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Boy Gifted Rare ‘Southpaw’ Violin

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Gordy Leach Gordy Leach
Gordy Leach graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1974 wi...
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By Gordy Leach, WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis fifth grader got a new and altogether rare violin Wednesday.

Whereas most violins are played with the bow in the right hand, 10-year-old George Muller has been using his underdeveloped left hand to bow while his right hand moves on the fingerboard.

His instructor restrung a violin so Muller could play right-handed, but the inside of that instrument was still backwards. He was essentially playing the instrument as if in a mirror.

On Wednesday, he received a special “reversed” violin as a gift from MacPhail Center for Music and Givens Violins in Minneapolis.

“There are two things that are different,” explained violin instructor Teresa Campbell. “One is that the sound post, which stands sort of underneath where the bridge is, is on the opposite side from most violins, and also the bass board is on the opposite side as well.”

George had been accepted into MacPhail’s Pathways to Performance program three years ago.

The violin was made in China, and is extremely rare.

“I’m aware that it’s possible to do it,” said Claire Givens. “Givens Violins has been in existence 33 years, and we’ve never done it.”

Muller said he likes the sound of his new violin, and can describe it with one word: “Awesome.”

Muller is learning to play the theme from “Star Wars,” and his violin experience has taught him that many things are possible with patience and perseverance.

Muller’s instructor says she has seen him change from a self-conscious third-grader to a fifth-grader who has no problem playing before an audience.

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