Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Today was a big day for me. I have been wanting to learn how to play the violin for a long time. My parents got me violin lessons for Christmas, plus a violin to borrow from a friend. Today was my first lesson!
I have tried to squeak out a few notes on it before today, but haven't been very successful. It is a LOT harder than I expected. Definitely harder than the flute and the piano, the other two instruments I play.
I was a little nervous for my lesson today since I had absolutely no idea how to hold the instrument, let alone play it. It wasn't too bad, though! I learned so much in just 30 minutes. I learned the correct posture to use while playing. You're supposed to stand up straight, keep your neck up and shoulder down all while remaining relaxed, holding the bow the correct way with your fingers relaxed, curved, and slightly angled, and also keeping your left hand relaxed on the strings, never straightening or tightening the muscles in my fingers. I think it's going to be awhile before I am able to do all of that at once! Today I would concentrate on holding the bow right and I would raise my shoulder, then I would concentrate on relaxing my shoulder and my other hand would tighten up and move from the correct position. It's hard to keep all of that straight!
Did I mention that I must do all of that while keeping my bow exactly perpendicular with the strings? That's the hardest part. Because if my bow is angled at all, it causes the sound to be all squeaky and screechy. Plus I have to learn the correct angle to use with the bow on each of the four strings, and I have to learn the finger positions of all the notes! Yikes, this is going to be tricky.
It was a lot to remember. I'm surprised I even had time to play a few "songs" while I was there. Okay, so they were mostly rhythm exercises played with open strings. Toward the end he taught me how to play the D sharp scale, and Mary Had a Little Lamb. I was so embarrassed because I knew there were bunches of college music majors in the hallway who could hear me playing this scratchy, squeaky, out-of-tune rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb! My little Ukrainian instructor kept saying, "Good, good!!" It was not good. Not at all. But I'm going to work on everything he taught me so I can be a little less horrible next week!! :-P
I was surprised to learn that the violin is mostly about using your ears. I've played the piano since I was 6 or 7, and obviously didn't have to worry about whether I was in tune or not, because it was already tuned! And I've also played the flute for a long time, and that's easy to tune...just pull the head out to make it lower or push it in to make it higher. But this is so much different. You just have to have a good ear and make little adjustments with your fingers to change the tone. I have a lot more respect for violinists now! I don't know if I'll ever be able to play decently, but I am going to try!
Wow, I didn't realize how much I was going to write about this! I'm excited and can't wait until I'm not so horrendous anymore!! :-P
Now that I've stretched my musical muscles today, I'm really ready for American Idol tonight!! I can't wait to watch it! I'm going to have to keep flipping back and forth from Idol to Biggest Loser...wish they weren't both on at the same time!