Meet “SaraO” from Fiddlerman’s “Fiddle Talk” forum

Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
My name is Sara and I’m 36 years old. I’ve lived my entire life in southwest Michigan. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 13 years and have three beautiful and entertaining children.

What made you decide to play the violin?
When I was in second grade, my school began a string program. I remember bringing the letter home from school and showing it to my mom. I seem to remember being interested in playing the cello, but not wanting to have to carry a larger instrument around.

How long have you been playing the violin?
Well, I’ve owned or rented a violin since I was seven years old, but my instrument sat in a closet for most of the last eighteen to nineteen years. I’ve actually been playing for about nine or ten years total, but I only started playing again in August of this year, so I’m still pretty rough around the edges. See, I bet you thought that was a simple question.

How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I play about six days a week. I like to play for about an hour, but often play for only a half hour, or whatever time I can spare while dinner is cooking, or daddy is reading a bedtime story to the kids.

In your opinion, what's your proficiency on the violin?
Rough-intermediate. That’s a real term, right?

Your greatest personal experience with playing?
When I was in high school, the youth orchestra I played with put on a side-by-side concert with our local professional orchestra. I was able to play the first violin part of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture along with the professionals. It was really a thrill. If you’re not familiar with the piece, I suggest checking it out on youtube. It’s really a fun piece.

If any, what other instruments do you play?
I studied music education in college for a time, so I dabbled with lots of instruments. My main instrument was voice (soprano), but music ed majors also had to play some piano and learn the basics on classroom and band instruments. So I played ukulele, auto harp, recorder, guitar, flute, and cello.

What does music mean to you?
Music is simply a part of me. I used to think all people were like this. For example, I was in a public restroom with two of the kids today, and the six year old started tapping on the hand dryer. Something inside the dryer was resonating. My four year old said it sounded like a guitar string. Anyway, I asked the six year old to keep tapping on the dryer while we sang Little Drummer Boy. This is normal, right? Don’t worry, there was no one else in the bathroom.

What or who has been your greatest influence?
Probably my Dad.

What are your goals for playing violin? short and long.
I’m not sure. Besides staying one step ahead of my violin student, I’m not sure what my goals are.

What type of violin training?
I started with group violin class in elementary school using Suzuki books, but not necessarily Suzuki method. I also had several years of private lessons, although I hardly practiced. Sorry, Mom and Dad.

How do you warm up?
Scales and etudes.

What is your favorite type of music?
I honestly enjoy most types of music. As long as there are no offensive lyrics, I’ll give it a try.

What is your favorite piece of music? Why?
My favorite piece is probably Schumann’s Widmung. A dear friend sang it at my wedding.

What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin?
I love to knit and read.

Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.
My Dad is a very musical person. He plays piano by ear, and he is particularly fond of big band music. He is also a barbershop singer.

Are you a member of any orchestra?
Nope.

Do you ever perform publicly?
Not in recent years.

What do you work with?
My husband and I own and manage a small house that we rent out for vacation rentals. We live in a quiet beach community about 90 minutes from Chicago. It keeps us quite busy in the summer.
I also work part time in my husband’s office filing, doing payroll, and other basic office work.
In addition to the paying gigs, I homeschool the children. We zig zag around the community assuring they have a well-rounded education.

If you don't mind, please share with us information about your violin and bow and if you have several please tell us about them as well.
I own the same violin that my parents bought for me when I was twelve or thirteen. It is a simple German student instrument. The maker is Seidel, I believe.
A month or so ago I bought a great carbon fiber bow to replace my old one. I got it on ebay from a shop in China.
I actually just bought a new (to me) violin a few days ago off of ebay. I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival. It is made by Gotz. I’m hoping it will have a better sound than my old violin. If not, I’ll pass it along to someone else.

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