Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fiddle head

fiddle head, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

I've had questions from agaless, liz and others about starting the violin as an adult. In all truth, I didn't plan on starting it. The Monkey wanted to play the violin and I signed her up for a Suzuki class. A friend of mine teaches children. With Suzuki, it's very important for the parent to participate, so I rented myself a violin and practiced along with Monkey. Monkey amazed us with her ear. She can recognize notes and scales and rhythm with amazing accuracy. After about three months she lost interest. It was difficult for her four year old hands and she's an impatient sort (I have no idea where that comes from...). My friend thought that the violin wasn't the instrument for her - the piano might be better. And I didn't want to push a four year old, no matter how musically inclined, to play the vioin. So Monkey became a Suzuki drop-out. We plan on starting some sort of musical lessons next year when she's six.

I, however, really loved playing and continued with my friend for awhile. I bought my violin and committed myself to learning. I later switched to another teacher, mainly because of scheduling conflicts. I love my new teacher. She's young and passionate about music and playing. She's an accomplished classical player and a fiddler, who has worked on various recordings and plays in an orchestra. She challenges and encourages me - which is what I need. We sort of combine classical, Suzuki and fiddling to learn and that works great for me. I'm not her only adult student. However, most of the others played much more as children than I did . I played for about a year, and really remembered nothing. I do remember how to read music, which is a big plus. I don't remember that from violin lessons, but from my music classes in public school - when the arts were still taught and considered important...

There's a quote that has been stuck in my head lately. I have no idea who said it. I saw it on a refrigerator magnet. Profound, I know. It says, "It is never to late to become the person you want to be", or something like that. While I will never be a concert violinist or world renowned fiddler, I can enjoy making music. My goal is to be able to humbly play along with my musical friends.

I practice almost every day. Practice is easy when I'm working from home. I take a break from my work and pick up my violin. I do that several times a day. It's particularly good when I need a break from the chaos in the house. I go into the office and close the door and run through scales and bow exercises. It has taken a while, several months, to sound decent (at least to teh rest of the family). But my fingers have developed some muscle memory and know where to fall on the strings most of the time. I'm still working on my bow hand. I have arthritis in my right hand and wrist, so it's not as fluid as I would like. But the movements are helping my hand become more limber. It's good for me. Now that the weather is getting warm, I've been going outside on the porch and playing for the birds. I'm not sure how the new neighbors feel, but it has to be better than the noise created by the guinea hens.


  1. agaless etc4:48 PM

    Thank you very much for that. You never know I may yet take the plunge. I'm very impressed that you have.

  2. Maggie, you are totally my fiddle hero.

    Thanks so much for your insights. It's definitely something I'm considering. We'll see if anything ever comes of it. :)

  3. Thanks. I did forget to mention one very important thing - you have to keep your nails short... :)
    Not too big a deal for me. I keep mine short for gardening.