March 11, 2008 at 11:21 AMHe’d been up all night by the time I arrived for his lesson. Apparently, he and his dad were out snow machining yesterday evening and got caught in a white out. His dad hit a ditch, flew through the windshield, and bloody near busted off his knee. Hours of emergency knee-reattaching surgery followed, and as a result, no one in the house got any sleep. Not even the yapping dog.
The week before, it was his violin that got in an accident, having somehow accidentally bounced off a tympani and broken its neck. I'd never seen a more heartbroken junior high boy. Intensive surgery may just fix it after all, but violin necks take longer to reattach than knees. In the meantime, he’d been using a substitute violin–-one that he’s entirely grateful to have, yet not entirely fond of–-whose personality produces this sound that could be mistaken for a tongue depresser, all wooden and flat and yawny at the back of the throat.
So now, let’s start with twenty minutes of rubbing detache, followed by scales, intonation study, shifting and vibrato exercises, and then some tone production. After that, we’ll iron out some Vivaldi passages and dig into some sight reading. Clap and count with me now. Stop yawning.
Scrap that. We took out our practice mutes and used the severed sound to pretended we were rock stars; after all, what you don’t know won't hurt. In fact, this kind of pain killer feels pretty fun.
Everyone was happier after that. Even the yapping dog.
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Emily Grossman is from Soldotna, Alaska. Biography
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