Self confidence, mental and physical health, artistry, technique

Now at the halfway point in featuring my cards, I am writing today not really sure anyone is reading my blog. If you are reading it, please leave me a short comment attached to this post or on Facebook (@violincards, @ViolinistLindaBeers). I also want to bring to your attention that all of these cards, 50 in all, are part of my card deck, Inspiration for Violinists, which are available for purchase at InspirationForViolinists.com or on my website LindaBeers.com.

Rather than featuring one of my cards, in this post I am focusing on the box image and the logo for this blog, The Sound Post. In previous posts I have written about why I created both the card deck and the blog. To recap, the texts on each card were created over a four to five year period of time. I found myself frequently repeating myself to students and I gradually wrote down those ideas which became the basis for the card texts. I created the images in the winter of 2019 while working with Collinsville, CT artist, Elisabeth Moss. At that point in time she held monthly workshops which she called “art sanghas.” Each session would begin with Elisabeth leading the group in a guided meditation. Attendees would then have about 90 minutes to create works of art with Elisabeth’s assistance in using various art media which she supplied. At the end we would review each piece together, listening to the story behind and supporting each other.

I chose the F hole for both the card back and box images as a suggestion to look inward. Sound comes out of the F holes but there is so much going on inside of the violin. The text and images for all of the cards are meant for the viewer to go into their interior not only for expression of music but also for inner wisdom. The cards fall into about four categories: self confidence, mental and physical health, artistry, and technique. As I wrote above, most of the texts represent sage advice drawn from my many years teaching violin students which then lead to creating the images. A couple of cards did begin with the image which then inspired the text. There was even a card that underwent several text revisions because the subject matter is extremely spiritual in nature. I had several friends read over this text and made changes to it until I was sure it was being understood. In many ways the cards created themselves, myself merely the channel.

I made the decision to start writing a blog after it was suggested that it could not only help get the word out about the card deck, but also possibly lead to writing a book at some point. I’m not convinced that I want to write an entire book but I did feel that I had more to say about the cards. A blog would offer a freer way of sharing my thoughts than on poker size cards which, by the way, make them easily kept in a violin case. My web designer suggested that I create a logo for the blog. I set out to draw the logo the same way I approached the card images, beginning with a meditation. However, the logo image itself came to me in a shamanic journey lead by Joyce St. Germaine, thesacredjourney.biz. If you are familiar with shamanism, you will recognize the significance of the three lines pointing downwards towards the right forming a triangle with the line representing the fingerboard. The eyes and mouth form the bridge thereby creating a face. I added my sacred symbol which is the spiral as the scroll for good measure. The journey was with condor to a vortex in the upper world.

The title The Sound Post seemed like a perfect name for a blog that would be mostly about sound and violin playing. Looking like a dowel stick, a violin’s sound post is approximately two inches in length and a quarter inch in diameter. It is wedged in between the top and back of the violin under the bridge. For beginning violin students and their parents, I introduce the sound post as the heart of the violin. I tell them that it is responsible for the beautiful sound produced by the violin. I warn them that it is not permanently attached to the violin. It is not stapled, nailed or glued to the violin. Therefore, any impact to the violin can completely change the way the instrument sounds even if the post only moves a millimeter. If the post drops, the instrument will be rendered not playable. In either case, a proficient luthier (highly trained violin maker and restorer) should be the one to do the repair. 

It should also be noted that professional and serious amateur/student violinists have their sound posts adjusted with a degree of frequency. Whether or not your sound post needs to be adjusted will depend on your instrument and climate conditions. There are some instruments that need to be adjusted seasonally. I have also explored changing the length of the post in my violin. The decision to make any change to the post is individual to the violinist. It is something to be explored if changing out strings isn’t getting the results you want or if there is a sudden change in the quality of your violin’s sound that doesn’t seem related to open cracks or seams.

Like undergoing a medical procedure, I would recommend asking trusted violinists for suggestions about luthiers they have used with success. Even younger, less experienced violinists should be present during a sound post adjustment with a luthier. Luthiers can seem impatient, they may say they don’t hear what you hear, and even act like you’re being neurotic. No matter how strongly recommended this person is, if you are not happy with the results, move on to another shop. For children, it might help to work with a shop such as johnsonstring.com which specializes in high quality children’s instruments. Hopefully this type of shop includes some education surrounding industry standard terminology when it comes to describing string instrument sound.

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