Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maybe I Should Invest in a Nice Kazoo

I tell you what, if you want to learn to play a musical instrument, I hope you are still under the age of eight years old, because that will make it a heck of a lot easier.

I started learning to play the piano when I was, oh, maybe seven? And honestly, I don't remember those first little plunks on the keyboard. I'm sure they were horrid, but what I really remember is how after about ten years of lessons, at age seventeen, I was actually pretty good. The getting from horrid to pretty good is all a blur.

So being right back to horrid on a musical instrument, at age 35, is excrutiating. I just started violin lessons again in June, after taking a few years off (I got in a snit over learning third position, which everyone HAS to do, and quit), and I'm liking the whole process quite a bit.

Then my teacher said that not only do I really HAVE to learn third position, but I also have to learn VIBRATO, the really cool wah-wah sound that makes a violin sound like a REAL violin.

Well, I tell you what, my vibrato sucks ass. It's been sucking ass for weeks on end now. A few weeks ago, Hannah, my teacher, gave me a book to work on which has me do fun exercises called "wavy arms" and "sticky taps," and calls for me to put a drop of superglue -- the book stresses that it should be imaginary superglue -- on my fingers. And in the process of these exercises, I figured out a way to sort of do a fake vibrato, which sounds fantastic, and which I apparently have a natural talent for, but which isn't technically correct.

In fact, it's so technically incorrect, that I'm not allowed to do it anymore.

So I'm back to practicing wah-wahs with the metronome, and fighting the urge to wack myself over the head with the violin and take up macrame or something.

Ah, the indignity of it all. Isn't it bad enough that I am the only student at the WHOLE music school over the age of ten? And that every week, I discuss my progress with a few third-graders while their moms look on indulgently? I guess not.

To make matters worse, I recently finished the Suzuki Book Three, and the first day I showed up to a lesson with Book Four, I apologized for getting the wrong thing, as Book Four was OBVIOUSLY so much harder than Book Three that I had clearly missed Book Three-and-a-Half.

But you know what? There IS no Book Three-and-a-Half. Poor Todd, I should probably get him some nice ear plugs for his birthday.


Jonathan's Mommy said...

So what you are telling me is that I need to pick an instrument and get Jonathan playing it right now?? Sheesh, so much pressure!

DSS said...

Oh my, I do love all of this!!!!! I'm sorry I have to laugh at the fact that you're not ALLOWED to do your vibrato! Reminds me of my first song with 5 flats- I thought it sounded good played on the "white keys" I wasn't ALLOWED to do that either!!!!

Hang in there!!!!!!!!!Jonathan could start now with his little shoe box!!!!!!!!!