Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Like Riding a Bike, Right?

Re-learning something you already knew how to do once should be just like riding a bike, right? I mean, how hard can it be to pick up the old instrument, dust it off, tune it up, and play your heart out, even if it has been 18 years?

Pretty hard.

I played the violin from the 4th grade through the 9th grade. I quit orchestra (and subsequently violin) to join the choir. I couldn't do both at that point. I had my reasons (okay, all the cute boys were in choir, there were none in orchestra).

A couple years later, after an interstate move, I had the opportunity to take up the violin again. But I was too chicken. I thought, All these other kids have been playing consistently, with private lessons, for 7-8 years now. I haven't touched my violin since I quit two years ago. I'll be so far behind.

In college, I tried playing again for one semester. I joined the University Orchestra, a walk-in orchestra where they didn't require an audition. They did, however, require chair auditions. I made 2nd violin, 39th chair. Any of you familiar with that will understand what that meant. Outer darkness. I think there was one person who was lower than me. I was terrible. I could hardly keep up, and honestly, air-bowed a lot of the music because it was too hard and I was too chicken to ask for help.

I put down the violin and didn't try again until after graduating from college. See, I had this violin that my parents had gotten from my aunt for me to use. When I quit in 9th grade, my aunt didn't want it back. So I've been carrying this instrument around with me ever since. Anyway, I moved away to teach the 2nd grade. I found a teacher, someone through church, and started up private lessons. But she was too demanding. On top of teaching school for my first year, which is demanding in and of itself, she wanted me to practice one hour every day. I wasn't ever even home for one hour every day. I tried to practice during my lunch period, which was 45 minutes, so I would eat my lunch really fast and then practice. It didn't work. I wanted my break to socialize with the other teachers and relax. After two months of this, I finally quit. That was in 2000.

In 2009, my husband and I moved back to the area in which I attended high school. I knew some people from high school who were in orchestra then and asked for teacher recommendations. I found a teacher in my area, someone that I actually went to high school with. Now I am taking lessons.

Let me tell you, playing the violin is NOT like riding a bicycle. I have had to relearn everything.

How to hold the violin. How to hold the bow. Where to put my fingers on the strings. The list goes on and on. It is hard.

But it's so satisfying. I'm glad I decided to do it again. I've been missing it all these years.


Stacy said...

I'm so impressed that you're doing that- you're right! It is seriously hard! Even though I've been teaching pretty constantly, I still think my violin skills are way out of shape. Keep it up, you're doing something great.

NatureGirl said...

Hooray for you!

I keep forgetting to dig through MMB to find your new posts, so I figured it would just be easier to follow you...duh! I know, slow learner..

Becky said...

I am JEALOUS of you! I played all through school but quit the second I was out of high school. I would love to take lessons again as I'd like to teach. Good for you!

Shmonae said...

I don't really know how I found your blog, but I am the same!! I have picked up and put down the violin my whole life. The real kicker is that you train your ear to hear EVERY note and when you pick it back up, nobody knows just how bad you are as you do! It's torture!


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