November 22, 2010 at 11:46 PM
You might be thinking the title of this blog post is a well known phrase, and even a song, but it runs much deeper than that. You see, throughout the years, out of the many people I have met who are dedicated to music, the most inspiring and true people are those who have battled against all odds. This is the first blog of a few about the very first person who inspired me to start the violin. More 'Against All Odds' blogs will be to follow, written about other people who have been there for me.
My first violin teacher, Mrs Foad, was loving, caring and nurturing... amongst many other precious qualities. But, she was ill. She was ill from day one when she first started teaching me. I'm not sure quite what was wrong with her as I was too young to understand, but I do know she had had many operations on her arms and probably her legs. Her back was weak and she was quite frail for her age from what I remember. Despite numerous odds being stacked against her, she pulled herself together and carried on doing what she loved - music.
Mrs Foad was a very special person to everyone around her. At first, she started teaching me at school, but I started private lessons soon after that with her. Being at her house - with her many cats - also got my brother interested in the violin and before long, she was also teaching him too! I remember she had a big pedal harp in one of her rooms on which I used to play on whilst she was teaching Jonathan, and vice versa.
She was also into art and a random vivid memory which remains in my mind to this day is that she had a painting of a cabbage above the stairway as you walked down! She also had about 9 cats which used to sit in our cases during our lessons and purr and sleep.
Despite her illnesses, Mrs Foad had a great impact on my life. Without her, I would have never picked a violin up. I wonder what other paths I could have taken? I dread to think what it would be like without the violin in my life!
Sadly, Mrs Foad passed away in early 2005. She had been taken into hospital after a major problem with her back, so I was told. Nevertheless, she arranged the date of my first grade exam on the violin from hospital. I didn't have lessons for over 3 months before that exam, but I still passed with a very high merit. It was something, and still remains something for both Mrs Foad and me to be very proud of. I sent a letter to her in hospital soon after I received my results, but I don't think she was well enough to read it herself. I am sure she received the message some way. Even to this day, every time I pick up my violin, I think about her. I would like to thank Mrs Foad for everything she did for me in the first stages of violin playing. She remains in my heart every day.
What a wonderful tribute to someone who made such a difference in your life. I know she must have been proud of you when you passed with high merits. What a wonderful gift for you to give her in final days - the gift of knowing you made a difference to someone.
Thank you Susan. I thought it was about time I shared my acknowledgement towards Mrs Foad with other people who understand. Her memory is what has kept me going with the violin. I have always had it in my mind that I want to show I can get as far as she always said I would, and so far I think I've done an okay job! There is still a long way to go but somehow one day I will show people she was right to put her faith in my playing!
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