Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc. Age: Grown-up (well, mostly); Place of birth: Kansas; Residence: Kansas; etc.: Married with a 6 year old son and a 9 year old daughter
What made you decide to play the violin? My grandfather was an old-time fiddler. He left me his fiddle when he died in the hope that I would finally learn how to play.
How long have you been playing the violin? I started playing this spring (2012). So at this point, about 3 months.
How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions? I play whenever I get the chance. Practice sessions are limited by how much housework needs to be done and how much attention the kiddos need.
In your opinion, what’s your proficiency on the violin? Absolute total noob!
Your greatest personal experience with playing? The first time I tried to play my fiddle, and it made notes instead of skronky noises.
What other instruments do you play? I had to learn the recorder in school, but never kept it up. I also tried to teach myself to play piano, but then I had my daughter and didn’t have the time.
What does music mean to you? Music is something that is everywhere – knocking around in my head, on the TV or radio, coming out of my kids’ mouths…
What or who has been your greatest influence? Children. They seem to understand that music is more about enjoyment than perfection.
What are your goals for playing violin? Short and long. My short-term goal was to play a song that someone could recognize. I recently achieved that with “Red River Valley”. Long-term I would like to reach a level where I wouldn’t be embarrassed to play a tune for someone who had known my Grampa’s playing.
What type of violin training? 100% FIDDLERMAN.COM!!
How do you warm up? Under a blanket with a cup of hot tea. Oh – you mean musically! I usually just jump into a song, quickly before my kids pull me away.
What is your favorite type of music? I like lots of stuff – classic rock, classic country, old-time music, heavy metal, 80’s pop, folk music… with the kids I listen to a lot of Disney and Nick music now.
What is your favorite piece of music? Why? I don’t really have a favorite. I always liked whistling “Ein Klein Nachtmusik” and when I think of fiddle music I always hear “Faded Love”
What are your 2 favorite things to do other than playing violin? Just 2? OK, well…..I like to read about stuff and I like to make things.
Do you come from a musical family? If so please tell us about them. There is my grandfather, obviously. His dad was Swedish, and played fiddle. His mom played piano and organ. His whole family was very musical. The current generation, not so much. My kids love music. In their own fashion, they are teaching themselves to play violin, piano, guitar, recorder, drums, and xylophone. They also have a ukulele stashed away somewhere.
Are you a member of any orchestra? No.
Do you ever perform publicly? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Just Fiddlerman progress videos.
What do you work with? I am a government paper pusher working in land management.
Would you please share with us information about your violin and bow and if you have several please tell us about them as well. Most of what I know is on my forum thread about my Grampa’s fiddle. My grandma bought it as a Christmas present for my grandfather in 1946, the year they were married. There is no label inside as far as I can tell. She found it in a “hawk shop” in Topeka, Kansas. The first thing Grampa did was put on steel strings and mechanical tuner heads. He used the classic old-time chest hold, so the chin rest I found in the case wasn’t ever used. There were three bows in the case as well. Only one was strung up. I remember the day in the early 80’s that his buddy came by and offered to get it haired with some new- fangled synthetic hair. He promised Grampa that it would last a lot longer than horsehair. He was right. I soaked off the gunk in alcohol and it plays just fine! The other two bows are not haired. I am taking them to a luthier to get whichever one is better rehaired. The leftover bow will be a learning project for me to learn how to hair a bow. Apparently my grandma used to rehair my grandpa’s bows for him. I should ask her if they used hair off of their own horses. She is pretty frugal, so I am guessing the bow hair may have been homegrown.