She sent me an email telling me that she had good news and bad news. The good news was that she had been accepted by a very good, but very expensive, graduate school. The bad news was that her expenditures would increase; she would have to work longer hours to earn more money; and she would not be able to afford violin lessons. I remembered my experiences growing up in a family without much money, and I felt so bad. I sent her an email saying:
"I would hate for you to give up the violin now. You waited so many years to return to it. You have talent, and you obviously enjoy playing it. Let's try to work something out. I could give you lessons as a "scholarship" student as long as I have an available time slot not taken up by a paying student. Do you think you will find time to practice? The other financial concern is renting the violin. Can you manage the $20 per month? It is a good instrument and a very good investment. If not, you can get a junky one for very little money, but, in the long run, you're better off with the one [you are renting now].
She turned down my offer, as I had expected. She has her pride and strong feelings of fairness. I dearly hope that she can return to the violin before long.
Stolen Stradivarius Cello Found Damaged in L.A.
from Yahoo News, May "04
The "General Kyd" cello, made in 1684 and named for the man who brought it to England, suffered only
"Last night, the Los Angeles Philharmonic was reunited with a member of its family, our
The cello was returned with cracks that string repair technician Robert Cauer called "routine." Cauer,
The performers were two real down-homey senior gents who played fiddle and/or banjo and/or guitar and/or sang. Dwight Diller was the star fiddler and conversationalist, in my opinion. He spoke right from the heart about his own experiences. He told of the musicians who became his friends and mentors many years ago. He said that they accepted him for who he was, not for what he had accomplished. Bravo! I have a few friends like that, and they are very precious. He went on to explain that he was feeling bad about himself when he met these friends. He had been unemployed for a long time because of problems with his health. I can relate to that. Our society so often determines our worth by our accomplishments, and particularly by those accomplishments which are financial. He said that the way you learn to play music well is to sit on the back porch, play a while, talk a while, and play some more. You don't get to be a good musician by showing off. Again, I can relate to this, not only on the back porch, but also in the orchestra rehearsal hall. Prima donnas don't contribute anywhere near as much as they think they do. Every player has to subordinate his or her ego to the totality of sound of the whole orchestra.
Dwight had this to say about his instruments: He started learning to play fiddle and banjo at about the same time. He said he could play the banjo pretty well after two years, but it took him 30 years to be able to play the fiddle pretty well. I made a note to tell my students about this when they become discouraged. After the concert, I spoke to Dwight personally. I wanted to know how he "caught on" to playing the fiddle. He responded by asking me where the movement of the bowing arm originates. "Here?" he asked several times, tapping me sequentially on the upper back, shoulder, upper arm, forearm, wrist, and hand. People are often sensitive about touching a stranger, especially one of the opposite gender, but this felt good to me. He answered his own question by telling me that the movement of the bowing arm must originate from the heart of your being. So true! There is a lot of technique to learn before you can play the fiddle/violin well, but the most important part comes from the heart.
Thank you so much, Dwight.
Revisit Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles' coverage from Canada of the 2013 Montreal International Musical Competition, including her interview with gold medalist Marc Bouchkov.
Pauline Lerner is from Rockville, Maryland. Biography
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