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Why Choose the Violin?

How do you pick an instrument?

For the best match, it must speak to your soul. Here’s how it worked out for me.

It was 1974. My fourth grade self wasn’t thinking about making a life-long decision. But when my teacher rattled off all the different instruments we could consider learning, my heart leapt at the thought of the violin. I went home that afternoon and eagerly convinced my parents to begin renting me a violin.

While the rest of my violin classmates quickly dropped off, finding the early squeaking and coordination of fingers and bow strokes too difficult to get past, I persevered. I was able to breathe into the experience, to respect the relationship between the bow and the string, to transfer my emotions to left hand finger pressure and vibration, my intensity to my bow arm.

Within a couple months, I had learned all the school’s music instructor could teach me about the violin, and the music store referred my parents to an amazing teacher named Bill.

Bill could play every instrument I had ever seen, from piano to sax to banjo to drums. This amazing skill gifted me with the experiences of accompanying a wide range of instruments from an early stage in my musical development.

The joyful mingling of different notes and sound qualities is still one of my favorite perks of being able to play a musical instrument. For me, playing with others is almost a spiritual experience, as I meld my efforts into something larger than myself, while realizing that the absence of even my small part would make the whole something less.

The other great thing about Bill was that he had expertise and took joy in a broad range of genres. He had me playing everything from classical, musical tunes, fiddle, gypsy to a wide variety of popular songs. Going from “Turkey in the Straw” to “Moon River” to Telemann may not have been a systematic approach, but for a young student, it kept the process fun and engaging. It demonstrated the vast array of human emotions and styles that could be expressed through the violin.

My parents eventually switched me to a “real” violin teacher who focused exclusively on classical pieces and sought to create performance competition between myself and her star pupil, as a motivational method. I am sure what I learned was invaluable, but the style didn’t match my preference, so by the end of 8th grade, my parents discontinued my lessons.

But this was not the end for me! I learned the string bass for Concert Band. Each spring I played violin in the orchestra for the high school musicals. In college I switched to playing violin at church on Sunday.

Sadly, once I started working and raising children, my playing fell to the wayside. But, it never left my heart. Now that my children are grown, I am back to my violin, and ArtistWorks provides just the inspiration, convenience, and variety I need to get me back in the groove.

You can get Classical Violin lessons on ArtistWorks with a violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra: Richard Amoroso. He has hours of lessons, and you have the opportunity to participate in Video Exchange. Through Video Exchange, you can upload a video practicing the Violin, and Richard will give you tailored, personal feedback.

I'll see you online! Learn more here.

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