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Fabulous Friday

October 19, 2012

Fabulous Friday | My Violin

In 4th grade they walked us all to the cafeteria where we took a seat and proceeded to take a sound test.  All I really remember about it was listening to different tones and marking something on a paper.  Obviously, they were trying to determine who wasn’t tone deaf :-)  Luckily, it wasn’t for singing because even though I feel like I could be the star singer of the newest a capella group (have y’all SEEN Pitch Perfect?? SO GOOD!), the truth is, I wouldn’t make it past the first few notes.  So, however they graded that test, I passed and I decided that I wanted to play the violin.  Maybe there was more decision making to it than that, but I was 10, so the memories can be a little fuzzy!

Some days it seems like playing the violin from 4th grade through my junior year in college was a dream.  All of the practicing, all of the rehearsals, all of the private lessons, all of the auditions (all of the tears that followed those auditions!), all of the concerts, all of the trips… it’s like it was another life.  I remember at the beginning of 10th grade sitting in the high school symphony room during a rehearsal, our conductor pulled out a letter from a student who had gone off to college.  She said that once she went to school she stopped playing because of her schedule and her studies.  But she missed playing.  A lot.  And her advice was to KEEP playing.  And so I took it… I kept playing.  I played in Clemson and took lessons and kept practicing.  But ever so slowly I had less and less time for all of that as mechanical engineering started to demand more time and then I left to co-op with Delta AirLines for a few semesters.  It became too much.  Not to mention that the class that came in my junior year (many of  whom were from my same high school and same orchestra) were at least 10 times better than I was!  It was a little discouraging to say the least.

I know that comparing ourselves with others spans across all kinds of arts and professions and sports and anything we can imagine.  But for some reason, when it’s an art, when it’s something that you’re pouring your heart, mind, soul and talent into, it’s somehow more personal.  I talked a lot about this in this post, so I won’t go into detail here, but let’s just say that discouragement came easily and my time was more demanding in other places than the orchestra.  I didn’t leave with a bad taste in my mouth or even full of discouragement.  It was kind of like a door was closing on a chapter in my life and I just knew it was time to move on.

Every once in a while I’ll pull out my violin, cut my fingernails (because you can’t have long fingernails to play well!) and pull out some sheet music.  Every time it takes me back.  With some of the music I play I can still hear the orchestra around me and I’m filled with this overwhelming feeling of joy and excitement that I don’t even know how to explain.  I STILL remember my first concert with the high school symphony in 10th grade.  We played most of our concerts at First Baptist in Spartanburg and I can remember sitting there and being so excited and so proud of what we had worked so hard for.  Oh my word, there were SO MANY talented people in that orchestra. It took all of us to play what we did, but because of all that talent, we were really able to pull off most of what was put before us.  Plus, it didn’t hurt that we had a conductor that was brilliant… even if he was quite hard on us :-)

And that girl that wrote that letter to us?  I still think about it and how she was right… I miss it.  Sure, I can pick up my violin whenever I want.  It’s been with me since I was 15 and I LOVE it.  I even remember trying different bows to find the perfect one (it was eerily like Harry’s wand finding him in The Philosopher’s Stone!).  But it’s just not the same as playing with a full orchestra.  So… if you see me pretending to play a violin when an orchestral piece comes on when I’m out in public, you’ll know that I’ve drifted back to high school for a bit.  And please, feel free to just shake your head and even laugh a bit.

This is a bit of change of pace, but I wanted to announce the week of birthday giveaways!  For those of you who don’t know, next Friday, October 26, is my birthday.  Sometimes I still act like I’m about 5 years old when it comes to my birthday.  BUT, what I’ve realized over the years is that as much as I love feeling loved and receiving fun gifts, I love GIVING gifts almost as much if not more!  So… next week I’ll be having some giveaways from some really cool places that also give back.  Feel free to check out the sites for 31 Bits, Toms, and fashionABLE.  They have some cool stories and are doing some really cool things.  And I feel like it would be really cool to support them next week.

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

  1. Arica says:

    I love the pics of your violin! Happy beginning to your bday week.! Can’t wait to see what this year holds for you. I like the sound of those giveaways too. :)

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