The violin is easily the most well-known bowed string instrument across the world, and it is really not all that surprising to see that the violin does in fact have a day dedicated to its existence! After all, everything from Western and Indian classical music to bluegrass and jazz would be unimaginable today without the violin.
It is quite possibly the most versatile instrument in the world in terms of repertoire–and that must be why there is a special day all its own to celebrate the violin.
History of National Violin Day
The violin itself seems to have evolved from medieval instruments that were like fiddles. It came into its own distinct form by the 15th century, becoming the most popular virtuoso instrument in Europe by the 1660s. Most violins made today are copies after either Stradivarius or Amati, the latter being active as a violin maker in the 16th century.
Today, the violin not only remains an indispensable feature of western classical music, but has found its way into various forms of classical and folk music around the world as well as various other genres. There are a lot of violinists and fiddle players throughout the world today, so it is easy to see why National Violin Day has caught on!
In fact, the violin is present in the most prestigious musical groups in the world, including the Venetian Philharmonic Orchestra. Imagine an instrument with such humble beginnings becoming such an important mainstay of modern classical music.
Now it’s time to celebrate the day revolving around this humble instrument!
How to Celebrate National Violin Day
For those who want to get involved with National Violin Day but are not quite sure where to start, these ideas might help to set the stage for the day:
Play the Violin
Well, for those who happen to play the instrument, then it is a no-brainer to go ahead and play the violin in honor of National Violin Day. Get that violin out of its case, tune it, place some rosin on the bow, and get ready to make some beautiful music in honor of the day! And those who are a little bit out of practice might want to invest in some ear plugs for family members.
Go to a Violin Concert
For those who simply want to appreciate the sound of the violin without actually playing it, then it might be a great idea to go to a concert where the instrument would be played on National Violin Day.
Not sure where to go? Try out one of these important groups that is sure to feature a superb violinist or two:
- Boston Symphony Orchestra
Playing at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, this orchestra also features a Young People’s Concert Series to allow the public to hear up-and-coming new talent.
- Itzhak Perlman
Undoubtedly one of the most talented violinists alive today, Perlman has achieved almost super star status with his instrument.
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Mixing classical music talent with rock band style, this group plays all round the world and, yes, they feature many songs with a violin. It’s not necessarily “classical”, but a modern ear for music just might love it.
Give a Gift to a Favorite Violinist
For those who happen to know someone interested in learning the violin but who doesn’t have an instrument – today would be the perfect occasion to gift that person a violin. Or gift something to a violinist in your circle, even if it’s just some sheet music, some rosin or just a little card to show appreciation for them and their attempt at mastery of the instrument.
The modern violin family includes not only the violin, but also the viola, the violoncello, and the double bass as well. So for those who know any cellists or violists, today would also be a great day to listen to them play or to get them a gift as well!
Watch a Film About the Violin
Interested in learning more but not ready for a live performance yet? That’s okay! National Violin Day is a great way to feed a mild interest by watching a film about the instrument. Whether fiction or documentary, these movies would be a great way to get started:
- Music of the Heart (1999), starring Meryl Streep
This biographical drama features the true store of Roberta Guaspari, who was a violin teacher in Harlem in the late 1980s.
- Orchestra of Exiles (2012), written by Josh Aronson
This documentary tells the true story of a Polish violinist who founded the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Small Wonders (1995), directed by Allan Miller
This is the Academy Award nominated documentary upon which Music of the Heart was based. It tells the story of the kids in East Harlem and their violinist teacher who went against the odds to play at Carnegie Hall.
- A Late Quartet (2012), starring Christopher Walken
This movie tells the story of a group of four struggling musicians who face serious challenges when their cellist is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Start Taking Violin Lessons
For those who have ever had the inclination to learn the violin, or perhaps have one laying around unused, this day is just the perfect time to start taking violin lessons. Start with the basics like brushing up on how to read music and then get to practicing. Don’t forget other important equipment such as a practice mute, extra set of strings, metronome and a comfortable shoulder rest.