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It seems Everytime I pick up the viola to practice, which hasn't been very often these last number if month, my wife just bursts out in a belly laugh. I have even seen her do this as she scrolls through my videos I tape when she's not around. I decided to ignore this behavior as I really wanted to submit parts for the Christmas project. My teenage daughter had to have sharp words with her mother about this. I'm feeling crushed and humiliated. To the point if tossing the fiddles into the woods Tove. She knows how this affects me and is now being very patronizing.
Am I being too sensitive? Should I just grow a set and get over myself? What to do when my biggest fan is my worst critic?
Aw, I'm sorry 🙁 Nobody I know outside of the people I know on the internet care much about my playing, so it makes it easy to get down, nobody in my family says anything rude about my playing, they just ignore my playing, try to pretend I'm not doing it. For me the whole "I wanna quit and sell my fiddle" phase will pass in a few days. But I go through them fairly often, haha. All I can advise is not to give up playing, and just play through it.
Is there a way for you to keep your video files in a place where she can't watch them?
Is it possible she's jealous that you're learning?
World's Okayest Fiddler
@Ripton So sorry to hear that, I must say I am lucky enough that my husband, even when I send him links to my videos, is always 100% supportive. He doesn't moon over them and say how great they are, but I get the quiet nod of approval for giving it a go. He has some pretty interesting hobbies too, that he has taught himself, I think maybe that gives him some perspective. I am not sure if your wife has any interests that would be good parallels as examples, to offer an opportunity to have the two way conversation of "when you were just beginning in this skill, just learning, would it have been productive and supportive of me to a)laugh or b)quietly support" or some such thing.
In any event, I still find I am my own worst critic, and as @damfino points out as well, at times I think I will never improve. Like many things though, magically (ok through a ton of hard work!) we do have better days.
Pull out that viola, we would love to hear it in the Christmas project. One way of thinking of it is we are an orchestra in the project, so if my note here and there is not perfect, someone's is, so all is good. We may not yet be soloists, but the project is a great place to start.
I'm sorry that she is causing you to feel so bad about it. I would probably react the same way. I think it's important to have some self-distance in the beginning, as it will sound like crap for a while, but when someone close to you is just laughing at you it won't be easy to stay motivated. Have you talked to her about WHY she is always laughing at it? And have you told her just how hurtful it is? Ask her how she'd feel if you kept laughing at something she's got a big interest in.
Maybe you should have her try to play it herself so she can experience herself just how hard it is. Chances are she is a bit jealous that you're having a go at something like this.
I really hope you can find the motivation to continue practicing. You will improve and at some point she is going to have to stop laughing. 🙂
That's . . . . . Pretty harsh. I mean, my brother jokes about my playing, and I have a good sense of humor about it, but no one I've played around has been so rude. I know violin practice isn't exactly everyone's favorite thing to listen to, so I feel it's important to be respectful of that and do what you can to mitigate the issue. But if you're doing what you can and still being mocked, that's a little too far. I agree with the others, that there might be some resentment or jealousy that you're trying to learn an instrument. I would try to get to the root of the issue, and accommodate as much as you can without hurting your ability to practice regularly.
I'm sorry you're going through this. To answer your question … there must be a way to password encrypt your videos. You either trust your wife to be nice about this, live with it, but DON'T EVER QUIT because someone doesn't like your playing. YOU are the only one who has to enjoy it.
Play viola for you, not for anyone else. What are your reasons for learning to play? What are your goals? Remember your reasons and your goals and let them guide you.
You should not be ashamed to ask! My sister won’t let me talk about my violin, this list, Fiddlerman, or let me practice when she is here. Definitely can never even bring the violin to her house. She likes David Garrett but won’t listen to Fiddlerman though personally I don’t think Garrett is better than Fiddlerman! Sorry, but I think she fell more for his Flamboyant look than anything. So he’s been a soloist forever, so what! To not give other violinists an ear, is soooo limited! May, I add that the minute the word violin comes out of my mouth I get a very loud “Not Interested!!!” From her! She is not polite about it, so I understand your issue! Laughing at you is even worse. Does she redicule your interests on a regular basis? I hope not!!! At any rate, keep this in mind!!! The problem, like with my sister, is with her not you! Try to remember that when she gets attitude and just play through it! Try not to let it get you down, because if you do, she wins and you lose! Trust that we will always give you positive support, so when you discouraged come to us!!! That is what I do!!! Submit your video to the project! It will be appreciated here
@zpilot ha ha at that cat! I get no negative results from the cats or my standard poodle when practicing the violin, but the poodle howls when I play the flute, penny whistle, harmonica, and accordion. Gave the accordion to my sister. Stringed instruments seem to go over very well with the animals here!
"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein
Would it be "wrong" to secretly buy an electric viola and a quality headset and hide it in my workshop? ( I know, this is not a good relationship fostering response to my situation, but the thought did cross my mind).
Haha, whatever could help you continue playing in peace sounds fine to me, lol.
Do you play with any kind of mute? My teacher let me borrow a metal one when I had to go out of town, and that nearly silenced my fiddle, it kind of surprised me how quiet it was. No way could it be heard through walls.
World's Okayest Fiddler
To answer your question, you are not being sensitive at all. That is a natural response and I'm sorry you don't have a great practice environment. Just remember you are learning to play for yourself and no one else. If we all stopped doing what we love because people laughed at us or didn't support us, where would we be? I say keep at it and one day you will be glad you did. I don't recommend using a mute because it really does take away from the amazing sound, but if a mute will help you practice more then I recommend this one https://fiddlershop.com/ultra-practice-mute-violin.html . I used to use it and it is amazing how quite it makes the violin.
I agree with pretty much everyone... In fact I find it quite rude of your wife to laugh at you... sure, joking around is one thing... but laughing at people every single time.. How would she feel if you laughed every time she bought some new clothes or tried to dress up for an evening out or cooked something or whatever... ask her maybe.
As far as the hiding in your workshop with an electric violin... I don't think that's where you want to go.. If a relationship goes to where you must hide your hobby completely.. well that's not really a relationship anymore (I know that sounds a bit blunt..), BUT picking up a practice mute is always nice, since you never know when you might need it, regardless if you want to 'hide' or something simple as not overpower the sound of the TV in the next room.
I recommend you watch the video on the bottom of the page that ryonass linked as I just watched that video and I can tell you that it's a completely accurate representation of the actual volume each mute gives you (I have one too, though I hate the 'nasal' sound the rubber one produces, it still does the job, I prefer the metal one in terms of sound, but the hybrid one presented in the video might be the ideal thing). For comparison, probably even the rubber mute will make your instrument have less volume than a simple electric viola, the metal one will definitely be waaaay less loud. (electric instruments aren't all that 'silent' as they claim to be)..
Good luck 😀 Maybe post a video of your wife laughing at you so we can laugh at her.. (just kidding obviously) 🙂
I agree with Ferenc, I hate the sound of the rubber mute. I have one and hate using it, that's why my teacher let me borrow the metal one. It sounds better, and it makes the instrument much quieter.
World's Okayest Fiddler
yup, I have the rubber mute. Helps but not silent, and sound still travels up to the first floor. . I purchased a metal mute but it is for a smaller bridge than the viola has. Haven't been able to find a large enough one yet. Life was so much easier when m DW worked the night shift. I could play all night long as the kids were on the second floor. Thanks for the encouragement. I know I'll still struggle with this, but will keep working at it.
First time poster, here! Hopefully, I am posting in the right place.
I, too, have a spouse who doesn't understand my need and/or desire to re-learn to play violin. He has a keen ear for music, and is put off by anything off key. When I began 2 months ago, I bought a variety of mutes to drown out the screeching noise emanating from the violin. Although the screeching has largely ceased, sour notes still do occur, and will for some time. Having played as a child and adolescent, I am very familiar with the process that needs to occur to improve. PRACTICE!
At work every day, I look forward to coming home to practice. I listen to Fiddlerman You Tube videos in my car (on bluetooth) to and from work. I am obsessed with improving, and practice for at least an hour nearly every day. However, I still feel the need to use the mute. What I want, is the courage to take the dang thing off and listen to what my violin really sounds like!! I told my husband that maybe I should get a silent violin, so that I could practice in private.
He would never ask me to stop, but I know he wishes that I could just jump ahead to the part where tunes actually sound melodic, rather than rote notes.
Because I was not sure if I would even want to practice, and would give up right away, I rented my instrument from a nice violin shop here in Nashville. It didn't take me long to remember how much I loved playing--and that I wanted to continue. I have been scoping out the lovely instruments that Fiddlerman has to offer, and have one on my wish list just waiting for me to save up for it.
One quick thing---thinking that if I upgraded the strings on my rental, I ordered the Fiddlerman synthetic strings. They came today, and made a huge difference in sound and playability (if that is a real thing). Included in the package was a Fiddlerman cleaning cloth AND a Christmas gift of a fantastic violin shaped bottle opener!! The quality of the strings alone blew me away, but the gifts were just another sign that I have found my musical home here, with the Fiddlerman family!
What kind of rubber mutes are we talking about? Orchestral mutes that just fit between the two middle strings aren't designed to reduce the volume much at all, they're mainly intended to produce a thinner timbre. If you're trying to reduce volume, then it's a practice mute you want, and in my experience the rubber ones work just fine. (I don't own a practice mute, I just have an orchestral mute.)
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