dumb violin questions facepalmAs a professional violinist, I get asked a lot of questions.  Is the violin hard?  Are your strings really made out of cat gut?  How old were you when you started?  And many more.  Some of these questions are easy to answer.  On the other hand, I’ve also been asked enough dumb violin questions to fill Carnegie Hall.

I spent about a week sifting through violin questions on the interwebs and came up with these 9.  Most of them come from Quora, but a few come from other places.  Maybe there are dumber questions than these?  If so, you should comment below or find me on the web (look to the right) and let me know.  Thanks for reading!

How long do you have to play the violin to not sound like a dying goat?

The question speaks for itself.  It sounds to me like the person asking wants to know how long his family, friends, and pets will have to endure his horrible playing.  Or he’s asking for a friend who makes such noises.  Either way, the question is both inaccurate (bad violin playing sounds more like a cat in heat) and sad.

Is the viola considered an inferior instrument to the violin?

…and why are talented children encouraged to play the violin rather than the viola?

Well, my instinctive answer for both questions is always yes.  Yes the viola is inferior.  All instruments are inferior to the violin.  All talented children should learn violin and nothing else.  Obviously, the real answer is no, the viola is a beautiful and necessary instrument on its own.  Children should learn whichever instrument they are drawn to unless it’s saxaphone.  Never saxaphone.

What is the difference between a violin and a fiddle?

Sigh.  I hate this question.  It comes up a lot, unfortunately.  My honest answer is, a fiddle is just a cheap violin that doesn’t have to sound nice when you play it, and I use “fiddle” as a slang term for violin.  Unfortunately, I have to be a little more diplomatic and answer more like this; a violin and fiddle are the same instrument.  The name comes from how you play it.  The diplomatic answer is actually correct too.

How can I learn violin without lessons?

You can’t.  Next.


Should I apply rosin to the bow before or after I play?

Um, what?  Of the dozens of violin questions I read in the last week, this one is one of the most ignorant.  If you want to get any benefit from rosin, you must apply it before you play.  I mean, right?

Is playing the violin only for the best class of people?

Yes it is.  The best class. Seriously, do we violinists seem like a better class of people?  I mean, we are, but do we appear that pretentious?

Why is the violin associated with the devil?

My instinct kicks in and the first thing I think of is…that stupid song.

Another reason (if this question is even accurate) is the story of Paganini and his astounding violin technique.  He was said to be a minion of the Devil since no other mortal could play the violin as he did.  Not for nothing, Paganini wrote music that he could play which is why most of his music is so !@#$! difficult.

Is the violin an instrument for girls?

Well, there are countless brilliant violinists who happen to be female.  On the other hand, there are an equal amount of men who play as well.  It should be noted that until very recently, The Vienna Philharmonic employed exactly zero women.  It’s both surprising and tragic that an organization made up of musicians (normally very inclusive when it comes to race/gender/lifestyle), would allow this to happen.

And finally, my personal favorite…

I am looking for a solo I can play on my violin to people who complain to me about their lives. What is the saddest violin solo, preferably with sheet music?

This actually cracks me up.  I’m not sure if the person asking was doing so to actually get an answer or to be funny, but either way, it worked.  For the record, you could play this section of Zigunerweisen.  It’s always used in Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Violin Questions – One last one for fun

How well does LeBron play violin?

I’ll put it to you this way.  If Michael Jordan is Joshua Bell, then Lebron is me at 5 years old scratching through Twinkle Twinkle.  See, we violin players know a thing or two about sports also.

Do you know any violin questions that are just as dumb as these?  If so, let me know in the comments or hit me up on facebook.






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