The Cat and the Fiddle…
“Practice, practice, practice, is the only way to get to Carnegie Hall”. So goes the answer given to the anxious street-walking patron trying to find the place.
Playing the violin/fiddle can be a fantastic experience, combining mental exercise of the most rigorous kind, optimal coordination of eye-hand-finger movements, and motivation (or not) from audience feedback. Buffeted by the knowledge that musical training adds to one’s likelihood of increased cognitive skills in other areas, playing the fiddle may also take you places you’ve never been before, places like the inner depths of your mind and emotions, and the physical world of travelling performers.
Fiddling around is fun. Moreover, it can generate new friends and business partners. It can also razzle-dazzle Kindergarten classes. Membership in a group or orchestra has all the distinct advantages from being a team member (with instant feedback if you step out of line). And being a violin teacher (see for example, www.lakeheadss.com) similarly has benefits of self-feedback, especially when students show good progress in their scales, arpeggios and double-stops. Plus there’s the financial benefits. Finally, there can be nothing more satisfying for a violin teacher to see a fledgling student zip forward to play a scherzo within two years.
As a former voice and violin student at the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto, and having played in two symphony orchestras, I have been fortunate indeed. I still keep my violin handy by the piano for when the gang comes over.
And our cats definitely don’t diddle with me when I play the fiddle.