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Meet “CatMcCall” from Fiddlerman’s “Fiddle Talk” forum
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 2, 2012 - 9:53 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

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Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
My name is Mary and I was born on April Fool's Day in Walla Walla, Washington. I've been told that I take myself a bit too seriously 😉 Grew up in Hood River, Oregon where my Mom still lives. I now live on the Central Oregon Coast with my wooden boat building/restoring partner of 10 years, two dogs, one cat who rules our world, and six angora rabbits.

What made you decide to play the violin?
I've always loved the sound of the violin but never gave playing much consideration as I have many, many hobbies and I thought it would be Too Hard. Every year at the Wooden Boat Show in nearby Toledo, Oregon, Kelly Thibadeaux (a fairly local pro fiddler) gives a free fiddle workshop, which I always listened to but did not participate in until 2010 when there was a man selling fiddles and other stringed instruments to benefit a children's music program at the show. The time seemed right to pick up the violin and Kelly promised that it was easy as pie (in his Southern drawl) and I could not resist.

How long have you been playing the violin?
1.5 years.

How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I pick up my fiddle several times a day, usually for about 10 minutes at a time. There are so many other chores and obligations in my life that finding time to practice for an hour or more at one time is pretty rare.

In your opinion, what's your proficiency on the violin?
Rough advanced beginner, I guess. At this point playing the songs I really love isn't quite within my reach, so I always feel like I'm striving, which can be frustrating.

Your greatest personal experience with playing?
The first time Twinkle sounded like a real song and I realized that maybe I could learn to play after all.

What other instruments do you play?
I played flute in the band through school, but didn't like it much, mostly because of the music selection.

What does music mean to you?
As others have said, it's the Universal Language and becoming fluent is one of my lifetime goals. That the violin comes closest to the human voice is icing on the cake, IMO. I want to give voice to my feelings and passion through the violin in ways that I just can't express in words.

What or who has been your greatest influence?
I took up the fiddle strictly for myself with no one cheering me on. Even the cat left the room for a couple of months after I started 😉 Lora at Red Desert Violins made my early attempts productive (this was before Fiddlerman) and encouraged me to keep going and keep growing as a fiddler. YouTube has proven to be a great inspiration - seeing all of the young, enthusiastic musicians posting videos with some awesome technique and creativity is a constant source of motivation. Watching the videos on Fiddlerman has been inspirational, too, as we have the opportunity to get to know each other and give encouragement and constructive (and non-threatening!) criticism in a totally supportive environment, which is HUGE for those of us who are a bit shy in person.

What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long.
Short term to get my left pinky into shape and in tune - I'm double jointed, so my fingers don't like to cooperate for certain things and it's been a challenge to train them into proper violin habits. Long term to play some of the songs that inspired me to take up the violin - Boccherini's tune at the end of Master and Commander, the theme from Last of the Mohicans, Snowdon's Jig by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Willie Taylor from Uncle Earl, and many Old Time fiddle tunes as well as some Blues.

What type of violin training?
7 months online with Loralyn Staples of Red Desert Violin. She teaches a modified Suzuki method to adult beginners and has been a great inspiration to me. The lessons are fun, very productive and fit perfectly with my learning style.

How do you warm up?
I generally play Lightly Row before anything else, even scales, because I find that it's already running through my head before I pick up the fiddle to practice. Then some scales, then whatever I'm working on at the time.

What is your favorite type of music?
Anything but rap, heavy metal (although there are some fabulous musicians doing covers with classical instruments that I love!) and Classic Rock.

What is your favorite piece of music? Why?
The theme from the Last of the Mohicans runs through my head more than any other song lately, so at least part of my brain loves it above all other songs. It's a very haunting piece - I've seen the movie a couple of times and can't help but think of certain scenes when the song goes through my mind.

What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin?
If I'm not working on something fiddle related (building, research, designing in my head, etc.)  I like to read and work on my fiber arts projects. During the Summer gardening and working outside are top priorities. Can't cut it down to just 2 😉

Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.
None of my family (including myself) can carry a tune in a bucket. Luckily my fiddle stays in tune and, with the help of an electronic tuner, I can be fairly sure of playing in tune 😉

Are you a member of any orchestra?
Not a member of any type of musical ensemble, but would like to be. I've recently met some local fiddlers and viola players and we hope to get together to play in the near future.

Do you ever perform publicly?
Not yet.

What do you work with?
My training is in architectural drafting, but the money is in engineering, so I've been drawing for civil and structural engineers for 20+ years now using AutoCAD Civil 3D. With the US economy in such bad shape, there is no new construction going on in this area, so I am pretty much out of work at the moment and looking to change careers. I would love to be able to make a living with the fiber arts (spinning, knitting, quilting, felting, weaving, sewing, etc.) but have been unable to make local connections that are profitable. A drafting gig that is related to the fiber arts would be perfect.

Would you please share with us information about your violin and bow and if you have several please tell us about them as well.
The fiddle I play the most is the one I built from a kit last year. It's blond and sweet, like the perfect cup of tea. I also play a Cecelio electric fiddle, which is a lot of fun. My bow was purchased from Oregon luthier Henry Strobel and is not expensive, but it is quite a bit lighter and more responsive than the bow that came with my first fiddle (which I passed on to my son) and I use a BowMaster grip to help with my double-jointed-ness.

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

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 3, 2012 - 7:57 am
Member Since: October 7, 2011
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Hey, CatMcCall!!! Nice to meet  You! =)birthday_balloon

 

..... one cat who rules our world...

LOL. I have 2! And they rule our world too! Cats are mighty!

What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long.

Short term to get my left pinky into shape and in tune - I'm double jointed, so my fingers don't like to cooperate for certain things and it's been a challenge to train them into proper violin habits...

I had double- jointness! Pinky and ring finger! I fixed it in 2 months with simple thing - /i don't think it's a proper word but Google says - PIN/!

 

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Try to squeeze the pin (?) several times. Do it for every finger! And for both hands!!

It helped me, maybe it can help You?cheerleader

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 3, 2012 - 10:27 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Great stuff Naska,
Thanks for the tip. I hope it helps a lot of violinists with the same problem. Where did you hear about it? How stiff is that clothe pin?

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

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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January 3, 2012 - 10:33 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
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Nice meeting you.

 

Mad_Wed, you are just full of little exercises.

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BCShalom
Seattle, WA
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January 3, 2012 - 12:23 pm
Member Since: October 27, 2011
Forum Posts: 186
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Nice to meet you Cat. LOL.

I thought you were much more experienced than me, I thought all of you were, but I see that many are in the same place as me, and that helps.  I may even post a vid one day soon.  I can't wait to progress beyond Twinkle Twinkle, Mary had a Little Bunny, LOL, and scales.   I think my big break through will be to read music correctly.

That is a big deal to me as my dad never learned to read any music, even though he was a wonderful fiddler.  He played for "Spike Jones and the Band of Re noun" What ever it was called, till they found out he couldn't read music. 

I feel that when I can read music and make a joyful noise with my fiddle, my life will be complete!  I have always loved violin music, and this is really great to have a place where you can learn this way.  Thanks for the encouragement all, especially you FM. 

What a wonderful site and group of people. 

 

Hope you all had wonderful holidays, and are ready to get back to work learning to play our favorite, instrument. 

 

Shalom Shalom

 

serenadecoffee1

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Sofia Leo
Lebanon, Oregon
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January 3, 2012 - 2:02 pm
Member Since: April 6, 2011
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Naska - it's called a clothes pin in the US, clothes pegs in the UK and Australia and I've been using one for months now and it has made a big difference with my bow hold. I posted about my double-jointed-ness on this blog post and link to Lora at Red Desert Violin and her clothes pin exercise video. I couldn't believe what a difference it made, not only for playing violin but for many other things that I do every day around the house. Unfortunately, my hands have gotten strong enough that sanding on boats is no longer painful, so I get drafted for that duty more often than I would like cry

FM - Lora had me start with any pin laying around and I eventually "moved up" to a stiffer one as my hands got stronger. It really makes you think about how your fingers are curved and where their strength is.

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 3, 2012 - 3:05 pm
Member Since: October 7, 2011
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Fiddlerman said

Where did you hear about it?

i didn't hear about it unfortunately... first i've tried to do that with eraser, but it was uncomfortable as You can see... so i just thought what i could use instead of it ... and found a clothe pin =)

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 How stiff is that clothe pin?

LOL!! i don't have a stiff-o-meter, but definitelly can say that if somebody have double-jointness then that person will prefer the pin that is as soft as one can find =)

 

@ CatMcCall : Thanks for the video, i wish i could find it earlier LOL! I liked the part about "Clothe pin can twist and hit you in the face"!!!roflroflrofl That actually happened to me ... and not once... but i survived as she said =D And i've found her way to hold the clothe pin more reasonable =)

birthday_balloon

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 3, 2012 - 4:38 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Are you into pistols or shooting, Naska? I noticed a pistol on some catalog on your desktop :-0

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

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 4, 2012 - 3:43 am
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Fiddlerman said

Are you into pistols or shooting, Naska? I noticed a pistol on some catalog on your desktop :-0

LOL! They are pneumatic roflI like paintball and strikeball (?)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 4, 2012 - 8:50 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
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WOW, I can't believe you like that. I've only done it a few times but I loved it. If I had more time and friends that were into it I would go a lot more often.

We had a bachelor party for a buddy of mine, a cellist, and that is where we took him..... Poor guy had to get married with some major bruises. ROFLOL

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

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 4, 2012 - 11:40 am
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HHaaahaaa! LOL! 

I still have one that not comes off roflI've got it in June and it's still there (i guess, forever)birthday_balloonDamaging game!! BEWARE!!

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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January 4, 2012 - 12:10 pm
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Here I thought that Naska was a pistol packin mama

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Late bloomer
Dallas Texas
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January 4, 2012 - 8:59 pm
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Very interesting bio CatMcCall, Ive been in commercial construction for thirty years . Its always nice to see an engineer that knows what there doing.

Really like that violin to , say you built it from a Kit? Wow . Wish I had the patience.

Anyway nice to meet you.exactly

No matter where you go, there you are!

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QuicheLoraine
Nashville, TN
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January 8, 2012 - 3:47 pm
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So nice to meet you Cat!

I love that you are an architectural engineer and into fiber arts, aside from playing fiddle, and have a boat restoring partner- utter niftiness (: I went one year at Memphis College of Art, now majoring in Graphic Design elsewhere, but they had a wonderful Fiber Arts program/studio with traditional and computer looms, spinning wheels, etc., and was fascinated by it, coming from a family of Irish weavers.   

I'm impressed by the blonde fiddle! Please share where you got the kit? (: My husband has been making cigar box guitars and cookie tin banjo ukes, and it would be fabulous to  make a fiddle!

   

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Sofia Leo
Lebanon, Oregon
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January 8, 2012 - 8:28 pm
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Thank you for your kind words smile I do act like I know what I'm doing, but the reality is that sometimes I have no clue but can usually guess a good way to get through a "problem." I have to clarify that I'm not an engineer or an architect but a CAD Drafter who works for engineers and architects - I don't do the calculations, I just make it look pretty for the client and jurisdictions smile

I posted about fiddle kits on this thread here on FM which has links to kits and tools and other things of interest. The thread about the Red Fiddle is where I'm writing about building my second kit fiddle. More blather at the blog in my sig line...

Jump on in and join the fun - BCShalom ordered a kit and should be posting here soon about his build...

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Late bloomer
Dallas Texas
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January 8, 2012 - 8:59 pm
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you probably still know more than some of the engineers you work for. Trust me on that one.coffee  

No matter where you go, there you are!

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pky
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March 13, 2012 - 11:07 pm
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Interesting interview and interesting tips from mad_ved and Cat!

 

I would like to try the cloth pin for myself and my daughter.

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