• Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
My name is Terry Taylor, now 49 (where did those years go?) and will be 50 on June8, so Deb and me are celebrating by spending 2 weeks on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy, at the bottom of the Alps.
Have been living back in the UK since ’93. Prior to that, after qualifying in Engineering here in the UK and no job, I had had an offer of a job on a trial basis with Volkswagen South Africa, so off I went, 11000 miles with £100 in my pocket, a suitcase full of clothes, and a promise of a job for three months. What was I thinking of!?!
What a great few years that turned out to be. From being penniless in this miserable British climate, to living by the beach, loadsa money in my “sky rocket” (pocket), and a bunch of new immigrants like myself ready to take on the world. Well, the southern African continent anyway!!
• What made you decide to play the violin?
One way or another I have always been involved with music.
As a kid, I played bugle, fanfare trumpet, Bflat “wantap” trumpet and then snare drum in my local marching band. A few of my schoolmates lived in the surrounding streets so we would always be practicing together. The band (for a BoyScout band) was quite succesfull and we did a lot of competitions. More military style than the Pomp and Floss of American style marching bands.
Four of us were always chosen to play “Last Post” and “Reveille” in church for remembrance day service, and I’ll never forget the sound of our four bugles, spanking it in the middle of a huge church with the most amazing ecoustics I have ever come across. Brings a tear to me eye even now when I think about it.
(a shame Iphones and Vid.Cams weren’t around then, even in black and white, lol)
Oh yeah, I had a spell as a roadie for a local rock band as well in my late teens, that was a bit raucus and usually very messy, but great fun, looking back!
Since I lived in SA and living by the coast, I took up yacht racing, nothing too serious, and none of this round the world stuff (yet!!) and now back in the UK, I joined a local dinghy racing club who happen to have an off-shore/yacht section so we manage to go out a couple of times a year. Mainly Greece or UK south coast, racing around the Isle of Wight for those who know of it, but have done Ireland’s west coast, and around a few of the Scottish Isles. (most fantastic scenery, and hardly ever another boat in sight). Anyway, I digress, my sailing buddies are always carting around guitar cases when we sail, along with all our other normal sailing gear, and I couldn’t be borthered with all that.
Having sailed up the Irish Cost (from Dingle to Kenmare and area) we had some great nights moored up near little Irish villages and towns, who always seemed to have a group or live music of some description going at it. After too many pints of Guiness and the beat of the Irish music, and I knew exactly what instrument I wanted to play!!
I guessed that I’d need classical/formal lesssons first to give me a good foundation before delved into the Celtic rythmns!!
• How long have you been playing the violin?
I bought my Stentor Student II last June with some birthday money I was given, fondled it for 6 months before organising proper lessons late in December last year with Julie Doubleday, a great and inspiring teacher I was lucky to find who’s teaching style exactly matches my personality.
• How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I try and play every day. For as long as possible.
As it has been winter (a pretty dull and dreary time of cold darkness here in the UK), its been great to have an interest in which I could immerse myself. (which I have a habit of doing whenever I am into learning something, whether languages, which I love, or martial arts, or anything really.)
Every time I put it down, I think, I need to practice this or that some more, so off I go again!
• In your opinion, what’s your proficiency on the violin?
Then I look back at how bad I was when I started and it gives me renewed vigour to pick it up and crack on again.
I remember some karate students who were awful, absolutely awful, when they started (including me) but to watch them progress with time, passion, application and a good teacher is a great feeling, and now I feel I am back on that same journey.
• What or who has been your greatest influence?
My late father. A real “gentleman” in the British sense of the word, with a huge thirst for knowledge and also a great artist. His influence made me the type of guy who is prepared to question everything. To find out why something happens like it does. To understand the mechanics of something, in my opinion gives you greater ability to make it your own. Attributes I think could turn me into a really good violin player. I like to think I’m a good sailor and martial artist because of this ability to look deeper and I sure hope to transfer this process to my violin, though having patience is also not one of my strong points, being a proper Gemini!!
• What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long.
To get good, and then to get even better.
I’m miffed that I left it so late in life to find this passion for the violin, but then, I’m glad I found it now and not in 10 or 20 years time, so in that respect I feel like I have given myself a head start.
• What type of violin training?
Like learning languages and karate, I am used to boring repetition, and I try and use this same mind set when I practice my violin, knowing that once one becomes unconsciously competent, the whole world opens up.
• How do you warm up?
15 mile run, 200 push ups, 100 situps…..nah! just joking. Somedays I do scales and arpeggios, some days I just belt straight into it. Life is about variety.
• What is your favorite type of music?
I like all music with passion and power. Whether it be pan pipe-music from the Andes or Judas Priest at a zillion decibels. Alexei Arkhipovsky is my latest favourite thanks to Naska. I never thought a balalaika could be such an instrument!!
My CD and Iphone music collection usualy draws smiles (or ridicule!) from my friends due to its, shall we say, diversity!!
• What is your favorite piece of music? Why?
I have different favourites depending on my mood. I love Air on a G string and was chuffed when my teacher said I was going to learn it for my 1st to 3rd position introduction and practice. I could play it and listen to it all day, every day.
I also love “Dreamer” by Supertramp, but that is because it brings back memories of me riding around Africa on my motorcycle. I was out early one morning riding through the bush in Natal and there was a low lying mist on the road and surrounding countryside. It was just like my bike was riding through the clouds and that piece of music was coming through my earphones.
One of life’s special memories.
• What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin?
Cooking and Martial Arts. I love creating something that not only tastes good, but keeps you alive as well. I used to do a lot of business travel around Europe and Japan, and always tried to take my Karate gi (suit ) with me. Training was a great way to unwind, and it’s amazing how trying to beat the crap out of someone builds up such a good, long term friendshiop with them. Wierd. (When I eventually come to the USA, never been yet, I reckon me and ftutc will have to get it on!!)
• Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.
Not in the least. My brother used to play the Glockenspiel in the same marching band as me but thats it. A couple of uncles used to be singers, but I hardly ever knew them.
• Are you a member of any orchestra?
Not yet, But I hope to join one when I can if only for something to do during my retirement.
• Do you ever perform publicly?
Not since I was in the band. Oh, except some martial arts demonstrations but I’m not keen on those. Having said that, we did one for Prince Charles a few (quite a few) years ago. It was good to see the way a couple of his guards kept a close eye on us older participants.
• What do you work with?
gotta pinch Denny’s answer to this one! that was funny!
I’m in Aerospace, something to do with fuel control systems but I’m not sure how much of my job I am allowed to mention. (it beats listening to boring IT consultants talking about their job in the bar, lol!)
• Would you please share with us information about your violin and bow and if you have several please tell us about them as well.
As I said, I bought a Stentor Student II (Chinese origin) with my birthday money, and since, no, even before, I fitted D’Addario Zyex strings to it, I love it, I also use a more expensive, supposedly better version that I have borrowed, but to be honest, I prefer the tone of my own. Maybe mine feels “the love” and responds accordingly, haha.
I hope when I get good enough that I will be able to go to my local Luthier, pick up one of his expensive violins and think how much better it sounds than mine. Then better still, be able to afford it!!