The violin search: thoughts

A lot of people have had opinions about this violin search. Most of my close friends have been supportive, and understand. I’ve known for several years that I’ve needed to buy a new violin. While I was continuing to improve on the one my parents bought so long ago I had reached the point where it couldn’t give any more. That was three years ago. I was fortunate that my teacher had an extra violin that wasn’t being used, and he loaned it to me. I started getting better, significantly so in the past 10 months. I knew that I needed to start saving, but I also had a mountain of student loan, and credit card debt. I came up with a plan to attack the debt. My teacher continued to encourage me to try to save towards a violin.

Back in March my students loans were finally paid off thanks to some help from my parents. Finally I felt like I could start saving towards the one thing I needed, a violin. The violin I have been borrowing hasn’t been able to keep pace with what I need anymore. For years I’ve been talking about saving with my mom, and finally I could. I idea that I wouldn’t feel stuck anymore was a relief. I’ve felt stuck in one place during my lessons for several months. Trying to do what I need to continue to improve, but struggling against a violin and my own frustration. I couldn’t get what I wanted from the violin. And then an extraordinary opportunity became available. So, I started looking at violins. One of which gave me hope that I would no longer be stuck, and could continue moving forward in my career, and practice. The more I talked to my parents about it the more frustrated I became. The violins sounded nice according to my mom, but my dad just thought they all sounded like noise. My mom continued to ask why I had to buy something. Couldn’t I just keep borrowing the same violin? The thing about borrowing something is that eventually the person wants the item back. I’ve borrowed this violin for over 2 years now. I need my own violin.

My head keeps spinning. One minute I know what to do, and then the next I once again feel like I’m disappointing people by making a decision they (my mom) may not approve of. I know that ultimately it is my choice. I’ve talked for years about how this needs to happen. She has acknowledged it too. Sometimes decisions come with risk, but I don’t know if I can ignore this opportunity, especially one that could help me so much. So, once again my head is spinning. Fortunately a friend has kindly offered to listen to the violins, and give some feedback.

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Violin Search: comparing

I think one of the hardest things about this whole process is both remembering what a violin sounds like, and how it compares to the others. So, I thought I would do something fun. It started as a way that I would hear what each violin sounded like from a different vantage point, and then I thought how often I get asked to put recordings on the blog. So, here they are! All the recordings are of the same piece, the Adagio movement of the a minor sonata for solo violin by J. S. Bach.

Recoding 1: current violin

recording 2: violin 1

recording 3: violin 2

recording 4: violin 3

Yes, I’m playing all of those notes! At the same time! Take a listen, and see what you think. I’m also including the violin I currently playing. I definitely have a favorite violin out of the group, but I’ve mixed them up, and hidden their identities to protect the innocent 🙂

The Violin Search: Getting Serious

Last week was interesting. I have to admit that I was not in the best mood for most of it. Everything just seemed to go wrong. I took a little trip up to Winder, GA, which ended up being a lot further than I thought. An hour drive each way! At least I got to look at 5 violins. I’m not sure how I thought searching for a new violin would go, but I wasn’t overly impressed with what I was trying, which included “the most amazing violin.” One problem with the most amazing violin. We aren’t sure that it is what it says that it is. There are still tons of people trying to make some money by putting fake labels on instruments that are not as good. A maker’s name is everything, and can raise prices. It’s priced kind of low for the maker it claims, and I have to admit that after bringing it home and playing on it a bit, I don’t really think it’s the most amazing violin. It’s okay. The other one I brought home is better, but with both of them I feel like something is missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but both are just one-dimensional. They are both bright, and that’s kind of it. Yes, the sound might mellow a bit as they open up, but I’m not all that interested in finding out.  They aren’t “the one.”

There is a violin that I keep thinking about. Every time I’ve been able to play it, and that’s twice now, I just get really happy. It’s so easy to play right out of the starting gate, and it has a beautiful sound. It’s a sound that I want to hear more, and discover what it can do. I’m curious about what the violin will sound like once it opens up, and even more interesting I don’t feel “stuck” anymore when I play it. I can get the phrases I want when I play it without having to over play. I don’t have to press my fingers down hard, and things like vibrato are much easier, as they should be. I feel like when I play this violin everything just clicks. Extra bonus, it’s pretty too. I got to borrow it this week to practice with, and see what happens as it opens up, and how we might interact with each other. It’s a big violin in terms of sound. It doesn’t like being pushed around. It is definitely a big girl violin. I have the feeling I’m going to do a lot of growing up this week.

Isn’t it pretty? The top plate is pine. You can just tell it’s going to age well 🙂