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Violin: An Autobiography of Playing

September 8, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Here is my violin autobiography as of September 8th, 2012. Please enjoy!


In fifth grade, we were all given the opportunity to select a 'band (brass, percussion, woodwind)' or 'orchestra (strings)' instrument to play on for the year, and perhaps continue into middle school. I picked out three instruments: the trumpet, percussion, and, obviously, the violin. Although I remember my teacher handing me a cello instead, but we got it right the second time. And, quite obviously, I picked the violin.

I had been playing piano for a while before picking up the violin, so I already had a good knowledge of reading music and such. This particular violin I rented, and as I grew taller, I switched to a 3/4 violin (I believe I started with a 1/2 size). One particular piece I recall playing in elementary school was the basic bass line for the blues. Some of the kids who had been playing for a while now played the actual notes, but I just played the open strings in time with the music. Our teacher played the piano, which was pretty cool.

Sometime after that, I'm not sure whether it was after school ended or not, me and my sister made a movie called Mayle, Max, and the Jungle Adventure, and we composed a whopping one song for our soundtrack! (Well, actually, we used the Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms and a bass (wah wah wah) for when trouble occurred in the film's plot.) But anyway, I played the violin and my sister played the piano (keyboard) while we had a basic drum beat backing us up. Watching the film today (or more accurately, this past summer), I can say that I think the piece would've been better without the violin. I basically did a simple pizz. arco pizz. arco pattern on all four of my open strings. Ah, well.

Middle school began, and with it, the pieces became harder and yet more fun! I had a friend who we only sat next to each other once. I think we were always in opposite violin sections. Anyways, sixth grade was a lot of fun! I don't remember much about this year, but I believe it was the year I switched from a 1/2 violin to a 3/4 violin.

In seventh grade, some of us had to switch schools! Nope, I don't think this was the year I got Amber (the violin I have now), but it was the year I started Summer Orchestra! I've been doing it every year since except for this past summer, because it conflicted with another class. I can't remember everything we played, but I know at some point we played Pirates of the Caribbean to celebrate the new movie coming out.

I believe this was the summer me and my sister had a concert in our annual summer library we call Super Books Library, me on violin, she on piano (this time the real piano). In early summer we composed two pieces: Seagull Flight and Storming Seas. I think the ideas were good (the first was in G Major, and I had a violin solo while my sister played some sort of percussion instrument she made in art class or something; the second was in E Minor and, with improvement, I think it could sound good today), but, obviously, we were both still learning loads about our instruments and the tone wasn't that good. But we used both pieces in our summer movie, Any Kitten, based on a book my sister wrote for Young Authors. I'm not sure what other pieces we used; I think my sister improvised on the piano for an ending scene, but I think that was it.

I think we made another movie this summer, although I could be wrong. At least the memories are all getting out, even if they aren't in proper order! :) Anyways, this film was called IceFire, and it was the epic journey of two dragons and an evil dragon. It was based off a book that was planned to be published for real but it was never written (by me, sis, and some friends of ours). There was definitely music here. I think there was a flight theme that was a piano solo, but I'm sure there were some violin piano duets thrown in the mix, especially for the "final battle" scene.

Eighth grade was the year I finally got my full size, "properly mine" violin! It was in December sometime, I think right before winter break, we went to Q and F (because I had been renting there) and we got the violin! I remember trying out many different instruments (it was like getting the new Carbon Fiber bow I have now) playing the same passage of an orchestra piece with different ones, until finally I found one I liked. I think what got to me most was the violin's design, but I showed my teacher my new violin the very next day (or week) and she enjoyed the sound, too. I still like the sound of my violin, which is good. I'm just improving it by getting a new bow. The case was good, too, and I think it can take anything, and still my violin's protected. Thanks, case! Anyways, this violin was officially mine, so I think I enjoyed playing Christmas carols on it, happy I had another musical instrument (well, technically, A musical instrument, since the piano me and sis share) to call my own. And I'm still proud of it!

How was it given its name, Amber? Well, that's a whole 'nother story. After telling the orchestra about my new instrument (I was standing next to her in front of the class), my teacher said "What have you named it?" I told her I didn't know they had names! But then one of my friends leaned over after tuning and told me she thought Amber was a good name, and I agreed. So, yep. Meet Amber, my new violin! :)

That summer me and my sister made ANOTHER movie. (You can tell our tradition is movie-making, can't you?) This one was called Nymph's World. It was based off another book that was half-written, going to be published, and given up (by my sister). Although she had all the talent in the story, I think I got the pleasure of writing the script. Anyways, while we filmed it, instead of composing the entire soundtrack, I used songs from games in it. (Don't worry, I gave Koji Kondo credit! Try saying that five times fast.) They used the violin in it, even if I didn't perform, but they were memorable tunes that, I think, fit the movie well. I did compose three pieces of music, but it was all with my keyboard orchestra, not my real violin. I remember sleeping in the basement and always thinking about the film every night. This film was, I think, the beginning of my career idea - composer of a movie soundtrack!

And now, for ninth grade! This last year was a fantastic one! I was in Concert Orchestra (though I tried out for the higher freshmen group, didn't make it) and we did a ton of fun stuff! I found violinist.com in March and began my violin journal (obviously, as you probably know). We did make a sequel to Nymph's World in the summer, called Beyond the Thread, and though I composed the entire soundtrack, we eventually rendered it discontinued because we were just not in the mood for it. Next summer, perhaps, I will write a few entries of my blog about a new movie we may make.

That's basically it. That's basically my life as a violinist, so far. I can't think of many hurtles I had to overcome, except once when I had my bow on the ground and something happened that made me need to get it rehaired. And I snapped a couple A strings. Yeah, that's happened too. But right now to date my violin is healthy, like me, and we are going on all kinds of 'Western Art Music' adventures together, both in orchestra and in violin lessons. 2013 is going to be a great violin year (as well as the end of 2012; I can't wait until fall when we go to the apple orchards and corn mazes and eat apple pie and cider!), and I'm going to have, I think, a fantastic future!

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