StoneDog is now in possession of the TRAVELING FIDDLE in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. :-)
I am a professional violinist, in other words I make a living from playing and teaching the violin. I have pretty much done so my whole life. However, lately, playing the fiddle is more than just a way to make a living. It is a way to enjoy life and music. What roll does music play in YOUR life?
I am listening to more classical music than ever before now.
I mean besides work of course.
Used to be that when I got home from playing, working, in the orchestra, the last thing that I wanted to do was turn on the radio and set it to the classical station. Lord knows that today we have more and better resources than ever before. Maybe the resources are more processed and commercial but they are available none-the-same.
If there is a particular work that I am interested in listening to I go to naxos.com or iTunes and
most of the time can find it. To top that off, we have excess to great online and streaming radio stations as well.
Today, life is relaxing while drinking a glass of wine and or reading a great book, listening to great music. Also listening to great music while traveling.
Today I played with a guy who wants me to join his rock band. Don't really know what to do here. While on one hand I want to be as versatile as possible and play as many different genres as possible I am not sure that I suit his style of rock. How do I decide what will suit me or not? How much can I experiment before letting him know whether or not I want to be a part of it?
Had this question been put to me 20 months ago, I would have said nothing. It is a different story now. After taking violin, either I play(I am reminded of the other topic – when can I say that I play the violin? – I am only a beginner) or hear lots of music, particularly classical.
Wierd, unusual, music with "balls" has always appealed to me.
Since taking up violin, wanting to play Irish fiddle 'style', I am surprised at how my ear has now turned to, and tuned in to, classical violin.
In the past, violin was listened to as an accompaniment to an enjoyable piece of classical, now I look for violin below the surface.
@Fiddlerman, how DO you prepare yourself for playing rock on the violin.
I have now seen a few female violinists, scantily dressed, swinging on wires, banging out the rock stuff.
Somehow, I don't see this as a way forward for yourself, and if it is, I would strongly recommend NOT posting those tutorials on your site.
I actually used to play with leather pants and open button up shirts.
Always wore some kind of chain around my neck and at one point had fake tattoos and a clamp on earing. I would get a real tattoo but I know I'd get sick and tired of it so quickly.
(Now I know what I have been missing!)
Music and the violin are pretty much my chosen retirement. Some people want to travel. Some want a big boat. Some want to own a vacation house. All good.
I am however totally mesmerized by my musical interests. Not just learning the violin. I would weary of that if there was no more to it. There is the history of music and the violin and the story of evolution in different cultures. And there is maybe tracking down something of interest from You Tube or other media source.
And I happen to live a short days drive from the Appalachians and the fascinating musical history out there.
(If you ever want to judge how well you play, just head on out to an Appalachian fiddler contest but don't expect to win any prizes
And then there is the Baroque era with some very important music ( which I am coming to like ).
And even more ………
I guess, in ways, my music associations are an "affair" of sorts ( but my wife tolerates it )
Actually Kevin. I am very happy to have a change in my life. I figure we probably only live once and I need to do more than one thing in my life. This suits me great for now. Never had anything to do with retail before either. Another new project. Fiddlerman.com has become very popular and continues to grow. That is yet another new development in my life. I play quite a bit of chamber music on the weekends, especially in the season. Teach a handful of students online. I think I need a sailboat. Should be big enough to play the violin on though.
WOW, where do i start on this subject…. In the past 40+ years I always had a little glimmer in the back of my mind for classical music but the whole 100+ piece musical barage of sound gets old very quickly… I then reallized it was too complex and complicated and I found myself listening to just one instrument playing… the violin. It was easy listening and I enjoyed the variety of music that was possible to play on it.
I never went much past piano and even then only a year or two of lessons and then it just gradually disappeared from my life… enter 2012… the year I curiously just started to find an interest in the violin after listening to David Garrett and then seeing him in concert live. Wow, that woke me up somehow. Now I have rebuilt, repaired, retuned, re-set up my old beat up violin, worked on my 10+ yr old chinese student violin to sound much better and actually understand HOW to make it sound better… and have just recently took the next step in my musical evolution and decided to buy an intermediate/advanced violin with a more modern flavor of skills and will undoubtedly do a lot of fine tuning to it after playing it and examining the possible areas that might improve after taking many measurements and documenting the current setup condition so I can easily return to that setup should my efforts prove unsuccessful. It's almost hard to imagine making any kind of adjustment to a properly (?) setup professional instrument but oh well… it can always be readjusted to its' original condition and state of tune. (No guarentee but I might even do a review of it as it compares to my other two violins,,,)
Now I find myself more and more passionately involved in the violin, and possibly the cello (but that's a different subject) and find myself being drawn to the minor key sad violin pieces that make you want to cry when they're played well in a solo or single instrument accompanyment like a piano. I belong to another site, "The String Academy" where some very high-end world violin players frequent and the admin there is Steve Redrobe, who was the personal assistant to Eric Fredman for over 10 yrs. He lives in England now and on that site (By invitation only to join) he has uploaded many, many original recordings from the masters of the 1900-1950 like Heiftz, Milstein, Kreslier, etc. and to hear them play without the addition of electronic enhancments is awe inspiring in itself. Many are made from old records and you can hear the needle scratching as it plays. Really old school stuff. Also, there's recordings from the early days of live TV and I find myself downloading many of them and burning CD's to listen to in the truck when I'm on the road.
What roll does music play in my life now…. well… I'm not really sure but it sure has carved out a big chunk of my spare tiime!
Personally, I have always loved rock music. I listened to heavy metal all my High School life, but after High School, I toned down a bit and went for more Alternative style. Then my music changed again, to Classic Rock. But none of that music really moved me as much as Meat Loaf. Yes, I said it. I am a huge Meat Loaf fan. (Well at least his older stuff from the 60's and 90's.) It was not the words or the subject matter I loved about his songs; it was the music in the background. It wasn't just two guitars, a bass guitar and a set of drums…oh no! His music was always accompanied by an entire orchestra. It was beautiful! It was dark and brooding, (perfect for a Goth kid in High School.) Then I got into Goth Metal, which was also quite beautiful. The piano and guitars of this sub-genre was very moving and unlike most mainstream music. Then in the late 90's one of the greatest metal bands of all time came out with something "new." (New for them anyways.) It was a metal band named Metallica. And they created an album called Metallica S&M. Symphony and Metal. It was a huge concert with many of their greatest hits, accompanied by Michael Kamen, (R.I.P. Michael Kamen-April 15, 1948- November 18, 2003.) and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. It was Rock and it was Symphony…it was one of the most beautiful albums I ever heard. I was very unique and very different than any mainstream, but it was also very popular. It changed the mindset of many musicians in the Rock genre. Then, in the early 2000's, I ran across a Christmas song on the Radio. I was a remix of Carol of the Bells. It was hard Rock and Christmas…it was really unique and new to me. I dug around and finally found out the artist. It was a Christmas band called Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I was hooked. I loved their Christmas albums and their version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker songs, were awesome. It was a blend of Classical music and Rock that was an entirely new experience for me. Then the day came when I finally got their newest album. Beethoven's Last Night. It was an entire album set to Beethoven and Mozart. Their version of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony titled, Requiem/The 5th was the greatest song I ever heard. (I still have that song as my ringtone today.) Their album got me interested in Classical Music. I began looking for more CLASSICAL Rock. I found Fur Elise as a metal version on YouTube. I found Mozart, Tchaikovsky and many others. As I listened to all the Fan Versions with Metal Music I began to want to hear the original. I bought $5 CD's of Classical Music from the bargain-bin at Wal-Mart. I listened to the Moonlight Sonata and fell in love. I took college classes over many different art forms of music. (By the way, I still see Beethoven as the original Rock Star!) I learned that some of the greatest music ever written was the "stuffy ole" classical music I hated growing up. I then realized that most of my favorite artists growing up were the ones that drew a lot of their inspiration from Classical Music. Today I listen to a lot of Public Radio playing classical music. My iPod has David Garrett, Bond, Lindsey Stirling, eScala and many other violinists that play with either a rock or Pop style. And I love every bit of it. But I find more peace in the "stuffy" classical music than anything else.
So you ask, what roll does Music play in my life? It is everything to me. It is what gets me up in the morning. It is what gets me through my shower and 9th cup of coffee. (Doc said I should cut back, but…what does he know? Right?) Music is everything to me, but I have never been one to play an instrument. I took up violin, not to become the next great artist, but to say I am trying to make something important that is 100% me. Not someone else’s, but my own heart and soul poured out onto an instrument that I will never see in a movie, or hear on a stage. But for one moment, maybe, I can stand outside and office complex, or in a lobby, play a nice song that people can smile about or stop to hear. Maybe, I can make someone’s day, not for money, but just for the enjoyment of hearing a beautiful sound. If I can get even one person to stop and listen for just a few seconds, maybe I can make their day a little better than it was suppose to be. That is what Music means to me and that is what I hope I can achieve through Music and through learning the violin here on Fiddlerman.com
This is a GREAT topic!! I wrote a blog a couple months back that explains my current position perfectly!!
Music has always run deep in my life. I have been playing brass instruments for well over 20 years as well as several other instruments. The more I think about it, I always want to learn anything I can get my hands on! I would even imitate playing instruments when I was a kid! Yes, my first experience with a violin was "air fiddling!" The funny thing is, there is a picture of me as a child (and proud ring bearer at a family friend's wedding reception) bowing away on a neatly crafted fiddle made of straws (which I "commandeered" from unattended, adult beverages)!
It was only a matter of time before I got my hands on a real instrument afterwards! In grade school, I was able to join the beginning band class where my first instrument was a tenor saxophone which was literally bigger than me! My father promptly had me return it and settled on trumpet. Unfortunately, there were no violins to pick from. But Trumpet suited me well as I progressed faster then anybody else in my school. Over the years, I kept playing and eventually was the recipient of the Magna Cum Laude for Music, John Phillips Souza Award, Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence and several Outstanding Musician of the Year Awards. By then end of High School, not only was I an award-winning musician, I also taught brass instruments and had expanded my playing to several other instruments.
I continued to play throughout college with local community concert bands and orchestras. And even after college with local bands and friends. A day wouldn't go by without me picking up an instrument and "fiddling" around!
Unfortunately, all that came to an end in 2008. I was involved in a serious accident at work which caused serious trauma to my right shoulder and my spine. Over the past 4 years, I have had several surgeries to repair the damage as it affected my ability to walk, sit up straight and grip items with my right hand.
During this time, I was unable to play any of my instruments as it was painful and I lacked the coordination. I couldn't even listen to music. I would always want to play along or figure the songs out despite my injuries and it became depressing. My piano began to collect dust as my guitars and bass lost all tonality in their strings. My trumpet remained locked in a closet with my sheet music while still being wrapped in an old t-shirt. The state of everything musical in my life truly reflected how I felt inside. Trapped and forgotten.
However, one day I decided to stop in a music store near my home to pick up a few parts for my wife's clarinet. As I walked in, I immediately noticed the violins hanging on the wall. It was almost as if I were a kid again, playing on that fiddle made of straws! I, of course, had to inquire about the violins! Fortunately, the shop owner was very knowledgeable and told me if I ever wanted one, he would cut me a good deal because he was also a member of the the local community band where I played.
I did some soul-searching and came to the conclusion that I was meant to have a life filled with music, not regret. I crunched some numbers and with my wife's blessing, I purchased my first violin!
When I arrived home and started to learn, I noticed an immediate problem. My back and shoulder would both hurt severely while playing. I tried several different positions with the same result. It bothered me so much, I talked to my doctor and physical therapist about it. To my surprise, instead of telling me that I wasn't ready to play yet, they told me that they would work in violin practice into my home therapy program! They both concluded that it would benefit me physically and give me something worth working toward.
So here I am now, sitting on a yoga ball, tapping my feet in a marching fashion to not only keep a beat, but to work the nerves in my leg! My posture is straight as my core muscles are engaged, keeping my fiddle in a great position. And my shoulder and arm are raised in order to search for that perfect bow stoke all while strengthening the same muscles which were damaged earlier.
The pain will always be there. But the music just makes things so much better! My spirits are higher then ever and I have my confidence back, knowing that as long as I have my fiddle and a tune to play, nothing is out of reach.
EJKiszenia, it makes me feel so good to hear you say that the doctors worked violin playing into your therapy program. What a fantastic group of doctors you must have. I wish every doctor could be that smart and creative. Congratulations for your achievements and thanks for taking the time to tell us about it.
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