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, sorry that this is gonna be a super-long post. It's something that I have kept to myself for few years, and I just want to share this story, about my life as an amateurish violin enthusiast
I live in Makassar. it’s a big city, the capital of South Sulawesi, one of the province in Indonesia. It’s actually a quite big city, big enough that everything can get lost in it, such as awareness of music
I was not raised in a musical family. The only ‘musical’ thing in my family would probably be like singing (in the bathroom, karaoke, or in our relative’s wedding. lol)
One day, around nine years ago, my parents was shocked because I asked them to buy me a violin for my birthday. After a very long discussion, they finally bought me a violin. It was my very first real musical instrument but it's only a cheap student-violin, costed around US$70. Yes, it’s 70, not 700, a Violin-Shaped Object, probably.... but I was extremely happy. I didn’t know how or why could I fall in love with music. I had never known what a symphony, a concerto, or an overture is; or 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 lessons in total, once a week, each meeting was 30 minutes) because my parents could not afford more lessons. I know we had hard times, but we’re still doing fine, without additional ‘unimportant’ thing like music lessons.
In those short four lessons, what I learned were simply how to hold violin and how to play straight bow on every strings. That’s all. How could I expect more?
Anyway I’ve heard so many violin students gave up the lesson because they said the lessons were boring, or super hard, etc. My teacher phoned me at home and asked why did I stop so early. I simply answered "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 books. Those were the only favorite things that I’d carry everywhere everytime. However, as a new learner, I never realized how terrible my bow-hand was, or how awful my left-hand’s placement on fingerboard was. I once recorded myself playing and about 5 years later I was so disgusted seeing it. Luckily the recording has long gone now..
So, my lonely journey continued. Everytime I saw any TV shows, televised celebrity concerts or anything that featured solo violinist or an orchestra, I would keep staring on them, paying attention to their gesture, or their hand movements, and listening to the beautiful sounds they played. I really wanted to play like that. I started to move my hands (with or without my violin) in front of the TV during those shows, imitating the violinist’s gesture.
I did those lunatic stuffs for about 4 years….
I was also getting used to ear-copying only. I never read music. Even until today I sight-read like a stutter.
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 offered me very affordable lessons and gave me private lessons at my home. Unfortunately, he only gave me 2 meetings of lessons (once in a week). In the 3rd week and next days he never came again. We tried to contact his home telephone but no one answered. We never really asked his home address so we couldn’t track him. Sadly, we finally found out that he passed away in an accident. I was totally shocked…
He gave me a book. A basic book about shifting to the third and fifth positions. But he had not taught me those yet, because we only had two lessons so far. If he didn’t give me that book, I would never know anything about shifting techniques. If he was still alive, I would never stop thanking him so much.
So I keep on learning music, but alone, again..
When I was in high school, I used to get detention everytime I came late in the morning. I usually came late because I stayed up late practicing, watching some classical music videos and reading some materials that I got from the Internet.. I think I lost my sanity. Only music ruled my mind. I also have enjoyed doing some other art making like drawing and painting since I was a little kid, but music defeated them all. It simply became my only priority.
Anyway, the school detention was done in the library. All the late students were “prisoned” there for few hours. All of us was asked to find books to read & study to spend the hours wisely. Well, good for me, I love reading. One day I went to the art section of the library and I was surprised to find a series of a very old music theory books. Those books looked like trash, never been taken care of. Many of the pages were almost fully torn off. They were dusty, and smelled bad. I noticed that there were three copies of all series. when I checked the library-note of each book, it was written that the last time the books were borrowed was 11 years ago, even the actual library ID numbers had gone. I brought them home and I kind of forget to return them but no one had ever looked for those books anyway, even after a year 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 think I got almost everything I need to learn about basic music theory in those books. In one chapter, for the first time in my life, I saw the thing called the “orchestra score”. I was very amazed, seeing different staffs of various orchestral instruments. (Yeah I had never seen orchestra score before, even from the internet, and anyway I was one of that kind of person, who didn’t know the proper way to Google things. I even didn’t know that there were bunches of free violin instructions in internet! but back in that time. they were not as many and as accessible as nowadays). The score was few bars of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony. Luckily I already had the audio recording of it (it was a pirated copy sold in the market, I had no idea where to get original orchestra CDs back then, even if it existed in my city, I knew that they'd be super expensivel).
Then I played the recording while reading the score. I think my eyes were glowing. I was like a person from the prehistoric stone age, ‘seeing’ the fire for the first time..
I started to understand more about musical signs, terms, etc, that I’ve never seen and I tried to learn how they're supposed to sound like. Then when I (finally) could search some more scores and recordings from the internet, I focused on this “sight-hearing” study..
A year later I continued the internet journey, I signed up to several social network sites. I ‘met’ so many kind hearted people, musicians around the world. They helped me a lot. One day, I made friend with a professional violinist & teacher from New York, and she would scan and e-mail me books and musics that were not available in internet.. I’m so grateful to know them all.
The only reason why I still ‘enjoy’ being a self-taught is that I still can’t pay for lessons.
One day I met a violinist from another city. I asked him to teach me, but he said I would have to rebuild everything again from zero but it's almost impossible IF I wanted to play properly because I lacked of good good basic techniques from the start anyway.
“You'd already been ‘cooked’, and I can not re-cook you”, he said….
My heart's crushed but it’s probably the truth that I’ll never be good enough…
Actually I don’t have any idea what i'm gonna do with my violin next. I understand that if I really wanted to be a professional player, I should at least get a teacher or study in a music school. However, my parents would rather want me to become a doctor so I am currently in the faculty of medicine..yeah, the typical Asian parent, I know…
I'm still practicing & trying to enjoy music until now, I dreamed to be a professional musician, even though it’s already too late or perhaps just impossible...
Sorry for such a superlong story..
If you reached the end of this page, I'd love to thank you so much for reading everything :)
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