Rebecca Raney - The Reckless Violinist

Respectable journalist. Terrible waitress. Reckless Violinist. Noir novelist. Longtime contributor at The New York Times. Sign up to follow my cross-platform project about money, merit and music in the turmoil of America.

Featured Post

Two Years of Music, Success and Sorrow

Good morning! It feels like many years have passed since the depths of the lockdown, when I decided to turn long hours of seclusion into an opportunity to play the violin again. In that time, I learned to play, and I recovered a great deal more: A lost identity, and a pathway through tragedies...
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5 months ago • 3 min read

Saving My Son: Yes! Learning the Violin Played a Big Role

Did you see that woman at the airport, screaming from the top of the escalator? Get up! Please! You’ve got to get on this plane! Please! Please!” That woman was me, of course. I was panicked and pleading with my child, after having tried every trick in the book to get him on an aircraft. My...
12 months ago • 3 min read

The Madcap Method: Hillbilly Mozart

Good afternoon! I’m happy to report that I’m still playing the violin. But I’m definitely pursuing my playing in a way that my teachers would not have liked. Earlier this year, I abandoned plans to dissect two of the major violin concertos – the Khachaturian and the Mendelssohn. If I had pushed...
about 1 year ago • 1 min read

Finding Joy in Difficult Times

Good morning! At this moment, it feels like we’re living in a constant state of national mourning in the United States. We mourn our lost children, we mourn our sense of progress, and we mourn the shared values that once made this nation seem undefeatable. For me, the larger losses of society...
over 1 year ago • 2 min read

From Zero to Mozart in a Year: The Secret to Success

During the last few weeks, I’ve been drafting, scripting, cutting clips and laying down the backing tracks for my one-year violin progress reel. The “violin progress” genre is a big deal on YouTube, so I wanted to get it right. As I pieced together a narrative, I thought about all the factors...
over 1 year ago • 1 min read

My Month with Mozart: A Respite from Disaster

January was awful. The soundtrack: Hissing and howling, broken only by the heavenly melodies of Mozart. The month started with the uncomfortable decision to send a child to school during a COVID surge, just after he had recovered from major surgery. It continued with a barrage of traumatic...
over 1 year ago • 3 min read

Jan. 6 Edition: Fiddling While Rome Burns

This time last year, I was getting ready to play the violin again. Just after the election, the local violin maker refurbished the instrument. During the weeks after that, I learned how to tune again. It took me at least a half-hour to tune, every time. My neck was not ready for the challenge....
over 1 year ago • 1 min read

Take That, Tchaikovsky. I Can Play Again

Good morning! When I sat down this month to work up the overture for the Nutcracker, it felt like a big moment. This time last year, I had just gotten my violin back from the shop, and I thought I would sit down and kick out the Nutcracker after 25 years away. Well . . . it didn't work out that...
almost 2 years ago • 1 min read

The Audition Coach: How to Dress

Today I’m asking myself this question: Which idea came first? Was it the desire to mock all the advice I received about my attire as a competitive musician from the wrong side of town? Or was it the desire to play silly songs from Die Fledermaus? It’s hard to say, really, but both wishes came...
almost 2 years ago • 1 min read

The Audition Coach: How To Win

Good morning! It’s fall in California, and the cool weather reminds me of one thing: Youth Symphony. The auditions. The challenge system. The constant jockeying for position. It’s the place where I learned how to compete. Here's what I didn't learn: That the real white-collar world didn’t...
almost 2 years ago • 1 min read
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