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Violinists – a dying breed?


It’s that time of the year when amateur orchestras around the country are preparing to give concerts. As the concert date draws near, I see more and more of these orchestras sending out appeals for additional violinists to support the orchestra and provide the necessary balance. The problem is, as older violinists ‘retire’ from orchestral playing, the number of younger players coming in has shrunk alarmingly. Quite apart from the fact that instrumental lesson provision in schools has declined generally, numbers of young violinists are often particularly low.

The ‘problem’ is that the violin is perceived as ‘difficult’ when compared with more classroom-friendly instruments such as keyboards and ukeleles – even young wind players can usually get on quite quickly. A school might have a band for the wind and brass players – but nothing for the young string players who may need help with tuning etc. Some parents shudder at the thought of living with a ‘beginner violinist’ – and may even discourage practising! As the numbers of string players decline, the violin is no longer seen as ‘cool’ – so fewer youngsters want to learn…

Yet the violin, with it’s long, long history, is an instrument of real beauty – as some of our players would love to demonstrate. You can listen to them here as they play “The Star of the County Down”. The world of music, from Symphony Orchestra to folk group, needs violinists – we need to save them from extinction!

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