I'd like to re-introduce myself,
I’m Riz, from Indonesia.
("re-introduce".. because my last post was way back in 2009!)
First of all, I'm sorry that this is gonna be a super-long post. It's something that I have kept for so many years, and just want to share this story to people about what I have experienced.. alone.
I live in Makassar. it’s a big city, the capital of South Sulawesi, one of a province in Indonesia. Yes, it’s a big city, big enough that everything can get lost in it, like awareness, awareness of some things, including the music, especially the classical music.
I was not raised in a musical family. However my whole family enjoy singing, in bathroom, karaoke, or in relatives wedding occasion. Yep I know that’s not counted as ‘musical’.. lol
One day, around nine years ago, my parents was shocked because I asked them to buy me a violin for my birthday. Thankfully they did buy me a violin (after a long discussion btw) It was my very first real musical instrument eventhough it's only a cheap student-violin, cost around US$70. Yes, it’s 70, not 700.. I was extremely happy. I didn’t know how or why I fell in love with music. I had never known what a symphony, a concerto, or an overture is; who people called Bach, Brahms or Bartok are. No one around me ever spoke about them, obviously....
I began my first violin lesson couple of weeks after I got the violin. I took the private class but the lessons only lasted for a month (four meetings, once a week, each meeting was 30 minutes) because my parents could not set my lesson as a primary need. I know we had a hard time in financial, but we’re still fine, without additional stuff like music lessons.
In those short four lessons, what I learned were simply how to hold violin and how to draw straight bow on every strings. That’s all. How could I expect more? I heard so many violin students gave up because they said the lessons were boring, or the lessons were super-hard, etc. My teacher phoned me at home and asked why I stopped so early, and wondering if I were just the same as those kind of students. I said "sorry I just can’t do it anymore" then hung up the phone.
I didn’t really stop there of course. I began to teach myself, I had no choice... I had two violin basics book. Those were the only two favorite things that I carried with me everywhere everytime. However, you can Imagine how terrible my right-hand was, how awful my left-hand placement was on fingerboard. I once recorded myself playing and about 5 years later I was so disgusted seeing it. Luckily the recording is gone now..
So my lonely journey continued. Everytime I saw any TV shows, televised celebrity concerts or anything that featured solo violinist or orchestra, I kept staring on them, visually paying attention to their gesture and their hand movements. Listening to the beautiful sounds they created. I really wanted to play like that. I started to move my hands (with or without my violin) in front of TV during those shows, imitating the violinist’s gesture, like silly kid. Yep, it almost sounds like I am that on additional character in "Heroes" (TV Show) whose superpower is a copycat, who can do anything she sees (well, I wish I could really do that).
I did those lunatic stuffs for about 4 years.
I was getting used to ear-copying only. I never read music. I sight-read like a stutter, like a little infant wanted to say ma-ma or pa-pa.. But I enjoyed that.
One day I finally met another teacher. He was a traditional fiddler, but he can read music. That was the first time I learned to read music properly. And I was very very excited that the teacher could give private lessons at my home and asked for a very low payment. Unfortunately, he only gave me 2 meetings of lessons (once in a week). In the 3rd week and next days he never came again. No one answer his home telephone. About a year later we finally found out that he passed away in an accident, in that 3rd week. I was totally shocked....
He gave me a book. A basic book of violin positions (guide to third and fifth positions). But he had not taught me those yet, because we only had two meetings so far. He said someday he would teach me how to shift correctly.. But who knows someone’s fate.........
If he didn’t gave me that book, I would not have known that violin has such techniques for shifting. If he was still here, I would never stop thanking him so much.
A year later, I keep studying music, still alone.
In my school, I used to get detention everytime I came late in the morning. I came late because I stayed up late practicing, watching and reading some classical music videos and reading materials that I got from the Internet.. Yep, I was crazy like hell. Only music rules my head. I also have enjoyed doing some other arts like drawing and painting since I was a kid but music has defeated them all. It took the topmost part of my priority.
Anyway, the school detention was done in the library. All the late students were “prisoned” there for about two hours, not allowed to go to any places but the toilet. We were all asked to find books to read to spend the hours. Well, good for me, I love reading. One day I went to art section and how surprised I was that I got a series of a very old music theory books. Those books looked like trash, never been taken care of. Many pages were almost fully torn off, dusty, and smells bad. I noticed that there were about three copies of all series and I saw the library-note of each book says the last date of borrowing is about 11 years ago, even the library ID numbers had gone. So I decided to “adopt” them home.. Yep, I literally stole them.. NO ONE has ever looked for those books anyway even after months later... All I know is If those books stayed there, I’m sure they’d be thrown away someday or just decayed in time.
I got almost everything I need to learn in those books, especially the basic music theory. In one of the book, for the first time I saw the thing called “orchestra score”. How amazed I was, seeing different staffs of various orchestral instruments. Don’t ask why on earth I had never seen an orchestral score. Yes, I already got access to internet but not at home. And I was one of that kind of person from Stone Age who didn’t know the proper way to Google things. I even didn’t know that there are bunches of free violin instructions in internet (LOL.. but back in that time, of course, they were not as many and as accessible as nowadays). The score was Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony. I already got the recording (it was a pirated mp3 copy sold in market, I had no idea where to get original CDs that time, even if it existed in my city, I knew that they'd be superexpensive). I played the recording while reading the score. Again I was like the person from Stone Age, seeing fire for the first time..
That’s the first time I started to notice more musical signs I’ve never seen. Then one day when I (finally) could google some more scores and recordings, I began my “sight&hearing” study.. That’s the early way I found out more and more abour the musical signs and how they sound like.
A year later I began the internet journey, I signed up to several social network sites. I ‘met’ so many kindhearted people especially musicians around the world. They helped me A LOT. For example, there’s a friend, a professional violinist & teacher from New York, privately scanned and sent me her musics which you’ll never find free in internet.. I’m so grateful to know them.
The reasons why I’m still being a self-taught until now are, first: back in that time, after my second teacher passed away, I still couldn’t pay for lessons. In my city, there were only two qualified violin teachers and they’re sort of expensive. Now they’re no longer teaching because both of them are medical doctors now and decided to move from the city and dedicate themselves most for medical world. They were teaching when they were still med students. Second reason is the only way I could get a teacher is to fly to another city, which would cost even more. Third, unfortunately I’m following those two previous teachers’ path---I’m going to be a doctor (this would be in another story). Fourth, about two years ago a violin teacher from another city came here and teach violin. He graduated from a music university. I asked him to teach me, but he said I need to rebuild everything again from zero and it's almost impossible IF I wanted to play PROPERLY. “You'd already been cooked, I can not re-cook you”, he said.
I'm still practicing until now, I dreamed to be a professional musician, but I think it's too late now. So many other little stories among all of those above.. There are still so many things I would like to tell about my lonely music life, but I realize this one is already LONG enough..So maybe in another post.
If you reached the end of this post, I'd thank you so very much for reading everything :)
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