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Emily Grossman

Detache

March 11, 2008 at 11:21 AM

He’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.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 11, 2008 at 12:59 PM
Well done!
From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 11, 2008 at 1:52 PM
Is that detache, as in detached knee and neck??? Some days are just like that:-)
From Kristin Mortenson
Posted on March 11, 2008 at 6:59 PM
I think I want to study with you.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on March 11, 2008 at 10:31 PM
Greeitngs,
you gotta stay detached in this kind of situation. Afterwards a stiff vodka martele is often helpful,
Cheer,s
Buri
From Tia Pietsch
Posted on March 12, 2008 at 6:19 AM
I enjoyed your description of the loaner instrument...you are spot on!

Tia

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 12, 2008 at 7:05 AM
Oh, I knew you would read that, and I didn't want to offend. But rumor has it you hadn't played it in years, so I'm assuming he's not your favorite either. ;)
From Neil Cameron
Posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:25 AM
Emily,that has to be one of your best written little pieces. Bravo!

Neil

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:48 AM
I do enjoy your posts and you sound like a seriously cool teacher! Hope that dog is staying close to home now?!
From Tia Pietsch
Posted on March 12, 2008 at 6:44 PM
I actually just got it but it's been sitting around for ions in pieces. I had it put together as an extra for students. Sounds terrible...I'm the first to admit it. It's being done a favor by being played. No offense taken!!!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 12, 2008 at 7:01 PM
Oh heavens, Rosalind, I hope you didn't think that was my yapping dog! My dog Ben doesn't yap. He groans and sometimes grunts like a pig. The yapper is a Jack Russel terrier, very dear to the student family. I go to their house in Homer once a week to teach.
From Kim Vawter
Posted on March 13, 2008 at 4:08 AM
You just can't make this stuff up-What a story!

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