Today I played my violin at Vision New England's Congress 2005. Gordon College had a booth there among the various college exhibits, and they wanted a music student to provide some background music. They offered to pay me plus travel expenses. Melissa kindly offered to go with me (they ended up paying both of us, which was super), and we played duos. In order to make transportation into Boston easiest, I spent the night at her house last night. It was fun. We watched Immortal Beloved, ate the best popcorn I've had in ages, and lit candles. I had a great time.
After playing at the convention, I crossed over to the proverbial dark side - and spent a bunch of money in the process. Let me explain. In this world, when categorizing violinists, there are Those-Who-Play-With-Shoulder-Rests, and there are Those-Who-Play-Without-Shoulder-Rests. For the last three or four years of my life, I have been one of the few and the proud, one of the old-school types, one of Those-Who-Play-Without-Shoulder-Rests. (My teacher considers them a "crutch" - although most of his students do use them.) Then, yesterday I tried Melissa's shoulder rest. It was a revelation! I could shift so much more easily! I could hold my violin without clutching my shoulder in the least! I could play double-stops much more easily! So today I walked into a violin shop in Boston, tried about six or seven different shoulder rests, and settled on the KUN Bravo. Expensive, but oh, isn't it beautiful?