Monday, March 12, 2012

How Nerds Spend Their Spring Breaks

   Hello! My name is Hannah. I am an openly nerdy (though equally pop-culture affected) teenager who plays the violin, takes accelerated math and English, and reads almost constantly. Words and music are the food for my soul. Speaking of music, guess how I'm spending my spring break this year! Going to parties? No. Cutting out pictures of the hottest pop stars? No. Watching YouTube videos of Justin Bieber's latest attempts at reclaiming his fame? Definitely not! No, my fellow geeks, I am shopping for violins. So far, we have taken two trips to as many strings shops, spent a total of about three hours playing the same two songs over and over again on eleven very different instruments, and taken three gorgeous violins home on a one-week trial basis. It has been very interesting, expanding my musical  palate, experimenting with different types of musical sound.

Me with my current violin at a recent school concert.
   The violin I have now is of exceptionally high quality for a "beginning" instrument. It was made in France in 1944, which makes it extremely rare. (Unfortunately, I do not have any close-up pictures of it to show, but you can at least get the general idea of its build and appearance from the above image.) I am very proud of it, and it has served me well for the past four years.
   I will, of course, still play my current violin after I purchase a new one. The one I have now will serve as an at-school instrument, and the new violin will be for practicing at home, playing at Olathe Youth Symphony, and for performances. I am seriously considering a couple of instruments from KC Strings, and we intend to return to Beckmann's Violin Shop sometime during the course of this coming week to look at yet more violins.

Lined up on the table are all the rejects. : (
   There are many rows upon rows upon rows of violins such as these at KC Strings. They are beautiful, no?

Perusing a lovely Chinese make with a Kansas-finished varnish.

My final two selections. Top: The Chinese make shown in the above picture, with a rich, open sound. Bottom: Made completely in KC Strings, this violin has a gorgeous, resonant, warm voice. Love at first sight?

       It will be very interesting to make a final decision. so many choices! Until then, thank you for reading this post. I may be a mere teenage girl, but I'm not shallow, and I really do appreciate it when people show an interest in my work. So long!


  1. Very nice first post! I wish you luck in your decision-making :-)

  2. No, you are no "mere teenage girl". You make violin shopping fun!

    Congratulations on your first post (:

  3. Congratulations on stepping up to a good violin! It's really fun to try them out, isn't it? It seems amazing that the same general materials and construction can produce instruments with such different voices and personalities.

    I can't wait to hear you play your new acquisition -- I haven't heard you play since, oh, "Minuet No. 2"! Maybe I can play your old violin and we can do some duets. :-)

  4. Cool post!
    So which violin is/sounds/feels better? The old french one or a new one?


  5. Well, I love my French violin, of course, but new, handmade violins definitely give a preferable sound.
    Thanks for reading!

  6. My dear friend B is a violinist. She currently lives in Vienna, Austria. She tells me a funny story about being ticked off at the violin she had. Seems she vented her frustration to her lesson master at the time, saying she had to get a new instrument as hers played so poorly. He said he wasn't so sure, that how one plays is important too.

    He asked her to play something. She did and then said "Do you see what I mean?" He took the instrument and played the same selection - beautifully and with great sound. Then he said, "Do you see what I mean?"

    Thanks for the fun post! And good luck on your choosing.