Julian Hawkhead, Managing partner at Stowe Family Law in Leeds, on his passion for playing the violin.
I started playing the violin at the age of four.
My parents wanted me to learn the piano but unfortunately I was too small to reach the pedals (some people think I still am!)
I can thank my parents for my passion for the violin. They made me practise every day (even though I didn’t want to); they ferried me to every music lesson, rehearsal and concert and put up with the scratching sounds that every beginner violinist creates. Then suddenly one day it all clicked.
My children are currently learning the cello, so now it’s my turn to experience some of the battles in getting them to practise.
But there are also the rewards when they pass their exams and the pride in watching them perform.
I think every child aspires to be the next young musician of the year. However, the commitment involved in practising for hours every day and the unsocial performance hours would have taken the joy out of playing for me.
I have played first violin in the Leeds Symphony Orchestra and the West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra.
I have had the privilege of playing with some very competent amateur musicians, but we all look and listen in awe at some of the guest soloists that have played some of the great violin concertos with us.
I don’t really like to judge my ability as a musician but I would describe myself as a solid orchestral first violinist.
In my youth I was actually a better flautist but I much prefer the violin for orchestra playing as I like to play the tune!
I also played the saxophone (because I felt it was cooler than the flute) and also the keyboard, but it is very difficult to find the time to fit all that music into a busy working life.
I have had my violin since I was 12. My violin teacher sourced it from an old lady who couldn’t play any more and wanted to pass it on. I would like to think I have looked after it well and it has certainly served me well, travelling around Europe with me on various youth orchestra tours.
I believe it is German in origin and dates from the 19th century, but isn’t worth a fortune.
I always find immediate comfort in picking up my violin and rehearsing with other musicians. I find that playing music is very therapeutic as it takes your mind off everything else. A midweek rehearsal sometimes really helps in giving me the opportunity to pause for breath.
Having recently opened our new office in central Leeds we are really busy with new enquiries, re-establishing business connections and making new ones. Playing the violin gives me that essential ‘me time’ and also reminds me of where I have come from, and the effort it has taken to get to where I am.