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Mendy Smith

Day 35 - Preparing to Say Goodbye

March 8, 2009 at 6:30 AM

With only a litte over a week remaining in my life here in Portland, I  took some time today to to buy my teacher a Thank You card and small gift.  I stood before the aisle of cards at the store, looking  for one that was an appropriate way of saying thanks for two years of musical inspiration, guidance, and personal support he has given me, especially over the past month.  I passed over cards that were overly sentimental or 'gushy', and settled on one that reflected the ever present humor and laughter we shared during lessons.  The card I chose reminded me of the accidental ornaments ("Mendy Ornaments")  that made their way into Joel's sheet-music while he supported my goal to learn all the Suites before I hit 40, and teaching me to be a better violist.  I took the card with me to the register and headed back home. 

When I got home, I put the card on my music stand so that I wouldn't forget to bring it with me to my final lesson.  With all the craziness to come this week preparing for the move across country, it is a real possibility.  I pulled out my viola and began with my 3 octave C major scales, trying to build it up to 12 notes per bow, but the tone was dead and my fingers stumbled.  I looked at the card, and began to cry. This is silly!  I'm a grown woman and should be happy that I found a job, especially in this economy.  This isn't the first time I've had to move out of state or country in my career.

After several failed attempts on the C major, I switch to the D-minor scale.  Now my viola began to ring with its unique overtones.  Even though I thought I was tired of playing it, I played the Bloch through from the heart, hearing the piano part in my mind.   I played through the 6th Suite movement that Joel introduced me to just two days ago searching for the perfect intonation in the double stops, and the Bruch once again experimenting with the different flavors that the different strings can evoke. 

Tears started to flow again.  How ironic it is that the moment that I achieve something that I had previously thought impossible, it is time to move on and start over once again. I took a good look around my music room knowing that this will be one of the last days I will be practicing in this perfect environment - from the wood floors, vaulted ceilings, to inspiring decor.  I learned vibrato, prepared for two competitions, and nourished my musical soul in this room.  Soon it will be filled with moving boxes, and then an empty hull until someone else comes along to find their own inspiration in this space. 

Then I remembered that this is really not truly a "good-bye", but a "see you later".  I will see Joel at Interlochen in the summer.  I still keep in touch with my previous teachers in California and even Malaysia.  My music will continue no matter where my career takes me, and I am bound to run across the paths with those who have taught me and inspired me once again.

The world is a very small place afterall.


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 8, 2009 at 7:50 PM

Good luck Mendy, that must not be easy!  I would never want to have another teacher that the one I have now! Hope you will find another great one!  Good luck in your new life!  I can recall my last solfege lesson... I cried like a baby when announcing to my teacher that I had to quit because I had decided that it was better for job opportunities to go in something else than music...  I didn't want to quit! I was 18 and I looked like a 4 years old!  Can't change violinists...

Anne-Marie

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