Foundational Ideas of FiddleQuest

Trait #1 of Life-Long Violinists

I’m interested in understanding that rare violinist that continues to play long after lessons and school recitals are over.

Common trait #1. Life-long players are recreational players. That is, most of their playing happens outside of a performance setting.

When people think of an orchid, we think of the bloom of this plant. But if you were to walk through the woods, you may be surrounded by orchids and never even know it.

The bloom is only a small portion of the orchid’s life. And when they are not in bloom, orchids blend into the natural backdrop, happily getting on with their lives.

Like orchids, violinists can indeed be thriving off-stage, but many people have no idea of what this might look like.

Outside of my daily teaching, off-stage music represents 95% of my musical life. It is learning new songs on my own — often challenging ones that are just on the edge of my abilities; playing old songs that simply feel good to me. But mostly it playing music with friends. Sometimes I am anticipating performing what we are playing. Most of the time, it is more like going for a walk together with no particular purpose in mind.

While this sort of playing does not have the intensity of a performance, it is so satisfying and uplifting and relaxing that it is hard to imagine not having as a part of my day-to-day life.

People (like me) who continue playing their violin after lessons and recitals are long past are unique. But ‘why and how’ I play now is not unique among this smaller group of players. By nature, recreational music is simply more camouflaged.