Is that a violin in that violin case?
Violinist Lara St. John, like many professional musicians, spends much of her time schlepping her instrument through airports, hotel lobbies, and onto the subway. It seems, however, that when some of her fellow travelers see a violin-shaped case, some must not believe there is a violin inside, while others tend to want to discuss their 12 painful years of music lessons.
I a recent blog post, St. John said she once spoke with Joshua Bell about this. According to her, Bell is still perplexed when, after concerts, someone always tells him that they played violin once, “but not as good as you.” It made me wonder if people tell Michael Phelps about their waterwings or Annie Liebowitz about their Viewmasters.
I have met very few people who do not enjoy talking with others about what they do. No matter what the profession, if begin to show some interest, you’ll inevitably find out something interesting you did not know.
I suppose that if I carried a case with me that was shaped like a microphone, I might spend several hours a day explaining to curious folks what was in it. On the other hand, it is always gratifying to have someone tell you they listen to your radio program, they love Classical 101, and then tell you what the music means to them. I never grow tired of that.
St. John has gone so far as to come up with a list of of-the-wall answers to use when people ask. She has even experimented with different cases, with the hope that it will throw the curious off long enough for her to slip by.
So if you happen to see Lara St. John dashing through the airport with her instrument, maybe just let her go. However, if you want to talk music or radio, feel free to tap me on the shoulder.
Read Variations on “Is That a Violin????” (larastjohn.com)