4 months ago
Instrument quality can be an absolute deal-breaker when it comes to learning a classical musical instrument. How is one supposed to truly focus and zero in on the absolutely-infinitesimally-small coordinations of the wrist and fingers for intervals, when the violin is wailing in your ears? How is a player supposed to pay the strictest attention to exactness of pitch, when the G string doesn't speak, the D string is muted, the A string is strident, and the E string is whistling? How do you hone in on your bowing technique, when the holes in the resonance are grating on your ear?
When I finally decided it was time to truly invest in a quality violin after about seven months of playing, most of the instruments in my (still-rather-high) budget as a non-professional were still a bit harsh-sounding, strident, and lacking in overtones. But something caught my eye with a very elegant-looking, very-dark-varnished, 18th century English violin on their website. As soon as I started playing it, I knew it was the one. The tone was crystal clear, it had upper overtones that weren't strident, the whole instrument vibrated, and it had a deep, warm character to it. It was being sold for almost $10,000 less than it could otherwise easily be worth due to a major repair to the back panel that was done early in its life, a repair that really doesn't compromise much of anything with the instrument.
No one knows how serious they will become about their playing nor how successful. You won't be a beginner forever. You won't be in Suzuki forever. I have no idea where my growing skills will take me, and I don't even call myself a “beginner” anymore. I am what I am. I'm not a label. But what I do know is I feel like true detail work and serious growth began for me with the purchase of this pretty little violin I've grown ridiculously fond of and attached to—made in Hermitage Bridge, Wapping, London UK by Adam Martin in the 1790's—and a fair bit of help from @larsenstrings's Il Cannone! 🎻