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    Brad Stevens
    Participant

    Hello, fellow violinists. I was on a chat a couple weeks ago but never thought about introducing myself here.

    I’m Pastor Brad on the chat, since that is what I do now for the last 16 years. I was a Minister of Music for about twenty years before that. I got my Bachelor and Master degrees in voice and conducting and started to learn some strings when I had to take an instrumental methods class in strings in my Master’s program at seminary. The purpose was to prepare us to “teach” strings as a classroom music teacher might be called on to do. I’m a pretty big guy, so they made me take the viola. I liked it but didn’t LOVE it. After my degree program, I took a workshop in orchestral conducting for choral conductors and learned quite a lot there.

    Years later, I got a $69 Skylark from the Sears catalog and found out that it was easier for me to play the violin than the viola, and I started playing with what I could recall from the class. I made friends with some strings players in the area and have had two sort of part time, when-we-could-work-something-out, teachers who had great credentials; but we never really worked together on anything close to a regular basis. I got one of them to start some violin classes in my church, and I was playing along with them. She sort of spazzed out and disappeared, so I was going to refund everyone’s tuition, but the students and parents wanted me to just keep them going. So back to my books and asking questions of anyone I could get to listen, since there was no internet back then, and we had some pretty good successes for a few years. Then I just ran out of time to keep it going and never could find another teacher to take over.

    During that time, I acquired a better instrument at a flea market — a long story for another time — then was gifted with a very nice violin that a local judge had played on cruises when working his way through law school — there’s another story about that one for some day. I have done some restorations “beater” instruments at the urging and with the guidance of my luthier — I had a long history of fine furniture restoration, so he thought I should give it a go. I also have a violin and two violas by Scott Cao. So I have good instruments and good bows, but I do not yet play worthy of them.

    I have become too comfortable in first position — with no teacher to push me, I just fall back into my successes. I spent the last dozen years or so only picking up my instrument every few weeks, if even that often. So I’ve decided to push forward, but now with rheumatoid and degenerative arthritis — in my neck, hands, elbows, and shoulders — to restrict my practice endurance. I keep a violin in my office and on my piano at home so that I have one handy every time I get up from my desk for something or just have a few minutes before I get involved in whatever is next.

    Get me started on my violins, and I can obviously go on and on. I’m looking forward to some more lurking, looking, and learning before I start on the webinars. I still need to figure out how far I have progressed and at what level I am stalled at this point.

    #6289 Reply

    Brad Stevens
    Participant

    Just coming back from the contest page to reintroduce myself.

    Hello. My name is Brad, and I love the violin.

    #6406 Reply

    Mariko
    Participant

    Hi Brad, I read in your September post that you’re too comfortable in first position. So, have you moved on to higher positions now? How is that going?

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