10 Lessons I Learned From Playing the Violin:
My brother and I played the violin when we were little.
We were members of the Fairfield Fiddlers, and Charlie Hall was our teacher.
Once per week, after school, we would have violin lessons in the basement of his home. While he helped my brother hone his fiddling skills, I would read through the Highlights Magazine, finding all of the Hidden Figures, reading the jokes and stories in it.
When it was my turn for the lesson, Mr. Hall would play the piano while I stood next to him with my fiddle. He would be smoking a cigarette, with smoke billowing in my face the entire time. Sometimes we would stand in front of the mirror to look at our posture when we played. Either way, cigarette smoke billowed in the air.
We would practice at home, reluctantly. I hated playing, but my brother didn’t seem to despise it as much as me. He was better at playing, and maybe he enjoyed it. I'm not really sure.
I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, not enjoying being forced into any activity (ahem, golf). Our basset hound, Moose, would howl along when we hit certain notes, and that made me laugh.
I’ll never forget the day in 7th grade when my mom told me that Mr. Hall died from a heart attack (R.I.P. Mr. Hall). I was SO relieved that my lessons were done. I felt a bit of guilt and shame for being happy that he died, but it was THE END to the lessons. I assumed I was going to hell (which I thought was going to happen a lot when I was younger, but that is a story for another day).
Why am I sharing this?
Glad you asked.
Here are 10 takeaways from my playing the violin.
I am grateful for the experience. I can say that I played the violin as a kid.
My brother and I appeared on local TV, when the Fairfield Fiddlers were a featured segment at an event. My 15 seconds of fame happened so early in life.
My aversion to the smell of cigarettes has prevented me from partaking in an expensive habit.
I ended up working for a division of Highlights Magazine and was asked to be in a group to create the mission, vision, and values for the company. I was considered a change maker. Granted, my violin-playing did not lead me to the job, but it’s a cool coincidence.
Not many people know this story about me, and I’m sharing personal thoughts from my vault.
I recognize classical music more frequently because of those lessons. It may have helped me pass the Intro to Classical Music class I took in college.
I also took a few piano lessons from Mr. Hall, and I can still play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star because of it (although a little rusty).
My mom loved that we played, and we could joke about those violins and my dislike for them as adults. I can only imagine the frustration she felt when trying to make me practice, and I wish I would have apologized to her for being such a shit when I was younger. Dad, I’m sorry too, but I don’t remember you being too involved with the whole thing.
Smoking can kill you.
It’s important to do what you are passionate about. Find hobbies and creative outlets that fill you with joy.
Thanks for reading this.