Learning the Violin – my journey so far (part 1)

I’m learning the violin, and I want to blog about the process.  I’m going to start by writing about the journey that’s led me to where I am right now.

For that, I’m going to go way back to 1992.  I was 15 and had been playing the harp for a couple years.  I originally got interested in the harp because I was listening to Celtic music that had a lot of harp in it (Philip and Pam Boulding / Magical Strings).  The more I played, though, the more I was drawn towards classical music.  I started listening to Grandjany, Salzedo, Zabaleta, Laskine.  But I wasn’t very familiar with the wider world of classical music.

In 1992 I started playing the pedal harp, and my teacher’s husband (an amazing French horn player and musician) suggested that I start listening to (non-harp) classical music.

Of course, now we have YouTube, and a plethora of music to graze upon.  Not the case in 1992!  I was lucky, however, because my dad had (and still has!) a wonderful record collection, including a whole bunch of classical music.

So I started picking out albums that looked interesting and listening to them as I read or did other activities.  One of my very early favourites was Brahm’s Violin Concerto with  Jascha Heifetz and the Chicago symphony.  That constant downwards opening section (starts around bar 18) really grabbed me.

Another early favourite was Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (with Isaac Stern).  The noble and somehow tragic opening, the wistful first statement of the main theme, and then the glorious moment as we finally return to the theme, this time with all the brass and woodwinds pulsing away… Yum!

Somewhat later I also fell in love with the Beethoven Violin Concerto (with Itzhak Perlman).

So I have a history with the violin – I’ve always liked it.

Next time – my first steps in learning the violin!

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