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Aletha Kuschan

Stages in a Musical Journey

April 2, 2011 at 9:43 PM

All the famous violinists, it seems, began when they were four.  As I wrote in my profile, I'm a late blooming violinist having begun the instrument when I was forty-seven.  But if anyone asks, I'll just say I began when I was FOUR ty-seven (pianissimo on the last two beats!)

Well, that was eight years ago!  For most that time I've learned pieces by ear, playing along with favorite jazz tunes.  And during these several years, I have discovered that there's a rich world of jazz violin.  

Some of my jazz violin heros include -- Ray Nance (of Duke Ellington's band), Stuff Smith, Regina Carter, Didier Lockwood, Florin Niculescu, Mark Feldman -- Stephane Grappelli (of course).

But my kid, whose Suzuki beginnings got me started, is strictly classical.  She's working on the Vivaldi Concertos in Book Four of Suzuki for a recital at school, and I've begun working on them too.  I usually play by ear, but I do read music from my childhood piano days.  So I am striving to get more classical-oriented technique through the written page.

Sometimes I've gone long spells without playing, since I have all kinds of other responsibilities!  But of late, I'm trying to be more vigilant --  really trying hard to practice some every day.  Need to be a good role model for the kid.  As for today, I have practiced so much that my shoulders are killing me.

Had to put my fiddle down, but I didn't want to!  A little rest and back I go.  Never let barriers stand between you and whatever you love.  Never thought I'd be playing the violin, but more and more I begin thinking of myself as "a violinist."  Is a very strange and wonderful transformation.

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