: "You played the cello solo beautifully."
First rehearsal with a community orchestra I had just joined, at age 30. Sitting inside, I played a lower line without being prompted, and wrote a fingering in under the staff as per convention. My 89-year-old stand partner: "You must be vastly experienced in orchestras for your age."
“What a beast you are!! I can’t do that!! I don’t want to imagine the score for that!!”
Some 7-8 years ago, i recorded a piece of solo violin of an north-italian traditional dance music, which needs to ben strongly dynamic and characterized, as usually it needs to be.
Andrew, you write about somebody complimenting you on your "'cello solo".
About 6 years ago, after a show, "you appear to be somewhat proficient on the fiddle."
I once complimented a friend's singing by telling him he made it sound difficult.
I have a couple!
Is it just me, or do some of these sound more like backhanded compliments than anything else?
We had a client looking for an investment instrument. She is a fine player and she and her husband had 500k that would be matched by a donor for long term loan and investment. We had 2 Strads, both with issues (this was 1995, so it was possible...), a Guad, a lovely Storioni and a couple of others. The man I was learning from, violin making after school, let me loose with them to look and learn. after playing all of them, Mike said,"Boy, you sure have a knack for making everything sound the same"!
I'm not proud of this one, but back in the day in community orchestra, we had a high school senior play a really great Sibelius, and she had a little hitch during the cadenza and a little memory slip, but got back on track and finished out strong. She was a very good player, the performance was great, and I doubt the audience even noticed. Instead of just complimenting her on a great performance, I was sure (projection) that she would have focused completely on the slip (projection) and I said something like, "Wow, I was really impressed by how you got right back on track after that slip". So, if anyone is curious about what NOT to say, that would be a candidate.
Then there is the standard one, "What a lovely performance. What do you do for a living?"
Aged 11 high school?
@Xuanyuan, high school (secondary school) starts at age 11 for most children in the UK. We start year 7 at this age.
Of course there is the old Heifetz retort ... someone said to him, "Your violin sounds so beautiful," so he held it up to his ear and said, "That's funny. I don't hear anything."
I'm not sure whether this comes under the heading of “funny compliments”, but here goes. This happened a long time ago when I was having classical guitar lessons from a teacher who was also the proprietor of an up-market classical guitar store down town.
My mother (a pianist/Organist) when she was still in secondary school was practicing when a teacher walked in, and said “that’s lovely dear. What is it?”
May I add one as a beginner? I was into my 4th month of lessons. One day my sister approached me after I finished my daily practice, and said "You're improving a lot! I can hear actual /notes/ coming out of your violin now."
I took it as a compliment when my cats stopped hissing and running under the bed every time the violin came out.
Years ago I recall reading an anecdote about Johannes Brahms. He was in the audience for a performance of one of his chamber music compositions. At the conclusion of the performance, one of the musicians (I think it was the violist), in an apparent attempt to "butter up" the composer, asked him, "Maestro, did you like our tempo." Brahms (who was not always any easy person to deal with) replied, "Yes, especially yours."