Trying a little something new. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while. For the next few days, I will be posting the pieces I submitted for my Writing Minor Portfolio. They are all from classes I took Sophomore to Senior Year at Keene State College. Most of them are memoir in nature, but a few are slightly different. These are pieces I love, but know still need work. If you would like to know more of the stories behind the pieces, let me know and I will be happy to share! Also, any and all constructive feedback is always welcome – just because these were the final versions to be submitted doesn’t mean that they are perfect.
Oh, and also? These are mine. Do not steal them. Thanks.
Written for Theory and Practice: Memoir, Written Senior Year.
Most people who know me know that I love music. I have it constantly playing, whether it’s on my computer, the radio in my car, or on my iPod as I take walks around campus and town. If I don’t have my tunes, I am lost. When asked what my favorite music is, I always answer “everything”. A trite answer? Yes, but an honest one. I was raised on everything – from the contemporary music of my childhood, back to classical greats such as Bach and Vivaldi. My music of choice varies dependant on my mood, and the task at hand. Happy, care-fee mood? Dance music or pop, and sometimes big band. Feeling sexy? Some Cibo Matto, or Back to Basics era Aguilera. Feeling pensive? Jukebox the Ghost. Stressed to the hilt? Classical. Preferably Edvard Grieg or any composer from the Baroque period.
My love of classical music, especially the pieces that heavily feature stringed instruments such as the violin or cello (my absolute favorite instruments) comes from Mrs. Johsnon and her violin classes. In fourth grade, we could take violin if we wanted. In fifth grade, you could take up a band instrument. Many took violin to tide them over until they could play something more compact like the flute, or cooler like the saxophone. Myself, I took the violin because when I heard the strings teacher, Mrs. Johnson, play for us in a demonstration, I was transfixed. The way her body swayed with the music, the way the bow slid across the strings to create such a beautiful melody convinced me – I wanted to play the violin. I went home that day and excitedly told my parents I wanted to play.
I was both grateful and a little surprised that they let me take the violin. For years, I had begged them for ballet lessons, and every year I was told “Not enough money this year – maybe next year”. I suppose the reason I was allowed to take the violin was because it was offered through the school, and we were given a free violin from a family friend.
The violin I had was too big, but I learned how to grow into it. At first I practiced every night, imagining that I was playing for a big crowd in some ornate theatre. The music swelled from my instrument, my bow gracefully danced over the strings. The notes were clear and so beautiful, they would bring tears to my listeners eyes. In reality, the “music” I made from my violin surely must have brought tears to people’s eyes – tears of pain. It was not an instrument that came easily to me, mostly because I quickly grew lazy and did not practice as much as I should have. Besides, I had decided I wanted to play the flute instead – my sister and my dad played the flute. I wanted in on that. But my dad convinced me to stick with the violin, telling me that there are a million flute/woodwind players, but only a few stick with the strings. So, I toughed it out.
I stuck with the violin, and Mrs. Johnson, all through high school. I was never very good at it, mainly because by the time I reached high school, I was more focused on singing. Instead of the private violin lessons Mrs. Johnson suggested, I opted for voice lessons. I sang day and night, my violin slowly falling into disrepair from being neglected. But for some reason, even though it brought me so much frustration, I loved playing. The sound of a violin still evokes a sense of peace and joy, especially when I listen to pieces I had once fumbled my way through way back when. I can remember how badass I felt when I was able to master the complicated runs of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and how I broke into tears when I heard my peers play the same piece of music in a way I knew I would never be able to.
I still think about taking up the violin again every now and then. I know I will never be a maestro, but I loved to play, and that is all that matters. I wonder if it would be different to play just for me, and not for my patient teacher and an audience of my not so patient peers. Sometimes I catch myself listening to pieces I once attempted holding an imaginary violin in my left hand, my fingers positioning themselves to form the notes. All I need is an instrument and a bow.