This is another instrument that I play (which you’d know if you read the About page, but I know some of you probably didn’t. And I guess that’s fine. You’re probably the kind of person who doesn’t read introductions to books, either … but anyway …), but I never got nearly as good as I did with the piano. One of the reasons may be that I started the violin later in life, in grade four, when I would have been … what, nine? Something like that. Too young, certainly, to have begun an internship with driveway resurfacing Hamilton. And I also never had private lessons. From grade four all the way to grade twelve (when I stopped playing, for all intents and purposes), I took violin lessons and classes through the school board.
Not that I didn’t have good teachers through school, because I absolutely did. In fact, the teacher that I had in high school had played the violin for the Pope John Paul II, which is pretty darn impressive. She was an excellent musician, and I always wanted to be able to play like her. Very likely, I’ll never get to that level, but I suppose that always having something to work towards is a good thing. And speaking of things to work towards, there’s no one’s talent I aspire to more than a friend of mine, let’s call him … Jon (just in case he reads this .. wouldn’t want it going to his head or anything). Whereas my high school teacher was a superb classical violinist, my friend can play the fiddle like nothing you’ve ever seen. And I love that music so much.
He’s so kind, and I’m sure he would love to teach me some songs if I asked, but I feel like such an amateur next to him that I just don’t play whenever a group of us get together. I know that’s how you learn, and I should really get over it, but I’m stubborn and easily embarrassed, so the bow will stay away in front of him for now. One day, maybe I’ll get good-enough to work up the nerve to play with him and his brothers (who are also excellent). We’ll see.
Something I got to do with the violin that I never got to do with the piano was play in an orchestra. There is something just so incredibly invigorating in being part of something so big and grand and meticulously worked at. If that last bit makes sense. You’re sitting there, bow on string, waiting for the conductor to count everyone in. And then there is sound. There is sound made, in unison, by a whole group of people, at the wave of a stick, because they are all working towards a common goal. This goal, of course, is musical perfection.
I never played with a professional orchestra; I played only, as I’ve already said, in school and in school orchestras and ensembles. But man, that didn’t matter (mostly because we were always pretty good, at least in high school), because when you hit that most intense part of the Pirates of the Caribbean suite, or really gave your heart and soul for Vivaldi, I’ll bet I felt as fulfilled as any professional.