Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grace in Small Things #9

1) I am the proud owner of a gently used Yamaha "Silent Strings" electric violin.

2) Although the strings are nowhere near silent, even without an amplifier, it's still a lot quieter than a hollow-body violin. I can practice in my little condo without feeling horribly guilty about the torture I'm inflicting on my neighbours. Even totally in-tune practicing can be very irritating to listen to. How many times would you like to hear the G major scale through your living room wall? Five times? Ten? How about G minor harmonic? Now how about some arpeggios? Tired of it yet? Yeah, I thought so.

3) I remember quite a lot of my technique from high school, and some of my sight-reading skills are still functioning. I'll have to strengthen my body; re-teach my fingers where to land on the fingerboard; remember to keep the bow perpendicular to the line of the strings; etc. But it's nowhere near as frustrating as starting totally from scratch.

4) I already practiced twice and no one made a noise complaint to the police. Nor did my neighbours spray-paint "SHUT UP!" on my front door. It's good that there are other musicians living and practicing within faint earshot: a recorder, a piano, and another violin. The other violinist is better than me, but that just gives me motivation to catch up.

5) I love practicing. Even playing scales. The violin is a challenge that absorbs all of my attention. It's physically demanding; it requires that I listen closely and adjust constantly; involves timing, pitch, sight-reading, and balance. When a million things are swirling around my brain and I can't gear down, playing the violin forces me to forget about everything except the moment that I'm standing in. You could almost call it meditation. A very noisy meditation.

11 comments:

wigsf said...

You know, a lady who can play a violin may be accomplished, but a girlie that can play the drums can write her own ticket.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Awesome cool looking violin! A+ on style points. I have considered trying to learn an instrument for a hobby, but you know how I am with hobbies I flit from one to another.

Kate said...

I used to feel that way about my cello practice. Sadly, it's in my parent's basement - where it's been for years and years now.

Queen Lindsay said...

Wow, I always wanted to learn how to play the violin. Of course, I got stuck with the clarinet in band. Ugh, I hated it lol

Scarlet said...

An electric violin?? I'd love to see you playing it. Maybe one day you can post a clip.

LL Cool Joe said...

I hoping an electric violin sounds better than an ordinary one? Yeah I know it's the way it's played, but ouch it's not an instrument I like to hear!!

I'm good friends with the Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, and I had to sit through him playing that a few times and even that made me wanna run out the room shouting. :D

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: I find drumming boring. Too much the same, just keeping up with the metronome. Give me melody, harmony, variety!

Ron: I can see you playing the saxaphone. Or maybe rocking out on a double-neck electric guitar. Probably you wouldn't be so much suited to the harp. What about castanets?

Kate: I think my original violin is still in my parents' basement, warped and mouldering. My dad used to use it (in the case) as a footrest while he watched TV in the downstairs den.

Queen Lindsay: Getting stuck with an instrument you don't like is just awful. At least you didn't get stuck with the tuba.

Scarlet: Well, maybe I will in a year or so, when I'm actually any good at it! ;-)

LL Cool Joe: It doesn't sound different at all, since I haven't got it hooked up to an amp with distortion. I guess strings are just not your thing. It's easy to blame a hatred of stringed instruments on overexposure to beginners, but if a professional cellist made you want to run screaming I guess it's something you're not wired for.

Jameil said...

i've wanted to learn electric violin ever since the first time i heard of one. it's the perfect mix of rock and roll and classical. i've never played a stringed instrument (only recorder, trumpet, french horn & mellophone). i might have to pick that up one day. cool!

Jameil said...

wait. i just clicked the link to look at it. REALLY???? that thing is BOSS!!!! love it!!

unsigned said...

Break out the Martial Stack and blast it!

NicoleB said...

I would love to hear you play!
:)