I just Twitter’d about this, but thought it merits its own (short) blog entry.
I’m really missing my violin right now.
Part of it may be watching Itzhak Perlman at the inauguration yesterday, part of it may be the classical music I’ve been listening to in the car, but I think it’s mostly just that I *miss* it.
I miss the feeling of it tucked neatly under my right elbow, bow dangling from my index finger.
I miss the sound of the rosin cake scraping gently up and down the bow’s hairs.
I miss the gentle tension of the strings under my fingers, and how – more than 5 years since I’ve last played – I still know without a shadow of a doubt how to space my left hand’s fingers to hit each pitch.
I miss the beautiful, subtle tiger-striping on its back, and the absolutely perfect curve of the scroll.
I miss the thorough knowledge of all the terms – like a language I haven’t used in a long time, I’m forgetting the vocabulary – but I know that if I start trying to speak again, it’ll come back to me.
I know that my bow desperately needs to be re-haired, and I’ll probably need at least a new E and D string (iirc). I have no idea where to buy strings in St. Louis, or where a good place is to get my soundpost checked out. I think I have a couple extra strings in my case – but were they Dominants or Obligatos? I think my E was an Obligato, and I know I was looking for a warmer A – and wasn’t I looking for a good G when I quit? I liked the Dominant D. Hell, maybe soon I’ll try gut.
I don’t know about formal lessons, at least not anytime soon. I want to spend some quality time with my violin again first. I want to go through the simple scales and try to drudge up that muscle memory.
I’m not looking forward to thumbing through the concertos I used to have memorized, and realizing that I can’t play them anymore. That’ll be frustrating as hell for me. I’ll embarrass myself by ducking back into Suzuki 4’s etudes. Instead of a 10- or 15-minute warmup period, it’ll be weeks or months.
But it’ll be great having callouses on the tips of my fingers again (will the knitting callouses and the violin-ing callouses overlap?), and feeling the sweet spot on my violin’s neck – years of playing smoothed the thumb spots for first, third, and fifth positions ever-so-slightly.
Someday I’ll join a community orchestra, and sit at the back of the second violins at first, and I’ll play the harmony and probably want to quit because I was never a good second violinist. But I’ll keep going, and then I’ll be a first violin, paired with some upstart 8-year-old kid or an old man who used to teach middle school strings (and is half-deaf as a result). And then I’ll be in the middle of the first violins – maybe even third chair, right where I like to be – and it’ll be great.
I was good, once. Really good. I was assistant concertmistress – sometimes full concertmistress, depending on how that round of auditions went – in my high school orchestra, and was in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. I participated in clinics, both as a student and a teacher. I took private lessons from one of the better teachers in Kansas City and I picked up a few paying gigs along the way. I wasn’t the best (never am, at anything), but I was pretty darn good – especially when I tried.
Between a year of sweaters and re-teaching myself the violin, I think I can make 2009 into a decent year.
2010 – maybe I’ll pick up the bass again? I really miss it, too….