A lesson a day, Arizona, DVD lessons, friends, Kennedy Violin, musiciansfriend, orchestra, priorities, rain, regrets, responsibilities, second chances, sunshine, supportive spouse, talents, Utah, youtube lessons
I love the violin, and I would love to be able to play my violin in such a way that the beauty of the sound resonated within the soul of those who heard it, as well as within me.
I initially began playing the instrument in 4th grade. I’m not 100% on the accuracy of my memory but I think I was in 3rd grade and my brother was in 4th that he began playing the violin through the musical program of our local school district, in a small town in Utah. Seeing him practice I determined I really, really wanted to play too. Once I was eligible grade wise, I joined the school orchestra and thus began learning to play. That’s the good news.
The not so good news is that during the two years we lived in that small town in Utah I didn’t practice as diligently as I should. I suppose firstly it’s because I was a kid and thus not only had a lot of responsibilities between school and helping out a LOT at home. Secondly I also wanted to play with my friends whenever possible.
Nevertheless I must have done well enough as I stayed in orchestra through fifth grade and planned on continuing with it in Middle School; which began with 6th grade in Utah.
The bad news is my parents moved our family from Utah that summer; not to Arizona as was the original plan; at the last minute we instead moved to Oregon. (Liquid sunshine summers over blazing sun filled summers…sheesh!)
This move, while providing the benefit of being geographically close to grandparents, meant the loss of free orchestra lessons in school, as Oregon, unlike Utah, did not provide an orchestra program.
Likely due to too many children with needs to be met and insufficient funds for private lessons, my mom put the violin into the attic where it remained until eventually it was sold.
In the meantime, I got on with the business of surviving childhood, school, relationships, etc., thus shelving my passion for the violin—only to have it resurface later in adulthood. By that time I figured my turn was passed. But as I again lived in Utah, and the orchestra was still a part of the school curriculum, and since she expressed interest, I ordered an inexpensive violin from a catalog so my daughter could join the orchestra program.
To fast forward a decade later is to find me back in Oregon, having divorced my first husband and now married to Brian. Upon learning I had previous experience with violin, and perhaps being passionate about classical music, Brian began to encourage me to take violin back up. I’m not sure how he feels about the fact I am not passionate about classical but instead loving playing rock ballads and look forward to taking up playing the blues—nevertheless he’s still supportive.
Initially I insisted taking up playing violin again wasn’t practical. However, it seems a spark must have been lit in me as within the next couple years I found the desire was growing. About three years ago, in communicating with my brother (the musical one) I learned how much has changed in the past couple decades; between DVD lessons and youtube videos I’d guess one can learn to play just about any instrument.
Today I have not only a practice violin, but a lovely violin outfit my husband purchased, from Kennedy Violins, as last year’s birthday gift. I now have numerous instruction and song books and I find the variety is very nice as I tend to get bored otherwise. Most were ordered from musiciansfriend.com. as the selection is vast and the price is reasonable. The series I like the best is “A lesson a day”; I’ve found it be the most comprehensive. When I want to see something in action I go to youtube as there seems to be an endless number of videos to watch by a variety of sources.
My hurdle, it turns out, is not so different from that which I struggled as a child: finding the will and motivation to practice. It took me about three months, after ordering my first violin, to really get down to the business of playing again. Once I did I found, much to my surprise, that the basics came back to me very quickly. I stayed fairly motivated for a bit, but it seems with each hurdle life throws at me: an illness; first grandchild being born; you name it, I slack off from daily, or even consistent practice, and have a real hard time getting back into a groove again.
I’m starting to question if there is some unconscious programing going on in my head, carried forward from childhood, as I seem to feel mentally overwhelmed between household responsibilities and child care. (I have a special needs child and now provide child care of my grandchild as well). I’m often tired, so during moments of downtime too often I choose to read a book or watch Netflix streaming of TV shows over practicing violin.
However, just before I sat down to type this blog, (which has been interrupted multiple times to tend to the needs of my 9 month old granddaughter), I actually stopped myself from taking on another household task and instead pulled my “good” violin from its case, opened up a book of songs and practiced playing “Unchained Melody”. (Oh, how I love that song!)
I’ve laundry washing in the machine; crap scattered across my dining table (was a bill paying morning); newspapers scattered about on the floor (busyness of the baby), and wood floors that need sweeping. Most of these tasks I’ll attempt to take on in a moment. And if I have energy left, with luck I’ll manage to do some ironing this evening while I watch some TV, but more likely I’ll spend that TV time folding the cloths, which by that time will be dry.
For now, however, I don’t regret those minutes I spent practicing violin. I’m recognizing I’ve got to allow myself to drop all these tasks calling to me, momentarily, a lot more often– like daily– to take 5 to 20 minutes, or so, to play. I deserve it, and I owe it to myself. I’m not getting younger—and should I make it to old age, I have a feeling I won’t sit back and fret over the memory of these days of late where the household tasks are mounting faster than I can now keep up with them. But I know for certain I’d regret if I didn’t allow for and make time to play my violin. The dust, and the clutter (I HOPE) won’t last forever, but, if I don’t allow time now, to develop this talent to the best of my ability—whatever that may turn out to be, I’ll never be able to get these days back, to do it.