Returning to the violin

Life is moving on in a good way. Things are happening. Nice things. Things that don’t cause anxiety or stress. That makes a lovely change.

What are some of these things?

The big one has been returning to the violin.

This is overcoming a long held regret and disappointment. I learned the violin as a child right through school. In fact I had reached the same level on the violin as the piano by the time I finished Year 12. I was better than average. I chose the piano for my music degree. I can’t remember the reason I gave at the time but looking back it was fear. The piano is safe. The keys are there in front of you. The violin has (for me anyway) a greater margin for error. You have to make the note. You have to play in tune. It’s a constant challenge of tiny, tiny movements and placement. I continued playing the violin until I was 25. I taught it as a job for a couple of years. And then in my mid 20s I started getting headaches and shoulder pain which culminated in the great neck-locking incident of 1999 when I woke up one morning and couldn’t move my head to either side. I was playing with a bad set-up combined with a lot of tension. After much physiotherapy and exercises I got to a point where I could play the violin for short bursts but I was always worrying about pain and tension. I now know that injuries are an extremely common problem for musicians but at the time I thought it was just me. I can remember towards the end of my physio appointments coming home and just feeling sad that I would probably never play to any decent level or standard again. And for the last 10 years, fear, work, study, piano and other things made me time poor and lacking in motivation to do anything about this.

Then just before Christmas I chatted with a violin teacher here who did all his learning as an adult. I was inspired. Could there be hope for me to return to the violin? I decided there was and took the plunge. I started playing a little bit everyday. I found an encouraging and sympathetic teacher. I joined a chamber music group here in town and sat myself in the 2nd violins. I loved it. I play every day at the moment for about 30 minutes as I build up my stamina and strength and work on technical issues. I have started correcting both left and right hand technique. Last week I took my good German violin to the violin doctor in Brisbane as it needed a new bridge and a looking over after 15 years of near neglect. I bought a better bow and a second instrument to play on in the meantime. I think about playing all the time. It’s the best thing I have done so far. Here’s one of my many favourite things:

PS. I have loved Itzhak Perlman ever since watching this as a small child.

It’s a lesson worth remembering.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Returning to the violin”

  1. 2paw says:

    Oh, what a lovely second clip, that is just wonderful. How great that you can play your violin again. Your extra wisdom with balance out your muscles!!!

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