Meet “Pky” from Fiddlerman’s “Fiddle Talk” forum

  • If you like, please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.

Age: Prefer not to tell (I’m a woman :P)

Family: a husband and a 5.75 year-old daughter who just started kindergarten in late August and started to take violin lessons at the beginning of July, 2011.

Place of birth: Malaysia

Residence: USA

  • What made you decide to play the violin?

When my daughter started to take violin lessons, which was about three months ago, I thought it might be a good idea to learn along with her so I could help her practice. In addition, I’ve always wanted to be able to play ONE musical instrument well, but without teachers and without instruments, I can’t reach the level I wish to reach. To be honest, at the beginning, I thought a good violin would cost less than a grand piano, now I learned from this website that an expensive violin could cost a fortune. If I’d known then what I’d known now I would have sent her to take piano lessons. Anyway, I bought my daughter and myself each a cheap violin (to many people it is nothing for a violin, but to me, it’s still expensive) from the internet and began sawing away.

  • How long have you been playing the violin?

I started to play at the beginning of August, 2011.

  • How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?

Not as much as I wanted to. I tried to play everyday for 30 to 45 minutes, but there are days when I was exhausted from work and couldn’t make it. Sometimes during weekends I do get to play a little longer.

  • In your opinion, what’s your proficiency on the violin?

I am a beginner who wants to run before I could walk. Sawing away without knowing much technique is where I am at. I just can’t resist to playing songs.

  • Your greatest personal experience with playing?

I can still learn while some other people thought they can’t and playing releases my stress.

  • What other instruments do you play?

I had lessons in learning to play piano, Chinese fiddle – ErHu, Chinese zither, carillon, and pipe organ. I taught myself to play harmonica, guitar (very little, just some chords), Chinese flutes, and Chinese recorder. I am also trying to teach myself another Chinese instrument, Chinese banjo – Yueqin.

  • What does music mean to you?

Music is an expressive universal language that one uses to express self or other things; and others (from birth to 100+) could enjoy it and are free to interpret in their own way, with their own feelings but not necessarily that their interpretation would match the composer’s expressions. There is no misunderstanding in musical communication.

  • What or who has been your greatest influence?

Radio broadcast was the only source for classical music for me as a child, unfortunately classical music was only broadcasted when some VIP past away, and my mother called it “dead people’s music” and would not let me listen to it. My siblings and I learn to sing a lot of Chinese folk songs and popular songs from the radio. I also picked up different Chinese dialects from the radio.

My next influence is my elementary music teacher, who played piano and taught us to sing a lot of children’s songs. That was the first piano I saw in my life and it’s probably the root of my desire to learn to play piano.

My first two piano teachers were great, but one left to further her studies overseas after I had her for a couple of months and the other quit after a few months because the music school did not treat her well. My third and last piano teacher did not teach me much other than telling me which piece to play; and unfortunately, I got stuck with her for four years or so.

My family – we sing a lot. We had a lot of song books at home, and if we didn’t have the music and lyrics we copied it by hands from other people and created our own song books.

My carillon instructor taught me how to play expressively but I am never open enough and am too self conscious. I am glad that she didn’t say you can’t learn.

My daughter’s violin teacher who believes everyone is musical and that changed my view in music talent.

Internet has changed my point of view and makes it possible for me to learn to play violin. When I began to search for violins for my daughter and myself, I came across the fiddlerman’s forum and realized that I could learn to play violin without a teacher! A friend of mine has learned to play violin as an adult and plays pretty well. I wanted to follow her footsteps but didn’t have a teacher, now I do – from and by sending my daughter to take violin lessons :P.

Last but not least, my name! One of the characters in my name means musical instrument. My mother gave me my name because when I was born my father was out of town at work. My guess was when she named me she remembered herself as a child when her uncle wanted to teach her to play Erhu and she shied away; she might have regretted it and might have hoped that one day one of her children would pick up an instrument and play music. For this reason, I have felt I had to complete the mission, that is, to learn to play a musical instrument.

  • What are your goals for playing violin? short and long.

Short term: Practice violin 3 and 4 for Christmas project, 2011; and hopefully I could make it.

No long-term goals yet, just want to play ­­­­while I can still play and enjoy it (Here’s my question: How far can an adult learner go as a violinist? My muscles, my arms, and my finger each has a mind of their own.); and may play for young children.

  • What type of violin training?

Well, I’m learning along with my daughter and from this website.

  • How do you warm up?

Play scales (G, D, and A major) and twinkle twinkle, lightly row, or something my daughter’s teacher taught her, sometimes not at all and jump right into playing songs.

  • What is your favorite type of music?

Classical music but I don’t know much about it.

  • What is your favorite piece of music? Why?

For violin it’s 4 seasons, it’s very expressive. For Piano, I like Fur Elise and Turkish March, just like them for no reason. I think I like music that has stories behind it, like moon light sonata, nut cracker so I could feel it better.

  • What are some favorite things you like to do other than playing violin?

Hang around this forum :P. listening to music, hiking and camping, reading.

Eat, sleep, play (play like a child, not just violin), and repeat! (seriously!)

  • Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.

Not really. My brothers and sisters like to sing. However, it seems like we could all play a tune or two when we, including my father, pick up a totally new instrument. So my guess is: if we have some training, we might be more musical than we are now. In fact, I have a brother and two of my sisters who learn to play piano as adults, one of the two sisters also learned to play a little Chinese zither,  and another brother who improvises on drums (his son is pretty good at playing Chinese drum).

  • Are you a member of any orchestra?

No, I am not, maybe in the future.

  • Do you ever perform publicly?

Yes, but not violin.

  • What do you work with?

I work with people.

  • How many violins and bows do you own?

I own a $180 Cecilio CVN-500 and two bows that came with it.



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