The Well Aging Fiddler or learning to play a violin at 68 years old. First Entry.

June 22, 2017, 4:46 AM · I’m almost 68 years old, and I am going to learn how to play a violin. At a time when a lot of people have settled into retirement, I have decided to spend my time learning how to play a violin. There seems to be little point in trying to figure out why I want to learn to play the violin. It is one of those things best left unexplored, and simply accepted as a new dawn.

Also, this could be some sort of urge to complete unfinished business. After all, it is not my first time playing a violin. I took lessons when I was 9 years old, but that didn’t work out at all. My mother had a 4/4 violin and that is what I used, however, a 9 year-old boy with a full size fiddle, without a shoulder rest (I think that’s what those things are called) was probably a bad match from the start. The dang thing was too big for me, and hurt my collarbone.

Well, that and the fact that my mother had more interest in me playing a violin than I did. For me it was all about getting out of my fourth grade class for one or two afternoons each week to attend lessons in the auditorium of North Intermediate School in Saginaw, Michigan. I lacked the discipline, patience, confidence, and attention span necessary to even start on such an instrument. I wanted to play baseball. Plus, the poor guy who was teaching me along with three or four other kids had to deal with all of us being around at the same time on a huge auditorium stage.

At the end of the year we had a concert where I was placed in the back row, told to move my arm in roughly the same directions as everyone else, and never to let my bow actually touch the strings. He wasn't being mean. I'd say it was a practical move, and I had no problem hiding behind the music stand and faking my way through the concert.

Subsequently, it was agreed by everyone – my parents, my teacher, and most of all by me, that continuing lessons would not be wise. The violin was put away, and I went outside to play. So much for that.

My baseball career never materialized. Indeed, a fascination with the arts and education took over and I explored acting and directing, I wrote short stories, a couple of books (one on education, and a book of poetry), photography, bluegrass guitar, and mandolin. I did a lot of traveling, raised two children, I have fun with grandchildren, and taught English and Theater for 37 years. So I should be done, right?

I should be sitting in front of a television set watching Netflix. I should be on senior citizen trips to Alaska. I should be spending time watching my hairline drift back over my head.

But alas, a few days ago I decided to go full circle and pick up a violin.The siren called and I have no choice but to follow.

Too late? Hardly, because this time I’m serious.

I’ll be 68 years old. I'm in good health, and there is no time like the present. From time to time, I'm going to record my progress, and I invite you to read along.

Replies

June 22, 2017 at 04:37 PM · Congratulations, Michael, on your newfound love for the violin! I think you are wise not to question a new passion and to just go for it. Put yourself in the hands of a good teacher, practice every single day, and I think you will find a great deal of satisfaction in the journey!

June 22, 2017 at 05:45 PM · Thanks, Laurie. Actually, I'm about 7 weeks ahead of this blog entry. At this point, I've bought a good violin, found a great teacher, I practice for at least an hour each day, and even played in a concert. Stories of those events, and more are coming soon. And thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it.

June 22, 2017 at 06:00 PM · You are set!

June 23, 2017 at 01:24 PM · Adult onset violin is an uncommon disease and virtually impossible to cure.The best we can do is make you comfortable while it runs its course. Best wishes!

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