Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
This will be boring …
I grew up in Sydney, then moved way up north to Cairns in my twenties where I had some more kids and just kept working. I’m now living a bit south of there in a mining area. I can’t wait to retire and move back to Cairns.
What made you decide to play the violin?
I love my piano, but it’s not very portable. I have a clarinet, but last year I suffered a severe lung infection with legionella, and now I can’t blow up a balloon. So I thought I’d try violin instead, mainly because of all the tutorials I found on YouTube.
How long have you been playing the violin?
About a year. ‘Playing’ may not be the appropriate word.
How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I work part-time, and it absolutely wears me out. So on my non-working days, I love to pick up the violin and probably play for about an hour at a time.
In your opinion, what’s your proficiency on the violin?
‘Beginner’, evolving into ‘advanced beginner with terrible intonation’.
Your greatest personal experience with playing?
Being invited to play with the Fiddlerman Christmas Project. And then today finding the finished product on the website, and being able to share it with all my friends.
I don’t think words can describe the feeling this gives me, so you’ll have to use your imagination (and then triple it!).
What other instruments do you play?
I have a piano, and a clarinet (gathering dust). Many years ago I played saxophone and guitar. I’ve tried brass, but gave up in despair.
What does music mean to you?
This is a rhetorical question isn’t it? Everyone knows music is the universal language. It is emotion. It is joy. It is sadness. It is irreplaceable.
What or who has been your greatest influence?
I think it would be the shared influence of all the online tutors I have seen. I still can’t believe that so many people give their valuable time and wealth of experience for free. I’m not sure where I’d be with learning the violin if I hadn’t stumbled on Fiddlerman.com. And there are so many musical videos online for me to enjoy at any time.
What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long.
My short term goal has always been to play one song beautifully. I’m still working on this project. My long term goal is ditto the above. Unfortunately, I haven’t found that one song yet.
Another long term goal I have is to be still learning in my very old age, because I think that will keep me alive and not just breathing.
What type of violin training?
I have a copy of Suzuki, and started at page 1. Since then I’ve bought several other instructional books, some of which are a total waste of money. The town I live in is geared toward mining and industry, not the arts, so finding a teacher to help me along has proven so far impossible. So Youtube is probably my most influential teacher.
How do you warm up?
Every morning I go for a long walk around a nearby lake. Then I do a short session with light weights, and some stretches, after which I feel strong enough to tackle some scales and etudes.
What is your favorite type of music?
All of it, except for the cr*p. As far as playing music, I love to try classical pieces, jazz, and old-time favourites. I’d love to get into blues some more, and I’m following the fiddlerman tutorials.
What is your favorite piece of music? Why?
I don’t have a favourite. I just love all music. I’m currently trying to decide on something suitable for my wedding. This is proving to be a difficult chore, all other decisions have been very simple.
What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin?
I love to play my piano, I’m still classed as a beginner there as well. My favourite weekend treat is a trip to the beach, whether it’s an afternoon swim followed by (sharing) a bottle of wine as night falls, or our ritual Sunday breakfast picnic. Stinger season is now upon us, so there’ll be no swimming till next year.
Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.
Short answer … NO. I honestly can’t remember anyone in my family ever playing anything other than my Grandma’s pianola, and that was only when the old fellers had had enough to drink that they fought over who would start it up in auto mode.
My family were always battlers, I never even had a bike to ride to school, we walked. So there was no music either. When my kids were at school I made a point of ensuring all of them were enrolled in the free school music program, and encouraged them to choose their own instrument. Not one of them now plays, but I know that the exposure they’ve had will be a vital reference for them in coming years. I know they will continue their interest at some stage.
Are you a member of any orchestra?
Yes … Fiddlerman’s Christmas Project … ROFL … they’re the BEST !!
Do you ever perform publicly?
Not on your life !!!
What do you work with?
I work with dying people. That may sound sad and depressing, but believe me, it’s not always that way. It’s probably the most fulfilling thing I can think of doing, to help someone die with dignity and without pain.
Would you please share with us information about your violin and bow and if you have several please tell us about them as well.
I originally bought a blue Ashton student violin, thinking that if I failed at that one I’d only wasted $200. After a couple of months I felt it was inadequate (in my professional opinion and with my wealth of knowledge on the subject, of course). I then bought a Francesco Cervini, probably also a student model, but I fell in love with it immediately, and noted the different shaped fingerboard which I felt was easier to play. I can no longer play the Ashton due to increasing arthritis in my fingers and the stiff tuning pegs and fine tuners. Even the nut on the bow is very stiff to turn. I’m still looking at electric (silent) violins, but I don’t think that will happen any time soon.
I’m enjoying the journey.