May first will be the anniversary of the afternoon I decided to learn how to play a violin. On May 15 I’ll hit the one-year anniversary for taking violin lessons. Then on May 20 I’ll showoff what I’ve learned, playing around 20 short pieces in a pub here in Portland, Oregon.
I’ll do my recital at the Muddy Rudder Public House. I’m inviting family, friends, and whoever else happens to be in the pub at 2 p.m. that Sunday afternoon to sit back, listen to the music and to eat and drink before, during, and after my performance.
Frankly, if I came to a first year recital by a guy who is almost 69 years old, I might want a drink as well. The 20 minutes will either go well, or it won’t, but in any case, it will happen. They have great pizza and a full bar.
So that will be that. The question for May 21 will be – what’s next?
I know I’m going to do another year of lessons, and perhaps a year or two after that. Why not? Indeed, I’d love to do ten years of lessons, but let’s be realistic - I’m under a bit of a time crunch. I’m almost 69 years old. Life expectancy for males in the USA is 77 – 78 years old on average. My dad and grandfather lived until they were 84. I fully intend to get to 90, but let’s face some facts. While I’m in great health, I eat well, and get daily exercise the odds are not in my favor.
That’s show biz.
So, if I’m going to do anything with a violin beyond playing it in a bedroom, I’ve got to set some realistic goals, and here they are.
Let’s take stock. I enjoy playing fiddle tunes, Celtic and Irish music, and classical pieces.
Playing fiddle tunes will be easy to accomplish. Old Time and Bluegrass jams are plentiful here in the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, we have a couple of great weekly jams here in Portland at the O’Neill Pub on Sunday afternoons, and at the White Eagle Saloon on Thursday’s. Also, from spring into the autumn there are festivals all over the place with a couple of great ones in the winter months.
Irish jams seem a bit more difficult to find which strikes me as odd since there are so many Irish themed pubs around here. In any case, I’m not ready to step into a jam at this point. Give me a year and then I’ll be ready.
When it comes to classical music, I’d love to get my feet wet with some sort of community group. The most visible one is Classical Revolution PDX. The Classical Revolution jams are all over the country, and I think they are a great idea. They take classical music out of the recital halls and play in places like restaurants and pubs. In other words they take it to the people, and have open jams for pro, amateur, teachers, and students. That might eventually fit the bill.
At the moment my teacher, Mirabai Peart, is touring Europe playing with Alela Diane. I’m working on my songs every day, and sending her YouTube videos so she can comment on where I am with all of this.
So we’ll see what happens. All I can say is that a year ago I never thought I’d be doing what I am, but I’m having a great time.
By the way, you’re invited to the recital.
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