The thing is, I think you just have to do it. You’ll figure it out. People in my family would tell you: “The violin can’t be learned”. Well, I never really believed that!
It’s not like getting into a band and learning the guitar, where all the musicians are all super good at it. The thing about the violin is, is a very small group of players that understand it perfectly – and they have to be.
We’re all very good – we’ve all made our own musical choices.
Was your dad playing the violin?
No, he’d been a teacher in school. He’s not a real musician, but he played some. I’m not exactly sure, but he’s played for me and for other kids in the past. He taught me, and then I played for him and he played the violin and it’s something that I’ve never really played.
But you are the second violinist that’s been part of The Downton Abbey family, right?
Yes, my dad is a violinist. He was a professor of violin, and then he also did teaching – but in general he was a full-on music teacher.
Did he play with you as a child?
Yeah, yeah – he had a violin and a flute and did everything in between. It was actually quite scary. I was 11 or 12, and it was scary sitting on my own, and he’s a bit of a scary guy.
The whole family were all terrified of him. My mother was really shy as well – she was afraid of him as a child, and as she grew up she became more outgoing, and it was even more fearful and scary. She was a very quiet child. So, I think it was really hard for all of us, but my dad was very protective of us kids.
So he was in your life before marrying your mum and he also played with you before meeting your mum?
That’s right. That was quite a special thing for him – and not for any other reason, obviously, we both love him more than anything. But he had a few years of piano lessons as well, which he’d had as a young person. It was just all the same things, the family, playing music – something that he was very passionate about.
Did you always have a love of playing?
Oh yeah, I do. But it wasn’t
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