My fortieth birthday came and went last fall without much fanfare. I wasn't really what you'd call excited to be the Big 4-0, but I at least didn't have a break down.
I didn't go buy an expensive little red convertible, hire a steamy pool boy with a six pack, or any other out-of-character thing for "my midlife crisis"...no, I decided to learn to play the violin. Rather, I succumbed to the overwhelming longing to play that beautiful instrument.
You see, there is something buried deep within me that wants...needs...to get OUT. But in order to do that, it needs a voice. And the only suitable voice is the soulful singing of strings.
I realized recently that this journey of Finding My Voice is beginning much like a baby learning to talk. First there are sounds, then babbling, then muddled words and cute little ways of saying thing wrongly, all a progression of acquiring language skills and becoming proficient in one's native tongue. Some are very adept at speaking, others...not so much.
So it also seems, to me, with learning to play the violin. First you make sounds, some strange, some high-pitched screeching at times. Then you learn how to control the bow better, how to make the sound correctly. You learn simple rhythms, notes, how to put them together to make an actual piece of music. You begin to speak the language of the violin.
I've had three lessons now. I'm working hard to learn to correctly position myself, to relax, to breathe...so I can become proficient and adept at playing this instrument I love. I'm making sounds...a bit of babbling, perhaps.
I know much work and practice lie ahead of me and I look forward to it. I practice every moment I can get a chance...I have 6ths going through my head right now since my teacher taught me those this week. I want to sneak into my closet, get out my violin and play, but one can not really "sneak" and play the violin. My family is sleeping soundly...I know better.
And so I wait. But inside, the voice of my violin is singing. I do not want to be misunderstood when speaking, I don't want to turn people away with my singing, so I will practice, practice, practice...always reaching for the next level of this language I'm learning.
I close my eyes and see myself playing beautiful music on this violin...this new part of me that I'm getting to know, that I'm already completely in love with. It is like breathing...to not play is almost like not having air to breathe! I must!!
Dawn Yoder is from , . Biography
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