I started writing this late Tuesday, and then fell asleep before posting it. And then I forgot about it. So, consider this a top five..er..Sunday post. Oops.
I’m a bit late with my Top Five Tuesday post. But, technically, it is still Tuesday as I’m writing this (11:31 pm), so I think I’m still good.
After a month of waiting, I finally went last Friday to pick up my violin. It’s gorgeous. It sounds beautiful (taking into account that I am very new, and that beautiful is a very relative term right now).
And I am absolutely in love.
I spent my first night with it just trying to figure out my bowing. Years of strumming a guitar helps a bit (rhythmic bowing and getting the phrasing right shouldn’t be too much of a challenge), but the bow is a totally different animal than what I’m used to. Since Friday, I’ve improved my hold on both the violin itself and on the bow, I’ve started to learn where different notes are, and my bowing has improved significantly. I’m not good at any of it, but I am getting a couple steps further away from totally sucking. And, hey, I’ll take it.
So, what do I already love about playing the violin?
- It’s completely different from any other instrument I’ve ever tried to play. Although it’s still a stringed instrument, and therefore somewhat familiar, the sound is totally different. I can put more expression into what I’m playing, and I love the long, drawn-out notes, and the way everything just flows together.
- It’s a challenge, in a very good way. Learning instruments is good for ADHD; music makes it easier to think clearly. I’ve been doing this for a while; I get fed-up with work, or too distracted to get anything useful done, so I take a quick music break. Violin is a bit of a pain, because it takes a minute or two to set up, but working on scales or whatever beginner song I’m currently struggling through gives the overly excitable part of my mind a rest. When I’m done with the music, I can go back to work and actually accomplish something.
- I can already squawk my way through most of “Star of the County Down”. I stumbled across this song while checking out fiddle videos on Youtube, and I quickly searched for a copy of the sheet music. I started working on the piece the first night I brought home my fiddle, and I finally made it to the end this afternoon. It might not have been close to perfect, but I still did a little happy dance at the end. It’s a simple song, hauntingly beautiful, and I (almost) can play it! Yippee!!
- I get to take music lessons again. After five years of lessons in school (in addition to choir, a year of marching band, and all of the music theory courses), I’ve really missed the opportunity to work with other musicians. It wasn’t a factor at first, but I’m surprised now at how much I really am looking forward to it.
- Fiddle isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I’ve heard so many horror stories that I think I worked it up to be this impossibly hard instrument. While I don’t think it will be easy, I’m no longer worried that I won’t be able to become an accomplished player. I might even be able to bring my fiddle along to a reunion or two this summer, assuming I have any music figured out by then.
I have my first lesson this Thursday. As I’m taking biweekly lessons, I’m trying to learn as much as I can before I get in there. And I know that I’ll be spending a lot of time practicing at home, because I’m taking fewer actual lessons. I want to make my time in with Kathy (my teacher) count. Fortunately, after 15 years of guitar, it’s being assumed that I can take the lead on some of it, and I’ll just be getting a long to-do list for in-between lessons. Which is perfect, because I need the constant challenge to keep from getting bored.
Update (6/2/2012): My first lesson was better than I expected. My teacher (Kathy) and I get along very well, and she’s a musician first. She really loves violin, and it shows. She does teach through memorization and ear training, but I know how to listen to a song and pick out what notes are being played, so that’s not going to be too hard. My next lesson is in two weeks, and I’m already looking forward to it.
And as far as my long to-do list; she has me working on sight reading by learning a new song every day. Heh. This is in addition to working on everything we did in the lesson. Fortunately, there are a lot of songs that I want to learn, so it works.