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Missing Violin

A couple of years ago, Minnesota Orchestra violinist Chouhei Min had her Guadagnini violin (price tag: over $500,000) stolen from the Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

Min said ‘This really is every musician’s nightmare who owns such a fine instrument’, and she added: ‘It sounded just like something that belongs to me, my personality sounded in it, the instrument responded to the way how I worked on it. It’s just like raising your child, and when you are a decent parent, you will raise a decent child.’

Wouldn’t you think that a church could be the safest place to keep such a treasure while you’re having a coffee with members of the audience after a recital? Well, apparently not, as Min’s 231-year-old valuable violin was stolen from Minneapolis’ Mount Olive Lutheran Church on Sunday night, May 16th.

It is a violin by J B Guadagnini, Turin, bearing his label dated 1778, and is a good example of violins of that period. The varnish has a red-brown color, and the instrument’s belly is spruce with open grain. The back is a one-piece maple, and the maker added some pieces in the lower flanks. The violin was originally from a George Hart collection and is listed in a the Guadagnini book by Doring (The Ex-Hart).

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The World’s Most Expensive Violins

Do you want to know which are the most expensive violins? Well, all listed violins come with their own great stories. These instruments are famous for their amazing resonance, rarity, great value, and of course their unique quality of sound. These violins are legendary and their prices make them so famous that they are even are included in a few Math practice tests to help students develop their number sense. No wonder, that many wealthy people choose them as an investment, so let’s check them out.

  • The Titanic Violin (Arthur Catton Lancaster) $1.700.000

This violin was discovered in 2006 in a pretty damaged condition in a British home. After a few years of research, it appeared this was the violin used by Wallace Hartley at the Titanic’s very last moments

  • The Lady Tennant (Antonio Stradivari – 1699) $2.032.000
    This antique violin was made in 1699 by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, the Italian famous luthier. The violin was actually built 1 year before his so-called ‘golden’ years began. In 2005, this violin was auctioned at Christie’s in New York for the record sum of $2,032,000.

How to Maintain Your Violin

First of all, remember that taking care of your violin is very important. You cannot skip wiping off the strings or be loosening the bow very much at all. Your violin is fairly delicate and does not tolerate much abuse. There are a few simple routines to follow that will keep your instrument in excellent health!

Violin Bow Maintenance – Tighten your Bow Properly

Most bows only require two or three full turns of the screw, which is the metal (usually) octagonal piece on the non-pointy end of the bow. Turning the screw makes the bow hair more or less taut.

To make sure the hair on the bow is at about the correct tautness, look at the space between the hair and the stick in the middle of the bow. The width of that space should be about the width of a standard pencil. The hair should not be much further from the stick than that. If it is, the bow is over tightened and this stresses where the hair is fastened on the bow, causing hair to fall out eventually.

How to Choose the Right Rosin

What is Violin Rosin?

Violin rosin is a hard block of specially prepared sap from specific kinds of trees. You put it on the hair of the violin bow, so the bow’s hair will be rough and sticky enough to make the strings vibrate when you bow on the strings. If you get a bow that has never had rosin put on the bow hair, the bow makes no sound at all when you try to play on the violin with it!

If you use a lighter rosin (for example an amber rosin) then it will be less sticky. This means that the bow hair will glide more on the strings, rather than stick and grab on them. This is usually better for the beginning violinist because you’re still learning how to best control the bow on the string. However, it can mean that you can’t get the full range of volume from the violin.

If you use a dark, soft rosin, then you will notice that your bow hair will stick to the strings more as you play. By “stick to the strings”, I don’t mean that the bow won’t move! I mean that the bow hair will be just a little harder to move when it touches the strings. The sound may be a little harsher, especially for beginners. This can mean that you’ll be able to draw more sound (volume) from your instrument, but you’ll have to control the harshness while you’re playing.

Best Violin Bow

What is the bow?

Your bow is a wooden or fiberglass stick that has horsehair stretched on it, kept tautly. If your bow’s stick is made of wood, it is usually one of the following woods:

  • Cherrywood
  • Brazilwood
  • Pernambuco

Typically, the black parts of the bow are plastic or ebony wood. The screw is metal. Sometimes there is mother-of-pearl on the frog (the dot on the frog) and sometimes that’s plastic. Take also a look at this video about relatively cheap and expensive bows:

The bow hair, which is white horsehair, has rosin applied to it that makes the normally smooth horsehair sticky. Rosin’s stickiness is what makes the hair create the violin’s characteristic sound when it is drawn across the strings.

Violin for Kids

There are a lot of great benefits for teens who practice and play the violin! Most of these benefits remain the same no matter what age your young adult is and no matter when they started playing. Young adults often get experiences from the violin that will impact positively while going through some of the toughest parts of your lives.

Violin in School, a Social Experience
Most teens learn to play violin in school, so most of this page focuses on that. However, some are homeschooled while learning to play, but most homeschoolers simply go to a local public school to participate in the orchestra class there.

Teenagers, you may generally continue to learn violin skills in school, continuing your orchestral journey from elementary school. Generally, you may identify not only with being part of the musical group but also with your instrument!

Violin vs Viola

Violin and Viola – the differences

We often are asked what’s the difference between a violin and a viola. Well, the shape of the instruments is identical, the number of strings is identical, and the sounds these instruments produce is similar, or at times, almost identical.

At orchestral performances, violins and violas are usually adjacent, strengthening the perplexity about the instruments. This makes the distinction between a violin and a viola all the more challenging. The fact of the matter is also that some parts of viola solos are speaking and sounding much like cadenzas on a violin, which raises the question “What are then the real differences between a violin and a viola?”

Well, first of all, the strings used on the instruments are tuned differently. The four strings of a violin are tuned (from low to high) G-D-A-E. The thinnest string, the E-string, can produce thin, bright, birdlike sounds. Through this string, the musician can produce unusual, very high pitches, the perfect tunes for songs that are meant to pierce lasting impressions into your heart.

Do You Want To Learn To Play The Violin On Your Own?

How to learn to play the violin without expensive lessons is a million dollar question for those violin lovers who cannot hire a private teacher or join traditional violin classes because these are usually a costly option. But at the same time, you can not learn to play the violin without having violin lesson or proper guidance. Check out this great video on how to hold the violin and the bow correctly for properly learning how to play your instrument.

We all know that necessity is the mother of invention, so if you really have the passion and love for this instrument, you need to be little creative and you need to spend some time searching for free online violin lessons that can really help you a lot to learn the violin with full perfection.

How do online lessons work?

Well, if you are out of a budget and you don’t want to spend money for an instruction book to learn violin playing, you need to be open-minded and try to take guidance from free online violin lessons.

Learning To Play The Violin From The Comfort Of Your Home

Just by deciding to learn the violin, you made a great, brave step. It is arguably the most sophisticated musical instrument in the world. The respect you gain once you learn to play the violin well is tremendous. However…

Learning violin is very, very hard…right? It takes a lot of time, a lot of money and it’s just so darn hard to master it, right? WRONG! Just take a look at this video and you’ll be amazed.

Well, many violin teachers are either very tense and harsh, or they simply don’t care enough to teach you well. But they all charged like they were seasoned orchestra pros. The single most important aspect of learning to play the violin successfully is your instructor. If you have some kind of beatnik violin player who never even played in an orchestra and doesn’t really care if will you ever learn … or some old, frustrated perfectionist teacher who will rip you apart for some minor mistake … then you’ll have a very tough time learning violin.

Teaching Music – The Early Stages

Obviously, the basic “Principles of Teaching” is based on the intermediate to advanced student of the piano. Since we all begin at the same place, it is crucial to understand, from the outset, what is expected.

Daily practice and consistent lessons are the foundation for study. Daily practice because the basic skills must be acquired through regular use and consistent lessons since the commitment to the weekly time allotted in the teacher’s schedule must be respected. As we all know from experience, if we give ourselves an out–we will take it.

Daily practice should consist of carefully following the teacher’s instructions. Two or four measure sections repeated four to six times would be a minimum. Trouble spots often require eight or more repetitions. Remember, a sloppy repetition yields a sloppy performance.