FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Meet “HeadCheese” from Fiddlerman’s “Fiddle Talk” forum
sp_BlogLink Read the original blog post
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 21, 2011 - 8:55 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11706

Image Enlarger

If you like, please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
The hardest part about questions like this is not so much what to tell as much as what to leave out. I'll try to just hit the highlight reel.
I was born on December 8, 1968 in Gretna, Louisiana. Spending my early years on the West Bank of the Mississippi in the shadow of New Orleans, I cut my teeth on the dichotomy of gentility amidst the seedier booze-fueled reputation for which the Crescent City is famous. We later moved to North Texas, where the culture-shock of slow-paced country life as well as the do-for-yourself, self-sufficient mentality charmed and challenged us. Though the city eventually caught back up with us, we never looked back and have been here ever since.

My near-fatal dance with dural and transverse sigmoid thrombosis in 1998 (another story for another day) was the impetus to finally get started on a family after dragging my feet and making an endless litany of excuses to my wife for the first ten years of our marriage. We now have two boys, aged 13 and 11.

I have always had an insatiable desire to know how things work, how things are done, and more importantly, how to do them myself. Consequently, my list of hobbies and interests is as long as the stacks at the library (and now internet) and my funds will allow. I won't list them all here; but if it was ever in a Foxfire book or could be ordered from a Mother Earth News catalog, chances are I've done it.  (But for a single example, there are six gallons of wheat beer on my kitchen table, almost ready to bottle. Believe me when I say my long-suffering wife will be glad when this latest batch is finished.)

Professionally-speaking, I've earned my keep as a Juggler, Voice-over talent, Actor, Writer – and for the last 25 years – Graphic Designer and Art Director. According to my boys, my second job – albeit a non-paying one – is as one of the senior students at North Texas Aikido, where I've trained for the last 21 years and currently hold the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt). If I'm not at home, work, or asleep, that's where you'll likely find me.

What made you decide to play the violin?
If you'll forgive me for pointing it out, you misspelled VIOLA. V-I-O-L-A. 😉
My oldest son decided he wanted to join the orchestra last year, and despite my attempts to influence his decision in favor of the Cello, chose Viola as his instrument of choice. After a year of "coaching from the sidelines" to encourage him to practice, I decided that perhaps the best way to get him focused on his own improvement – other than his private tutor – was for him to have to teach it to someone else. I know that I learn best by sharing what I know, and hoped he would have the same results with me. The jury is still out on this one, and I'm usually the more eager to play of the two of us.

How long have you been playing the violin?
Violin? Approximately 20 minutes total, after replacing the broken strings on Son #2's hand-me-down violin earlier today. I scratched my way through a few scales on that tiny little fingerboard…
If you're willing to expand the question to Viola, I've been working on learning how to play for about a month, now. My adventures in getting my own Viola to play are well-documented somewhere deep in the forums here at Fiddlerman.com

How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I try to practice every day, even if only for a few minutes. When my schedule allows me to indulge myself, I'll literally lose hours in playing the same scale or tune over and over again until I ache, trying to make it sound more like music than a goose being tortured. It is, however, still goose-in-distress-like enough to make my wife find some errand that needs running outside the home.

In your opinion, what's your proficiency on the violin?
Honestly, none at this point. Proficiency implies consistent, predictable (and desirable) results. I'm still all over the place with regards to intonation at this early stage in my training. I can play a few scales and simple tunes that are recognizable, if not entirely cringe-inducingly off-key. Hope springs eternal, however, and I have after all just started this journey.

Your greatest personal experience with playing?
The first time my son and I played through "O Little Town of Bethlehem" together, I had such a welling-up of pride and pleasure- the sort that perhaps only another parent could understand. It truly transcended any actual playing ability between us and became simply an intimate bonding experience between father and son. It was intoxicating. My goofy grin lasted all night.

What other instruments do you play?
I was a product of the school band program and played drums and percussion throughout my educational career. I've played and sung in any number of high-ambition, low-talent garage and semi-professional bands over the years in genres ranging from progressive jazz to heavy-metal. My first love, however, was guitar, and I have had a closet-full of acoustics and electrics that rotate in and out of favor with me. I also play or play at playing keyboards, bass, recorder, bamboo flute (occidental) and a stack of eastern and south-american hand percussion.

What does music mean to you?
Music has been an unrequited love for me in some ways, full of longing and desire, but rarely achieving the level of mature relationship I crave. This is due in large part to my relative inability to read music, I think. However, I turn to music as a form of catharsis, pouring out those things I can't adequately express verbally. The syncopation of drums let me express order and control juxtaposed against the gritty rawness of pent-up rage. But it's the melodic instruments that let me explore more complex emotions and exorcise them, lest they crash over and consume me. Everything I do, at every moment, has a soundtrack in my head; and music – be it internal or external – is the adhesive that binds my memories to me.

What or who has been your greatest influence?
As a Christian, my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ serves as a constant reminder to live a life in service to God and my fellow man. It is conversely both my highest calling and my greatest failing. I don't take credit for any of my abilities, any more than a clay pot takes credit for its design. I am alive today because of His grace, for a purpose I do not, and may never know.

What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long.
I'll quote from my answer to much the same question on Violaman.com:
Music is so emotionally evocative to me that I simply want to be competent enough to adequately express my emotion through the instrument.
My joy, my sorrow, my triumph or dismay – I want to be able to let it flow through my instrument in a way that draws the same response from the listener. The music is merely a pathway to that goal.
This is a tall order in light of how late I'm getting started and difficult the instrument is to play, much less master. But given a chance to make a wish with my viola, that is what I'd wish for.
In the short-term, I'd like to be able to play the same note twice in a row. I have at least managed to get my G (fourth finger on the C string) to match the tuning of the open G string about 80% of the time, when playing up to it. Going straight to the note … Not so much.

What type of violin training?
We have a few beginner books here at the house: Essential Elements 2000, Orchestra Essentials, and a Suzuki Method book or two, but for the most part, I've relied on the videos at Fiddlerman.com and Violaman.com to give me the mechanics of how to play. My son's teaching style consists mostly of pointing out when I'm doing something wrong. 😉

How do you warm up?
Sometimes I start with scales and sometimes I just jump into the music first and then go back to the scales as more of a cool-down. Now that Pierre has put up videos of all the major scales for viola, I find myself with my iPad on the music stand next to the sheet music, so I can play along to work on the intonation.

What is your favorite type of music?
This is as difficult a question as asking which is my favorite child.
Truth to tell, the only music I don't prefer to listen to is "gangster rap." Just about anything else will find a niche in my listening repertoire.

What is your favorite piece of music? Why?
In terms of Viola music, I absolutely love Bach's Prelude No.1 in G Major. Oh, how I would love to play that with the confidence and competence it deserves.

What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin?
I love training in and sharing Aikido with others. Being alone with my thoughts on a long motorcycle ride ranks pretty highly with me, as well. It's usually when I come up with most of my ideas for stories or designs for work.

Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.
My mother was a singer with the Sweet Adelines of New Orleans for years and has a lovely voice. She loved to sing to and for us as kids. My earliest memories are of her singing me to sleep in french.
My father makes up for his tone-deafness with enthusiasm and volume. Lots of volume…

 

Are you a member of any orchestra?
None that would have me.

Do you ever perform publicly?
I've been a performer in some way or another most of my life. However, with regards to my viola, it will be some time before it makes any sort of debut publicly. I have enough difficulty posting videos of my current progress as it is.

What do you work with?
(I'd love to see this question get clarified, unless it is deliberately left ambiguous like an ink-blot test.)
I work with words, mostly. Sometimes I string them together in short stories or prose, other times I illustrate them visually for clients looking to evoke a particular feel or emotion in an ad or printed piece. My medium is communication. Words are my paint on the canvas of the human mind.

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 have what I think is a non-standard Cecilio 16" CVA-400 Viola purchased through KK Music Store. I say "non-standard," because, unlike the official specifications for the instrument as being a matte oil finish, mine has a high-gloss varnish. Nevertheless, it has a label inside listing it as a CVA-400. I think it's really quite lovely for the price and as a beginner's instrument. When I develop the skills to be able to appreciate and take advantage of the difference, I intend to replace the strings with some of a higher quality.
My bow is the bow that came with the viola and is not notable for anything in particular, other than its serviceability and lack of expense.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
suresh
Tuticorin, India
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
November 21, 2011 - 11:43 am
Member Since: August 22, 2011
Forum Posts: 485
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Nicely 'painted'.  For a change, this interview could have been in an audio format.  I want to 'hear' it in your voice which would add 'color'  and 'flavour'.  Why don't you try it.  Thank you very much.

 

P.S.  I like the clay pot part.

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

Avatar
Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
Members

Regulars
November 21, 2011 - 1:48 pm
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oho! Good-written story, HeadCheese!! Very nice to meet you! I always liked Aikido when was a child, but the only martial Arts we had that time was Kioku Syn Kai (i doubt that i wrote it rightduncecap). So i,ve attended it for several years, but our teachers disappeared somewhere all the time so we had to start from the very beginning with a new one. No belts frown...

Avatar
SaraO
Michigan
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
November 21, 2011 - 2:14 pm
Member Since: August 11, 2011
Forum Posts: 556
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Great to learn more about you, HC. Thanks for the wonderful interview!

Avatar
Sofia Leo
Lebanon, Oregon
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
November 21, 2011 - 5:39 pm
Member Since: April 6, 2011
Forum Posts: 464
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Ah, you are a poet! smile I second suresh - audio would be a treat. You paint a lovely picture of who you are. Thank you!

Avatar
Robyn.fnq
Queensland, Australia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
November 21, 2011 - 8:20 pm
Member Since: July 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 577
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thank you Head Cheese ... you've painted a lovely portrait of yourself.  It's no wonder your work is in words, you have a gift.  Here's hoping that gift extends to the viola ... did I spell that right?

roflol

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

Avatar
HeadCheese
Plano, Texas
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
November 21, 2011 - 9:00 pm
Member Since: September 17, 2011
Forum Posts: 517
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I find it interesting that some of you want to hear a verbal interview, even after the fact. At this point, all I'd be doing is reading my answers. I can do that if you really want, but it would lose any sense of candor and sound more like a performance.

Mad: do you still train in any martial art? I've never heard of the one you mentioned, but will look it up to find out more.

Robyn: you spelled it just right. 😉 Much as I wish I had a gift with the viola, I suspect I'm going to have to pay, if I want to play.

Thank you all for the kind words.

Avatar
myguitarnow
Laguna Beach
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
November 22, 2011 - 1:20 am
Member Since: June 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1094
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I knew it, I knew it and again I knew it! Based on your username some may think of a pig head or sheep head or another animal head rotting in a barrel waiting to turn to cheese….

You are a very creative writer HC! jimi-hendrix

Avatar
Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
Members

Regulars
November 22, 2011 - 10:03 am
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

HeadCheese said:

I find it interesting that some of you want to hear a verbal interview, even after the fact. At this point, all I'd be doing is reading my answers. I can do that if you really want, but it would lose any sense of candor and sound more like a performance.

Yep! I'd love to hear that ! smile Let it sound like..mmm.. like it can sound!

Mad: do you still train in any martial art? I've never heard of the one you mentioned, but will look it up to find out more.

Unfortunately no. We have martial arts courses for children and teenagers mostly, courses for adults are expensive embarassed

Maybe i wrote it wrong but i dont know how it spells duncecap, sorry.

Avatar
Chinny
Perth
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
November 22, 2011 - 11:14 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 367
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

YAY for our viola player hahahaha epic photo btw!!

Avatar
BCShalom
Seattle, WA
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
November 22, 2011 - 11:20 am
Member Since: October 27, 2011
Forum Posts: 186
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

What is your motorcycle?  I have a 2000 Sportster and a 2011 Wide glide.  Ever make it to Texas we will have to go on a long ride together.  Of course any place in Texas is a long ride, right?  I like to motor camp.  I should have gotten a Dresser so I could pull a pop up trailer with kitchen dining room, family room and Jacuzzi!  Oh and Music room.

 

Shalom Shalom

   

Avatar
HeadCheese
Plano, Texas
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
November 22, 2011 - 12:58 pm
Member Since: September 17, 2011
Forum Posts: 517
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I have two bikes: a 2002 Honda ACE 750 and a 2006 Suzuki VStrom 650.

Avatar
m.k.
Advanced member
Members
November 22, 2011 - 8:59 pm
Member Since: November 20, 2011
Forum Posts: 50
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

It's nice getting to know more about you. You seem to have had a very exciting life so far haha :). And the viola is a beautiful instrument despite all the jokes against it in the jokes thread wink. If I started over, I think I would have a difficult time deciding between the violin or viola.

Avatar
BCShalom
Seattle, WA
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
November 23, 2011 - 12:32 am
Member Since: October 27, 2011
Forum Posts: 186
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

MK, why not do both?

 

Just a thought.

 

Shalom Shalom

Avatar
m.k.
Advanced member
Members
November 23, 2011 - 1:46 am
Member Since: November 20, 2011
Forum Posts: 50
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

BCShalom said:

MK, why not do both?

 

Just a thought.

 

Shalom Shalom

Honestly, If I had all the time in the world and infinite money then I'd try to learn every single instrument. Unfortunately I'm a full time student which means I have to devote the majority of my time to my studies and happen to be extremely poor haha. I'm already trying to save up to buy a cheap silent violin so I can practice in my dorm.

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 23, 2011 - 9:47 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11706
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I kind of agree with learning one at a time. It's kind of like learning a language. The techniques are so similar that you can actually damage intonation in the beginning by having to memorize different intervals. Once you learn the fiddle you can buy a viola and start doing that too if you so desire.

birthday_balloon

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
BCShalom
Seattle, WA
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
November 23, 2011 - 1:33 pm
Member Since: October 27, 2011
Forum Posts: 186
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I didn't realize that there would be a difference in playing the Viola and the Violin.

I will have to go to Violaman and check it out.  Thanks FM.

 

Shalom Shalom facepalm

Avatar
gStretch
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
November 23, 2011 - 5:51 pm
Member Since: August 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 260
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
18sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

great interview!

you certainly have a way with words.

nice to meet you! 🙂

-g

ps. go clay pots!

Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online: BillyG
29 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming HeadCheese, Mad_Wed, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3556

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6443

Posts: 80363

Newest Members:

FerSZ, elaine a, Mukundan, MyMing, dbsimon, stirlingite771

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11706, KindaScratchy: 1651