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Saturday, November 08, 2014

THE STORY OF THE VIOLIN (How it came into my life)

....and how it came into my life.

For me the violin had always been one of those musical instruments that I always wanted to learn to play since childhood, but never really got down to learning it until I was into my early fifties. I remember that I often mentioned this to my children. "Someday I must learn to play the violin", I had often said.
And then so it came to pass that it was the eve of one my birthdays when I was about to go to sleep. Around midnight I hear a knock on the door. It is my eldest daughter Denise at the door. She is about to push a huge cardboard box that has a picture, and all the markings of a barbecue grill. She says "Happy Birthday Dad", and I say "... but we already have a barbecue".

My daughter then insists that I open the taped-up box which, after some reluctance and hesitation, I do open. Placed at a slant in that box is what looks like a violin case. And I am left speechless, dumb-founded and surprised. After all, for sure, I think that it is a violin that is in the box. Then I am handed a birthday card. And I am baffled as to how on earth at my age am I going to learn what is supposed to be a such a difficult musical instrument. Then I open the envelope containing the birthday card and inside there is pre-paid 12-lesson violin course from Merriam School of Music, which once again leaves me wondering and guessing what all the young violin learners at the school are going to think of me when I walk into the music class. Will they think that I am teaching the art of playing violin? Or am I a late starter in learning to play the violin? Or will they think that I am perhaps accompanying someone younger to the school?

The following week after my birthday, it was my first day, first lesson, at the renowned Merriam School of Music in Mississauga. I walked boldly through the revolving doors. As soon as I stepped in, I hesitantly and nervously looked around me holding my violin case in my right hand, and following the guidance from the receptionist and signs leading to the first floor, proceeded to my class.

I was expecting a room full of violin enthusiasts supervised by an older teacher. But I entered into a mid-size room with no one else in there. A minute later, in walked a young girl who I thought was a student, but I soon realised that she wasn't. She was, in fact, my teacher. She was as old as my daughter. She was going to be my teacher for the next 12 lessons. This was a hands-on crash-course it seemed.

After my first one-hour lesson I was quite at ease. I went around the school. As I walked and passed through the corridors of this prestigious school of musical learning, I heard different sounds of instruments apparently seeping out of the rooms. On my way down through the lobby, there were much older people than I was at the time, holding cases of what looked surely like violins, guitars, and mandolins or perhaps other instruments. And oh! my, how glad was I, that I was not alone!

The following 3 months I assigned myself the task of practising, thanks for the basement, where no one could hear the initial squeaks, but myself and the basement walls. And four months later found myself playing at a party.

Thanks to my loving daughter, Denise. 

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