Maggie and the girls arrange for me to have violin lessons from M's instructor.
We already own the violin. A number of years ago, a different violin instructor came into possession of a somewhat beat-up used violin and offered to fix it up and sell it to us for cheap. So, I've had this violin for a while, and it was playable until we broke a string trying to tune it.
While it's appearance is a bit shabby, the old violin sounds great when it's in tune. Maggie had the instructor re-string the violin and it's wonderful to hear sweet sounds coming from it... at least when someone else is playing.
At the moment I'm practicing without using the fingerboard at all. I'm just trying to get my arm motions to be even, keep the bow on the strings without screeching, slipping or bouncing, hold the thing at the correct angle, and get a feel for keeping rhythm while moving the bow correctly.
I'm encountering a problem holding the bow. I have never blogged about it, but I have a "unique digital configuration" on my right hand which make some activities more difficult. Holding a bow correctly is one of them. It's safe to say that if I had to work the fingerboard with my right hand, I'd be in some trouble. Luckily, I just have to hold the bow. But my right hand fingers are really weak, and they get tired before I've finished a line of music. I tried holding the bow in my left hand for comparison and it doesn't cramp up nearly as quickly. So I've got some strengthening to do.
The instructor didn't seem surprised by my unique condition, so I wondered during the lesson if Maggie had mentioned it to her beforehand. It occurred to me that of course she would have. It's something we (and I) don't talk about much but it was weird to have it not be an issue in need of mentioning when I met my instructor.
Instructor tells me that M is quite talented on her own little violin. She came down to watch me practice last night, and is relishing the thought of being able to haunt me about whether I've put enough time into my practice. I guess it's novel to see me practicing something, because not three minutes into my practice I had both daughters surrounding me and giving advice, with K actually touching the fingerboard while I was in the middle of a screechy attempt at DDDD-AAAA-DDDD-GGGG. I had to shoo them off, which gave me a chance to rest my cramping hand. And my aching ears.
Bonus points for knowing where the title of this post comes from.
fn1. A chunk off one side of the scroll is missing. But it's otherwise quite nice.