#51: Learn the Basics of How to Play the Piano or Violin

I have a new respect for rednecks.

I mean, seriously, it takes a special kind or person with a special kind of patience to learn how to fiddle, or play any instrument really, and I, my friends, am not one of them. There seem to be hundreds of thousands of rednecks playing away like Charlie-fecking-Daniels below the Mason-Dixon line alone, however, so how hard can it be, right? OMG HARD.

But, in an effort to continue the checking-off my way towards my impending demise, I enrolled in a class called “Absolute Beginners Fiddle” at the Irish Arts Center of NYC. The class was described as one suited “for those with no prior fiddle experience”, with instruction on how to hold the fiddle and bow, tuning, and producing a good tone. Best of all, it declared that “by the end, students will be able to play one or two Irish fiddle tunes”. Intriguing – tell me more.

The class was to meet once a week for an hour for two months (that’s 8 hours, BTW), and I immediately pictured myself fiddling away like Sharon-fecking-Corr and participating in jam sessions at local pubs, you know, wearing like an Aran sweater, or perhaps something more sleek and all black, like they do in Riverdance. “Who knows, maybe I have an unrealized gift? Maybe my destiny is to play the violin! Maybe I will be an adult prodigy!”

No, you guys, seriously, these thoughts went through my brain and I now know what it’s like when fat people see weight loss pill commercials on TV: “Wow! You mean with through hardly any work at all and very little commitment I could be on the cover of Shape magazine?! And wear jeggings?! Sign me the hell up!”

Ah, but what do we live for if not those momentary glimpses of hope?

So I rented myself a violin (by the way, a violin and fiddle are the exact same instrument – the names are just more descriptive of the style of music being played, sort of like “piano” and “piany”) and was ready for my first class.

If there is one sound more horrifying than nails on a chalkboard or silverware scraping a plate or a baby crying for more than 5 minutes, it’s the sound of beginning violin players en masse. Unlike with small children, there’s nothing really endearing about beginning adult violin players.

Oh my god, I cannot even begin to tell you how horrible I was – by far the worst in the class. Everyone was supposed to be an absolute beginner, but I was the only one without any real training in instrumental music. One guy’s mom was even a violin teacher! Come on! That’s just not fair. How can I compete with that? Needless to say, I was an absolute beginner in the sense that it sounded like I drank a bottle of Absolut and then headed off to class.

But, I did learn how to hold the violin and bow, finger placement, and the got the general idea of the instrument, which I suppose is something. An earnest attempt was made, so I think it counts.

I can’t play any songs.

I sort of tried.

Fiddle-dee-dee.

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4 thoughts on “#51: Learn the Basics of How to Play the Piano or Violin

  1. Lisa says:

    At least they let you finish the class. I took flute lessons in 5th grade. My teacher asked me not to come back in 6th. No musical talent here either.

  2. pam says:

    I’d always thought that fiddles had a longer neck (or whatever it is you call it) and shaped a little differently. I didn’t realize they were the same. Interesting.

    At least you gave it a good effort though!! I’ve always wanted to learn a stringed instrument of some sort.

  3. thepaulw says:

    I learned the trumpet, my sister learned the violin. Imagine that jam session early on.

  4. Carla Casey says:

    I don’t understand. All my children are amazingly talented geniuses in all the arts.

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