I'm a newbie, -ish.
When I first pick up the violin, I was 7. Tender, young and full of ambition. It's really too bad that I lack perseverance and patience, like any excited 7 years old, I expect my violin to just automatically spin out awesome music. Needless to say, well.. it fail (or perhaps I fail) to do exactly just that.
My first teacher was a prodigious scholarship winner 17 years old. She's nice, and pretty too, at least in my hazy memory. She was the one who sold/give me my 1st violin, a semi-vso 1/2 size. Also the one who nailed the fundamental into me so well, that almost 5 years later when I pick up my violin again, I still hold it the correct way, posture and all. She stayed with me for only two months or so, and up to this day, I believe that has she stayed in Vietnam and continue to be my teacher, I would be playing the Chaconne or the Zigeurnerweisen by now. Her name is H?i Au, it means seagull.
My second teacher is a skinny framed man in his mid 20's or so. He have a nice face and is probably a great teacher, if I had been an already advanced student. Or if I have been less...wiggly...I was not those typical Asian kid who stand stone still and concentrated easily, whether or not I'm I being threaten by (dun,dun,dun) The Stick. Tiger ruling, as you could have already known, is very popular in Asian country. It work, most of the time. The discipline is harsh, but it kept the kids in line. We were polite, and was generally a good kid, we respect the elder and stand up whenever a teacher walk in the classroom. We race and compete at who have the best cursive handwriting and who's the smartest. The best get to have the title of class leader, a great honour. I too, was given that title in the second and third grade. But truth to be told, I was nominated due to my flexible grip. I enjoy games, and lots of fun, oh, and I can throw a punch too. After 5 years in the wonderful (not) land of America (no offense), I still miss those day in my old school, where roaches occasionally found it way into the classroom, thus giving the boy a chance of playing hero saving a damsel in distress (I am terribly afraid of all thing with multiples leg and tiny).
Back to business, my second teacher was what? Ah, now I remember, incredibly patience (to a point), extremely tolerance (to a point) and is always (not) open to my creativity. Long story short, less than two months later, he quit, and so did I. I put my violin back in the case and never saw it again, until 4 years later.
Fast forward a year or two, I'm in the U.S now, with next to none English, so of course, the great American children took great fun in mocking and bullying me. (Now you must be reminded that I am very, VERY good at throwing a punch and receiving it, courtesy to all those street fight in my old neighborhood.)It took me a total of two punch and teacher scolding to realize that One: American kids is a bunch of spineless pussy, Two: American adults are very protective of their children welfare, Three: I can't use the Universal language of the fist on them, therefore, Four: American kids are not only a bunch of spineless pussy, they're also quite stupid.
Again, no offense, I was only 9 at the time.
Thanks to Vietnam hardcore math thrilling, by the time I enter 4th grade in America( my 1st year here), my math level is compatible to a six grader, so that one less thing to worry about. I have 4 class of ESL/ELL a day, social study, English, lunch and recess, which I utilize and devoted to reading. I was(and still am) a very good reader. It's strange really, not being able to speak English yet read it better and faster than natural born kids at the time. I read with half my mind turning it into a movie, which enable me to remember much better, I can even still remember some of the books I read back then.
Let us skip two years a head.
I'm in 6th grade now and have just finish my first go with Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre ,The last of the Mohican, Twenty thousand league under the sea those first 3 books was only semi interesting, so I didn't read it again until my 7th grade summer, except for the Twenty thousand league under the sea, which I re-read twice before growing bored with it. I am in 4th level ELL now, my English MAP test score in the 89th percentile, a proud accomplishment, although my math level now dropped back to being equal with U.S standardize math, or perhaps I was just lazy.
My school have music program, band and choir, not exactly my thing, but I still drop by once in a while, mostly to ogle at how horrendous the sound coming out of those brass instrument is. At this moment, music was the least important thing on my mind.
7th grade was uneventful, my love for school is at the level of bleh and my need for music is at the level of nay.
8th grade is the time, now in junior high, my last year of "academic freedom", I go wild...not. My mother would have me murdered. I started the piano, Zipping through the beginner books quickly, (thanks the great God for near eidetic memory). I'm in Honour Science and is now 98th in my MAP testing, took my teacher breath away, after all, I am in a normal English class.
Dun dun dun.
My church choir( Vietnamese choir is a tad different than the American), have a new member, who happen... to play the violin!! She's 17 then, a Junior, and has been playing for 5 years. School level, so she can't even vibrate yet at the moment. She have this pretty old 7/8 violin that I adored, on loan to her by one of her mom friend. She's awfully nice, and reminded me of my old teacher, who was about her age 5 years ago. The Earth sure is round.
My passion for violin flickered again, by two different but very much the same girls. I beg my mom for a violin and voila, 10 months later, I speed through my books along with 5 Suzuki level and can vibrate quite nicely,( I pick up and perfect vibrato less than 2 months into playing, one of my best skill).
Sadly, since this is a family choir, a little feud flamed up, and before I could even sit next to the girl who spark passion again as 2nd violin, my Dad quit the choir.
No worries though, I lasted 10 months and is much more patience now, so I'mma keep on going. Now I can't even feel "whole" for the day if I don't clock in at least an hour of practise/practice a day. So imagine how twitchy I am when I accidentally cut my finger and have to hang up the violin for a week.
I originally intended for this blog to be about how going restless change my outlook at the violin. But life walk in and now it's a mini autobiography. Perhaps another day for a restless post.
Previous entries: June 2012
Skylar Nguyen is from Shakopee, Minnesota. Biography
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!