Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Too Cool To Fiddle
I'd been playing violin since the third grade when the school I was attending in San Diego, California offered beginners lessons and an opportunity to play in the school orchestra. I took to the instrument rather easily and occupied first chair of the Riley Elementary School orchestra for the next three years. I enjoyed playing violin in the orchestra, but lacked the ambition to practice in order to attain a high enough level of proficiency to be a really good soloist.
When I reached seventh grade my family moved to Northern Indiana, where the school I attended did not offer a school orchestra. I continued to take private lessons from a dwarf who played as a strolling musician at a popular smorgasbord restaurant. The choir teacher at the middle school discovered that I played violin and built a choral number that featured my violin playing for one of the choir programs. Later, at a school talent show, my next door neighbor and I played a clever rendition of the song "Alley Cat", which went over quite well. Those were the last times I played violin for many years.
I dropped the violin lessons and continued taking guitar lessons under the tutelage of the violin playing dwarf. My parents never forced me to do things I didn't want to keep doing, they only expected that if I were going to do something I would practice and take it seriously. I tried for a while. The dwarf musician taught me to play songs like the one about the dog named Bingo and other corny folk-style tunes which would have not impressed any of the girls I wanted to impress. My guitar teacher did not look favorably upon rock and roll and had his sights for me set on classical guitar.
Eventually music became too much of an effort to pursue on my own. I did not know anyone else who played an instrument for several years and it was no fun playing alone. Years later I went back to the violin and guitar to a limited degree, but missing out on years of practice meant I was not as good as I could have been.
Did you play an instrument when you were younger, but no longer play? Why did you stop? How much did you practice? Was practice as much of a chore for you as it was for me?