I have always wished I knew how to play a musical instrument, the piano or guitar to be more specific. Really they were the only instruments I wanted to play and I have no reason why except I like they way they sounded. The neighbor lady who lived behind us had a piano and often in the spring and fall when everyone had their windows opened I could hear her play. I asked my mom if I could take lessons but it seemed I lacked one crucial element; we did not have a piano. I did have one foray in the world of music, however it was short-lived and, well overall a disaster.
I was in the fifth grade at John M. Dressel elementary School. It was the beginning of the school year and my teacher announced they would be offering music lessons to anyone who wanted to take them. If interested you would need parental permission and be responsible for providing the instrument. She then handed out a sheet listing the instruments eligible to participate and the name of a nearby music store in which you could rent or purchase them. I looked at the sheet and the first thing I wondered was where were the good ones? All they had on the list were the ones nobody wanted to play….I mean really who wanted to play a trombone, a cello or a flute? And who in their right mind wanted to lug one of those big, cumbersome things on and off the school bus? I very thoughtfully looked the list over again and came to the conclusion that I could perhaps live with the violin. Now I just had to muster up the nerve to ask my parents.
As soon as I got off the school bus that afternoon, I made my case to mom announcing my lifelong desire to not only play but master the violin. Looking back I recall being quite convincing when I assured her that opportunities to learn to play such an instrument for free did not come along everyday. I promised her I would practice everyday. I even went so far as to announce that learning to play the violin would almost make up for not having the pony I always wanted, (I know, even I did not believe that one when it came out of my mouth). Mom listened and she did not say yes nor did she say no. She said she would check how much it cost to rent one and then she would talk to dad. By now I was getting cold feet. I was already made fun of because I was fat, add a nerdy instrument to that mix and I would really stick out like a sore thumb. What was I thinking? There was only one thing to do; pray dad said no. Wouldn’t you know, he said no to a pony but the violin, that he said yes to!
The next day after school, mom took me to pick up the violin. The only thing I liked about it was the color blue the case was lined with. And that smell! I will never forget how that thing stunk! From the very first lesson everything about the pairing of the violin and me was a disaster. First of all, when that teacher made her sales pitch looking for innocent victims to fill the music class, she never once mentioned anything about learning to read music much less draw those little scribbly things on paper. And she certainly did not say anything about how many weeks we would spend playing the same note over and over until we moved on to another note repeating the same process.
Honestly, I don’t know if my violin career even last three months and I don’t know who was more elated when I officially quit, me or my parents. The only person to derive any pleasure from it was my grandpa who took immense pleasure in calling me Jack Benny, (whoops I am showing my age). I knew in my heart when I concocted this plan that it was not what I was meant to do and that I was settling because I did not have the patience to wait for what I really knew was right for me. The same desire and passion I had in my heart for horses did not exist in my heart for the violin. God lets us know what is and is not right for us, but whether we choose to heed His direction is entirely up to us. Oh and in case you are wondering, I never did learn to read music!
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless and keep your loved ones safe.