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I discovered this forum a while back, and have been reading and getting to know you in secret. I'm pretty convinced this is a nice group of people and would like to join in on the fun.
Many years ago, I played percussion in the high school concert band, but I secretly wanted to play a melody instrument (back then, strings was not an option in my school program).
In recent years, I discovered artists like Kate Rusby and Emily Smith--Celtic singers on Pandora radio--and through that, noticed that I was drawn not only to the vocals and lyrics, but also to the violin music.
Two years ago, I went to the Annapolis Irish Festival and discovered The Gothard Sisters, a truely wonderful band of three sisters that play violin, and other instruments along with dance. Over that year and the following year, I saw them perform about a dozen times at the Annapolis Irish Festival, Southern Maryland Celtic Festival, Maryland Irish Festival, and Kennedy Center (sadly, they haven't been to MD in 2017). While I like all of their tunes, I'm especially found of Flying Sails.
I got a violin in March 2016, and gave up after 30 days. It was too high pitched for me and hurt my ears, so I switched to viola for the next 6 months. In November 2016, I switched back to violin, since it's more suited to Celtic music. I now use a tourte mute between the A and E strings, switched from steel to synthetic strings, and use foam earplugs (and I'm still sensitive to the E string, but it's better).
I'm a self learner, and practice each day. It's a combination of fun, enjoyable, and frustrating. In my personal life, I like to walk in the forest, go kayaking, watch wildlife (I have foxes and deer in my yard), rest in my hammock and listen to the birds and insects. All this nature stuff helps me to feel good, and violin seems to be a part of that too. Except, with violin, there are so many challenges, perhaps the most important challenge is to have patience and learn to enjoy the process of learning, and to stop being too hard on myself.
In addition to the Gothard Sisters, I've discovered Hanneke Cassel, Natalie MacMaster, and Alasdair Fraser as musicians that I like. In addition to this Celtic contra dance style music, I've also discovered that I like English Country Dance Music--folk dance music sort of renaissance and baroque sounding, as well as the more relaxed Irish slow airs and waltzes (I like Jay Ungar too).
Since I'm a beginner, well, I sound like a beginner, but it's all starting to make sense. Between work and other activities, I don't see lessons in the near future, but maybe someday.
Right now, I have three used violins, an Eastman 80, a Yamaha v5, and Yamaha v7. I really only need one instrument, but they were fairly inexpensive as used instruments, and I wanted to see if there was much difference between them. Actually, with the same Corelli Crystal strings, and using the same bow and rosin, they sound pretty similar to me.
Well, that's enough for now. I look forward to participating in the forums with you.
Welcome to the forum!
I love the Gothard Sisters, too, such talented girls 🙂 They will be playing in town here in a couple weeks, can't wait to go see them again 🙂 I think their festival tours are just starting for the season, so they might be back to your neck of the woods this year.
Have fun around the forum, and feel free to ask questions, we love to help where we can 🙂
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
@damfino -- Yes, I hope to see the Gothard sisters again in person someday. It seems they're pretty busy with the Disney cruises and other activities. We're lucky that they have an active YouTube channel. And you're lucky they're coming to a nearby festival soon, so enjoy!
@rockinglr33 -- Yes, I am drawn to Celtic music. The funny thing is that I only even discovered this music a few years ago. Growing up, prior to the internet, options for music discovery were very limited, so I was stuck in the pop world for a while.
@fiddlerman -- Yes, I was in the marching band too with the snare drum. I'm not really a football person, but it was fun to play at the halftime shows, and in local parades.
I think finding that step-up violin with less-hurtful high registers will be a future goal for me. My ears have always been sensitive--I avoid fireworks, cover my ears near firetrucks with their sirens on, and even need to use industrial-type earmuffs with a food processor. I guess some of us are just overly sensitive.
I was wondering if switching to "light gauge" strings would help -- maybe just for the E string? That would be an inexpensive thing to try.
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