Saturday, August 6, 2016

Going Home

My kids gave me a violin for Christmas 2 years ago.  I was so excited.  It was on my wish lit, and still on my bucket list is learning to play it.  The first 4 months or so, I pulled it out often.  Found the proper app so I could tune it correctly.   Learned how to care for the bow.  Figured out The Irish Jig for a St. Patrick's Day party.  I was so gung-ho. I always put it away properly when I was finished playing.   [I also learned how not to tune it correctly.  I was trying to find concert A.  I tightened that string, and no change in pitch.  How can that be?  I tried again, same story.  Third time, BOING! the E string broke.  I had been turning the wrong peg!  Oops.  I put it away and forgot about it.  (And I call myself a music teacher.)]

I re-discovered my violin when I was packing to move.  In the new house, I kept that violin visible.  I wasn't going to lose it among the boxes.  I wasn't going to forget about it among all the other demands on my time.  This past Sunday, I took it out to see what I remembered.  I wanted to play Yankee Doodle.  You can imagine how out of tune it was after so many months resting in its case.  No prob, I said.  I know how to tune it!  What I didn't have was much luck keeping the little bridge in place.  The bridge, that little bit of wood to hold the strings above the body of the instrument.  It sends the vibrations of the strings to the soundboard of the instrument, which then sends the vibrations to the surrounding air and creates music.  (Sometimes questionable music -- squeak, cringe.)

Anyway, I tightened up on the A string, and pop!, the bridge went flying across the room.  I fetched it up, replaced it, worked on the D string and pop! again, under the furniture goes the bridge.  This went on for too long.  I decided then and there it was time to get serious.  It was time for a violin lesson.  Went online, found a teacher at the local music store, and started lessons last night.  Oh, such fun.

Maybe.  But first, the teacher had to replace the bridge for me, and tune that poor, neglected violin.  It had sat so long, the pegs were loose,  The bridge was not cooperating.  The fine-tuners were set, hard to turn.  Yeah, I spent most of that first lesson watching and listening as my teacher tuned my violin.  Exciting?  Not really.  Important?  You bet!  Now I think I can proceed without popping the bridge, or the E string, and if all goes well, receive the pitch results I'm aiming for!

We had a few minutes left in the lesson.  I learned how to hold the bow properly.  What I had read online way back when was good, if perhaps a little incomplete.  Last night, not only did I learn how to hold the bow; he also taught me how to hold my arm, my fingers, my wrist.  A lot to think about.  I did well enough that he finally let me play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!  My form was not good, I dropped my arm, arched my wrist, bowed up when I was supposed to bow down, and really played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!

I heard Dvorak's New World Symphony as I drove home. When I got inside the house, I pulled out my dear violin, tightened up the bow, and played the theme from the Second Movement.  I will never make the concert stage, but what satisfaction to hear a favorite tune and be able to reproduce it, just like that.  I think I'm going to like these lessons.

[This post was supposed to have gone out on 8/6, but seeing as it is still in my draft box, I'm going to try again.  Between 8/6 and today, I have enjoyed my violin lessons and finally moved beyond Twinkle, Twinkle.  I have also experienced something of what my own students face every week at their lessons.  Topic for another post.]