Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anvilcoud Goes to School

The old man had his first violin lesson today. Teacher is approximately the same age as he, and her first question was: "Are you nervous?"

Oh yes, I most certainly was, and I told her so. I said that it was a difficult proposition for a adult to know that he was about to screw up something like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (which sounds more like Starkle Starkle Little Twink when I play it). I mean, I wasn't quivering in my boots, but I was experiencing some qualms, some of which I shared with you two posts back .

But she is quite a down to earth type, and we chatted, and she told me about another older student that she once had. He had taken lessons from another teacher who retired or moved – I forget exactly what the reason, and it's irrelevant anyway. The point is that this guy could already play fairly well, but he was so hesitant that he sat through two sessions with her before he would play a piece. Except for his former teacher, nobody had ever heard him play. Apparently, this even included his wife because he used a muffler on the fiddle when he practised in the house.

I told Teacher that I wasn't nearly that nervous or reluctant or whatever, but mostly we talked, and I relaxed very quickly. She spent a lot of time showing me how to properly hold the bow and how to draw it across the strings. It's all much more complicated than I guessed. You position your fingers just so and grip very firmly. You get your elbow up and shoulder down. You rest the instrument firmly under your chin, but you make sure not to grit your teeth. And then you relax. Say what?!

I did play a few pieces for her, but the new position was very foreign, so it wasn't as good as in practice, but although I felt a bit stupid when I hit two strings or missed notes, I didn't mind terribly much or feel too very embarrassed. I mean to say that I did feel a little embarrassed, but who wouldn't?

She seems to think that there is some hope for me. She decided that, for now at least, she didn't have to tape markers under the strings to show me where my fingers should go. I guess that's good, and I suppose that it means that they fall more or less where they're supposed to. She did remark that my goals seemed realistic. Apparently, some mature students come to her expecting to become concert violinists, and, of course, she needs to disabuse them of that notion.

I think that I will concentrate on simple pieces this week. I had been nearing the end of the beginners instruction book that I had picked up and had been trying to learn a couple of jigs near the end of it. They are a lot of fun, but I have to concentrate so much on the speed and fingering that I tend to lose whatever technique that she is trying to instill in me.

One other thing that is a little bit funny: during the lesson, when I was practising the bowing technique, I began to look at her. She advised me to look at the strings because there was nothing on her face that would help me. I replied that I was looking for approval. She laughed: "You're doing really well, AC."

That's the story so far. Aren't you proud of me? Do I have your approval?

17 comments:

PBS said...

Yes! Good for you, you're an inspiration.

Gina said...

A gold star for you!

madcap said...

Admiration was the word I was looking for.

Heather said...

Hat's off to you! And now we're looking for pics!

Linda said...

Learning the violin at your age...Way to go! Can you record some pieces for us to hear?

mreddie said...

To do all those things with hands, elbow and shoulder and still relax - what's up with that? I am proud of you and my approval is granted. :) ec

oshee said...

There's a phrase about old dogs and tricks....

You have more than my approval you have my admiration. You are a testament to never giving up on oneself. I hope you find a world of enjoyment in this.

squire said...

I would like to learn to play anything. Heck, I can't play the radio without getting static.

The very nice man said...

You are right to feel good about yourself and just look at all these wonderful people giving you all the encouragement you could wish for.
Often, when we are young, we just do stuff. The moment we get to a certain age we analyse things. Sod that! Go, AC, Go!!

Lynn said...

Sounds like a great start to me. It shows you are not just fiddling around. :)

Karla said...

Wow. I think learning to play an instrument is fantastic. I've always envied my husbands musical abilities. He can sing (even took opera lessons) and play piano. Me? I can't even hum twinkle twinkle.

Good for you AC!

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Keep it up and I will bring the guitar and jam with you sometime.

I think I can find the chords to Little Twinkle Stinkle...LOL

Anonymous said...

See! You're a natural!

methatiam said...

Yes, I too am getting the posture and the correct way to hold my hands and relax bit.
if you get the muffler, I'll get the headphones and we can both not play together.

Ginnie said...

This was interesting to me since my son in law (age 46) is just taking up the violin and my daughter (age 45) is learning to play the cello. They are really catching on very fast and it is actually fun to listen to them. Good luck in your venture.

Tammy said...

I think that is SO great! We all should keep learning new things all throughout life!

I'm tempted to take up ballet or tap or something like my little girls. I saw they had some classes for grownups...but I'm in my 40's so it would be pretty weird...but maybe I'll get brave! :)

Coll said...

Way to go A/C. I think what you are doing is wonderful! When I was 49 I decided to take up my girlhood dream of horseback riding. My group lessons consisted of a bunch of 15 year olds and me. I LOVED it!! For two hours every week I instantly shed 35 years. I honestly believe that learning to do something we love helps keep us young :-).