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Since I got the new violin a few weeks back I've been having
problems with the violin sliding off of my collarbone when I practice.
It wouldn't do it all at once of course, but it made no difference,
the minute the instrument began its forward slide all hell would break
loose. I found myself hitting wrong notes, even the wrong strings. Not
to mention the fact that at intervals I would have to stop completely
and push the violin back in position. The problem was so pronounced that
a Wohlfahrt exercise that would normally take 3 minutes was taking
pretty much twice that. And of course the stops and starts made were
working against the educational benefit of the exercise.

This simply could not continue if I were to progress any further. As
such I went up to my local violin shop to see if I could find a new
chinrest that might keep all that from happening. Based upon how I tend
to hold the violin and the position of my chin I figured that a Strad
type chinrest might work. The Strad chinrest has a small hump (that's
actually what they call it) that extends over the tailpiece. Trying one
out at the shop I found that the Strad did in fact work just fine — my
chin resting up against the hump keeps it from sliding.

The chinrest cost $38, but the guy at the shop gave me an $8 trade-in
allowance for the old chinrest. And, since he didn't happen to have the
particular type of rosin that I've been looking for, he gave me a free
cake of the rosin he makes himself. I am going to use it for a while —
anything is better than the crappy Cremona rosin that came with the

He also showed me a German made violin that he had just gotten in that
had some really nifty new type of violin pegs. Boy they were an absolute
breeze to tune. He said he would give me the pegs for $150. I have a few
other upgrades I need to do first but I am definitely putting the pegs
on my wish list. Besides a few instuments I also checked out a whalebone
wrap style bow he had, but didn't like it much.

The shop also boasts the largest aquarium in Spokane. It was full of
so many beautiful fish, and my sister and me spent a good number of
minutes looking at them and asking what type they were. I particularly
liked one called a Christmas wrasse. It looked unworldly — but, no, it
is from this world.

You know the guy had heard my pathetic playing when I was trying out the
chinrest, but nevertheless as we were standing in front of the fish tank
he happened to mention they had a small practice room at the back of the
shop if I were to want to pick up a few students and do some teaching.

Teaching? Was he frigging shitting me? I think that guy must have been
inhaling way too much violin varnish over the years. :p

A Christmas Wrasse.