• Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
I’m 56, born and raised here in Oroville, Ca. and have lived in the same house since I was in 1st grade. I have 3 kids, the youngest boy lives in Modesto with his girlfriend and daughter. The oldest boy is about 20 miles away with his GF and my daughter (22) is living about 30 miles away working at Enloe hospital and studying to be a plastic surgeon.
• What made you decide to play the violin?
I’ve had an interest in playing for many, many years. There was an old German fiddle in the rafters of the garage/shop for decades and no-one ever really played it…separated top & bottom, lack of strings, a sound-post rolling around inside, a bridge all warped… About 10 yrs ago I bought a Chinese student model off e-bay and thought I’d give it a try. Without any kind of instruction, no internet to help, I soon lost interest and it stayed in the closet ever since. I’ve watched several you-tube videos of David Garrett and I think he was the reason I dug out the old fiddle and repaired it, and now practice on it every day. The student model seems a little jealous that I don’t play it anymore.
• How long have you been playing the violin?
Seriously practicing…. (?) only about 2 months now. Hit & Miss…. Maybe 4 months. Owned a violin… 50 years.
• How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I usually don’t have the time or schedule to practice more than about 15-30 min at a time, but late at night (after 11pm) I can usually lose track of time and end up practicing for an hour or more. I always try to make at least 30 total minutes a day… 6 days a week avg.
• In your opinion, what’s your proficiency on the violin?
I’m a beginner…plain & simple. But… I’m progressing rapidly, mostly due to my passion to learn and play. I’m aggressive and my results show it I think. Some people say I’m moving too fast… I say… maybe they’re forgetting more than they’re learning by moving too slow.
• Your greatest personal experience with playing?
Hmmm, greatest experience would have to be the moment I realized I really learned to play a piece of music completely from start to finish on the violin!
• What other instruments do you play?
When I was in grade school, back in the late 60’s I had many, many piano lessons (I hated every one to be honest) and because of that… I suppose I didn’t learn anything else.
• What does music mean to you?
Well, music is very powerful… it moved me to repair a 90 yr old German violin that could just as easily been thrown in the trash! Now, I play just to hear the strings and I’m progressing well on wrist & finger vibrato, seemingly unheard of for a beginner before they’ve played for a year or more.
• What or who has been your greatest influence?
Hands down, it would have to the great virtuoso David Garret with his cross-over style of violin. Having a history of learning when he was 4 yrs old and now a world superstar, having played with the worlds’ finest players and orchestras, and not even 30 yrs old yet… that would have to be an influence on anyone.
• What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long.
Short term: Maybe memorize a dozen tunes to play well. Learn to read sheet music and stop learning to play by ear so much.
Long term: Hmmm, maybe just be able to jam with a bunch of bluegrass friends at the bar.
• What type of violin training?
You’re it man… Fiddlerman.com is really all the training I’ve had. I’ve studied over many hundreds of web sites and pages of information learning all I could, watched the instructional YouTube vids, and now… after rebuilding the old violin to perfect condition, I have no fear of playing, repairing, rebuilding, etc. and even work part time at the luthiers’ shop (who fixed the broken seams on my violin), setting bridges, installing strings, setting sound-posts, changing tailpieces, I even did a peg job, etc.
• How do you warm up?
I just start playing, maybe a few chromatic scales (10 minutes or so) then break into the standby tune “Over The Rainbow” and play it in a couple of different keys. Play some random notes working on the vibrato movements of the fingers and wrist.
• What is your favorite type of music?
The music of the great players like Milstein, Kreisler, Friedman could play music like you’d expect angles to play…If I had to choose just one, probably classical old style.
• What is your favorite piece of music? Why?
That would have to be the one that made me practice for hours to get it right since I had to learn it by ear… “Over The Rainbow”… I’ve always like it… especially played with a good mix of vibrato.
• What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin?
Scuba diving (Technical/Research Diver of 30+ yrs) and extreme long range (1000 yd) rifle competition.
• Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them.
Really, none of the family members play anything except the radio. LOL
• Are you a member of any orchestra?
• Do you ever perform publicly?
Nope, nada, zilch. • What do you work with?
A bunch of morons…
• 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 have 4 wooden bows:
1 Old pernambuco bow that was with the old German violin, 1 Chinese bow that came with the student model, and 2 Chinese bows from e-bay for $20.
I have 1 carbon fiber bow just purchased from Pierre @ fiddlershop.com
I prefer the CF bow but the Pernambuco is a very close second.