Does my B-flat look big in this?

Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy is having spring worries about her working kit.


A few months back I unthinkingly tried playing a $4 million violin along with a $100,000 bow. Nearly everything about the pair made me feel like I could play anything. I sounded amazing and the lack of effort to produce such a wonderful sound made playing joyous. My professional self esteem went through the roof but playing on that fantastic duo instantly made me see flaws in my own violin and bow, perhaps much more than really existed. It became very difficult to enjoy my own instruments and that is what started my violinist’s version of “does this make me look fat?”

Read on here.


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  • Ironically, the opposite may often be true too. I know of players, both amateurs and people at the peak of their profession who were taken out of their comfort zone by a less than ideal instrument. It posed a challenge to them and made them rethink their approach and technique.

  • Happens with everything in life. It’s like driving a Porsche 911 and then going back to your Volkswagen, it will never feel as good. Ignorance is bliss!

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