I got a new violin today! I'm so SO excited!
When I rented my violin, I thought that one possibility was to actually buy it at some point. I didn't know what to look for and it sounded fine to me. Since I've been playing, I've come to dislike the sound quite a bit. That horrible reputation that new violinists have for screeching really is true. Sometimes I didn't even want to practice because I didn't like the way it sounded. At the beginning, of course, you don't know if it's you or the violin - perhaps both.
At some point very recently, it got to be too much to bear. I spoke with my teacher about this and she said that it meant it was time to upgrade. My options were to purchase a violin and the more I could spend would get me a better violin, obviously, and the other option was to rent a higher quality. I decided I was going to rent the next tier up until I was ready to buy.
Somewhere in the middle of the conversation with my teacher, she mentioned that she had already vetted out a couple of violins (from a field of at least 15!) with another student. She found two that sounded great and her other student bought one of them. She made notes on this one in case she could recommend it to someone else.
For me, that was good enough. I didn't really know how to make this decision and while she offered to come with me, I was looking at doing the same thing she did with her other student. I decided to buy the "other" violin. Ready to just purchase, sight unseen, based completely on trust, I went to the violin store today. This place was amazing. And beautiful. And the service was fantastic.
The woman who helped me at first brought me the violin that was reserved for me ahead of time, and five bows to try out. My rental bow was uncomfortable to use. It felt heavy and I had a hard time keeping my grip in the proper way. I felt that finding a bow was probably more up my alley than finding the right instrument. I closed the door to a private room and played the violin with each bow. This is probably really stupid, but I didn't want to play any tunes because I was embarrassed at my skills. I really just wanted to pick out three of the five and take them home to try. Two of the bows were clearly "no's" and I couldn't tell the difference between the other three.
Rather than let me buy the violin right then and there, they suggested I check it out for a week with the bows. They even let me check out a brand new case, that I will buy when I go back. The thing is, that if I buy the whole outfit together I get a discount so she didn't want me to buy any parts separately. Is that cool or what? After such a lovely experience, I drove away with the biggest smile on my face.
At the first opportunity, I got out the violin and played. It's beautiful. It sounds beautiful - not squeaky or harsh - but mellow and powerful at the same time. The three bows that I couldn't tell apart in the store were very different at home and one of them clearly stands out as superior. It didn't take long to figure that out.
It feels like I was driving a 15-year-old beater car and upgraded to a luxury model. The thing about being a beginner is that you don't have the experience to know the difference when you're driving the beater, but you certainly know the difference when you drive the luxury model!
I'm just thrilled. I'm on cloud-9 and I want to play and keep playing. I'm so happy!