The violin search comes to an end

Yes, I am a blogging slacker. A great big one. How big? Well, I’m writing this while I’m getting my hair done (yay mobile apps!). So yes, I owe you the rest of the story.

Things got pretty complicated, and dramatic a couple of weeks ago. To say I was frustrated was an understatement. So frustrated that I sat on the floor of my hotel’s bathroom sobbing one night while in savannah performing. No said this would be easy, but what happened was not anything I was prepared for. What happened? Well, in the end we figured out it was a communication issue, but it felt like anything but that while it was going on.

After the last post I decided which violin I wanted to buy. Really the choice was obvious. It was the best out of all of the violins I was looking at, and it was the only one that I could see that would really help me improve as a player. It is so easy to play, so responsive, and has such a clear sound I can really hear what I’m doing so that I can work towards getting better as a musician. So I let the seller know I was interested in purchasing it. Since it was someone I knew we were trying to work on a deal to make the purchase happen. So, I went off to Savannah to perform while trying to figure out how to make it work. It is a lot of money to buy this particular violin, and I got pretty stressed out about the financial bit. It came down to either buying a violin or continuing weekly lessons. As a musician I know that you never truly stop learning. The moment you stop listening to what you’re doing so that you can continue to improve is the second everything goes south. No instrument can guarantee improvement. For me I needed a violin that could give me accurate feedback to continue improving. When I told the seller that he wasn’t happy. Apparently reading my e-mail incorrectly he withdrew his offer to sell the violin if I couldn’t continue lessons. Even after talking to him I couldn’t understand the problem when I agreed with what he was saying. I was frustrated, mad, and ready to walk away from all of it.

After a phone call with my parents we came up with a plan, and presented it to the seller after I got back. I was so nervous! Mostly because I was so confused and upset. Turns out everyone was on the same page after all. So, with a loan from my parents I bought the violin. I love it! I feel like it was made for me. I can hear where I need to work, and while I can’t afford to take as many lessons I still want to when I have a little extra money.

Lots of other things have been going on too. I’ll save those for other post. There are new audition opportunities, new running adventures, and other craziness on the horizon.

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.

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 🙂