June, 2005. It started the way many a love affair has—a starry, warm night, a chance encounter in a hot tub, the gentle swoosh of the Pacific Ocean adjacent to us, a conversation that led to That Subject. “You’re a violinist?” I asked the woman in the hot tub across from me. “Oh this is such a coincidence! I’m about to start a writing project that has a violinist as one of its characters and I plan on learning everything I can in the next year. Maybe even take a lesson or two!” Then came the proposition. “So… if I paid you for a few lessons, would you, like, play some tunes for me during that session?”
Thus was voiced the first of my naïve assumptions that now, years later, has me cringing in shame. But I’ve always found shameful confessions in my writing to be good for a laugh. Therefore, without further ado, I present my list of top ten stupid assumptions I’d made, at age 43, before ever picking up a violin.
Top 10 Assumptions
- 10) That I could learn all I needed to know about being a violinist by taking four or five lessons.
- 9) That my plan was simply to conduct field research and not get emotionally involved. Never had been a musician, never would be, and that sort of thing.
- 8) That an investment of $250.00 in a violin was rather extravagant.
- 7) That a year spent reading sheet music would mean that I’d be a pro at sight-reading and not have to murmur “Every Good Boy Does Fine” to myself when struggling through new material.
- 6) That I’d be able to keep my fingernails long and pretty.
- 5) That giving up the aforementioned fingernails on the left hand would bother me terribly.
- 4) That after a year of lessons, I’d be able to play with vibrato.
- 3) That intonation was something you “got” after a few months, like the chicken pox or the clap, and then it was done and you could move on, issue addressed and conquered.
- 2) That after an entire year of study, I wouldn’t be a beginner anymore.
- 1) That I’d be posting these kind of blogs at Violinist.com going on seven years now, a forum and environment that had seemed so irrevocably out of my league, it might have been in a foreign language, but is now one of my favorite online hang-out places.
And now, here I am, moving the whole shebang — essays and thoughts and wisdom (or not) — onto my own site, because, darned if this love affair just hasn’t kept going.