View Full Version : Violin

02-09-06, 06:55 PM
I dunno, it was an assignment... Rusty with writing, but thats why I'm in school right? ;)

Horse hair screeched like the metal of an empty pencil eraser sliding across paper, or like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard. Impatiently waiting for the clock to strike 3:45, I rosined my bow with vigor: hands shaky with sweaty palms. I set my violin back into its emerald fabric-lined case and crouched on my purple vinyl beanbag in quiet meditation. All my music was packed into my bag and everything was placed by the door. My bow, now finely rosined and ready to hit the strings, waited for me patiently. The only thing that wasn't ready was me.
This was my first music lesson with my private instructor in four years. It was also the first time I had even picked up a violin in four years. My soul craved musical release but my doubt -- a powerful critic -- overpowered any hope or excitement for the reunion. Fear consumed me; it coursed through my blood. Will I be good enough? Will I play as brilliantly as I used to? Have I lost the skill, or is it a true talent that's just dormant beneath the surface of my subconscious? Am I ready to do this? No word or thought could quell my anxiety.

It took all the strength and courage I could muster to lock up, fasten my backpack, walk out that door with violin in hand and put one foot in front of the other. Each step seemed to take an eternity and by the time I had walked five blocks (still five to go) it felt like hours had passed. Each house I walked by looked like the one before it. The lawns were pristine with flowers succinctly placed on each side of the wood porches. Pale shades of blue and white trim outlined the shuttered windows. Oak, Willamette, Charnelton, Lincoln, and finally, after what seemed eons and thousands of identical houses... I reached my destination: 15th and Lawrence.

Pat looked distinctly the same but completely different at the same time. He waited outside for me with his Dick Tracy hat protecting him from the wind. Scraggly, no long hair like I last remember him, but elderly all the same, he smiled with his crooked grin and led me inside the practice room. The first thing I noticed was an enormous fluff ball lounged across the back of a Victorian-style sofa. Pat shined with pride and introduced me to his cat named Bill, explaining hat even though Bill is an outside cat, he always waits inside on Violin Lesson days because he absolutely loves the attention. Purring delectably, it crawled over to me ever so saucily and rubbed its head and ears all over me with affection. Slowly, I took in my surroundings and was pleasantly surprised to see beautiful abstract photography adorned across every single wall. Same were framed in crimson poster-board, others were hung off shelves in the most beautiful arrangements. The pictures cast a warm feeling to the room that instantly made me feel comfortable and right at home. I continued to pet his cat and took in the surroundings while he went to get me an apple juice from the fridge. Slowly, my anxiousness subsided and I began to relax a bit. This isn't so bad, I thought to myself as Bill rubbed up against my legs.

Time passed while Pat and I caught up with each other, seeing what was new in our lives and where we were headed. Although I felt much more relaxed, I was still scared of picking up my violin. I kept the conversation going as long as possible to avoid the inevitable. Unfortunately, the time came soon after and Pat told me in a strong voice that we had done enough talking and now it was time for playing. Tentatively, I un-velcroed my case and handed my golden stained wood beauty to him. Notes crackled, leaving me with my hands over my ears because of the severity they were out of tune. The violin was new so the pegs were slippery and it took him 20 minutes just to tune the damn thing. I slowly lathered the silky horse hairs with powder to soothe the friction from bow to string. I didn't need it anymore than I did before I left my house but I calmed myself with the smooth motions, holding onto my last desperate chance to delay playing.

The time had finally come; I pushed myself away from the sofa and Bills warm fur. I held the violin to my chin with wavering hands. My fingers trembled as they curled around the oak bow, resting it at the bottom of the finger board. C Major - three octaves, he told me to play and all I could think to say is You've got to be kidding me. Pursing my lips to avoid saying anything too sassy, I took the final jump and slowly eased my bow across the G string with three fingers in place. The familiar deep resonating tone hit me by surprise but I refused to falter. Onward I went, from G string to D string (by this time I was confident enough to bring in a little vibrato to spice it up) to A string and finally to the E string (this is where it got a little hard). Each chord I struck brought a little bit of my memory back, each time I played the scale I grew a little more confident. I played shaky and it was nothing close to perfect. The third octave sounded horrible and I couldn't play any note on the E string worth a ****, but by the time I reached the third octave I was so ecstatic to be playing it didn't even matter to me anymore. We played the scale a few more times until I got it down pretty good. It was nothing close to perfect but for having picked up violin for the first time in four years it was amazing, to me and Pat. Waves of excitement started to bubble up from my chest. I was really playing! It had been four years since I had access to that place in my heart only available from playing music.

He placed two sheets of duet music on my stand. One had three flats in the key signature while the other had three sharps: tricky music for the violin. I expected him to assign me to play the bottom line filled with notes mostly played on the middle of the staff and not too difficult. I began to realize what faith he had in me when he told me to sight read the top line for a few minutes while he went to the bathroom, and we would get started when he got back. That all too familiar nervousness and doubt began to bubble up inside me again as I looked over the piece and realized how difficult it was. I fingered the more difficult notes and counted the complicated rhythms quietly to in my head, preparing myself as much as possible before he got back. When he entered the room, my palms automatically began to sweat and I tried to wipe them on my jeans so he wouldn't notice how nervous I was. Before I knew it his violin was to his chin as mine and One...Two...Three...

My mind exploded as everything became surreal and comforting. The notes came from within and though they weren't top notch I played beautifully. All at once, I remembered what it was like to have my soul set free from music: to have it coursing through your blood, tingling down your spine, breathing down your neck until you shudder with pleasure. Golden vibrations flew through the air and I felt like I was flying through the universe, unlimited to my outer body and guided by my soul. Stars swept across the galaxy and moons held me in tender embrace. I flew until there was no where else to fly. Rosin flew off my fingerboard. Strings pressed into my fingers until I couldn't feel them anymore. I was living in a timeless magical moment, there was no other way to describe it. By the time the last note struck, there was no doubt in my mind that my talent was there and it always would be; I was born with it. There was no residue of worry left in my mind... only impatience to get to the next song.

The rest of the lesson was just as amazing and by the time I was finished my mind had no juice left. I could barely make it home I was so exhausted. I slept good, that's for sure. My dreams were filled with Concertos, Duets, Solos, Beethoven, Mozart, music and more music. I woke up with music on my mind. I went to sleep with music on my mind. And the next week, an hour before my lesson with Pat, I crouched on my purple bean bag and slowly slid my rosin back and forth on the fine horse hairs of my bow. I contemplated what we would do at the lesson, how I would sound, if I was good enough. Despite my discoveries at the last lesson, I continued to doubt myself, my talent, my capabilities as a violinist. And just like the week before that, I went to the lesson and proved myself wrong.