Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Violin Lessons

Lissa and Lily playing a fiddle game. Lily and me ready to play!

Here we are at violin lessons this Monday. Lissa Schneckenburger is our wonderful teacher.
She makes lessons fun for Lily (and me) and makes playing an instrument very cool. We go to her house in Brattleboro on Mondays; we walk through the red stained-glass door and step around the large upright bass in the hallway.
Lily gets pretty giddy but she pulls it together for some playing and learning. We have been trying to develop our ears. Fiddle players usually play music by ear, which means they don't look at the sheet music, they just feel out the tune and play it back. This has been a phenomenal shock to me! Apparently, I love to hide behind the sheet music and the music stand; they make me feel safe and protected. The first week Lissa told us not to look at the book; I had no idea what she was talking about. I had to stand in the kitchen and hear the tune and then figure out how to play it back. I felt like Helen Keller at the pump. I creakily engaged a never used part of my brain. But after a few tries, I could actually play the tune from listening! It felt like smelling really intensely and following a trail. And, just like Lissa said, it took longer to play the tune, but I remembered it much easier than the tunes I'd learned by only looking at the book. It feels very engaging, but deeply relaxing at the same time. It's a fun discovery and it's nice to know at age 38 I can still wake up underused parts of my brain. (Lily can play it back at a quick clip when it doesn't even look like she's been paying attention.)

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