Monday, February 18, 2008

Painted Violins

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony League of Fort Worth are having a fund raiser in March. Part of the event includes auctioning off some pretty fancy violins.

Take a look at these creative beauties!

Which one would you pick? They're all very clever, but I like this one, and this one. (Be sure to click on the larger views to see the back of the violins.)

True story:

When I was six years old, my daddy decided I would learn to play the fiddle. He bought a student's (child's) violin for me and my lessons began twice weekly after school with the local high school band teacher at Springtown High School. I can't recall his name now.

Sheets of music for the violin were purchased, along with some good ear plugs for the rest of the family. Dad dreamed of seeing me onstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Surely his gift of playing any instrument by ear had been passed to me, and I would get the opportunity denied to him - to learn proper technique and how to read music.

Learning to read musical notes was not particularly hard, but this was also as I was learning to read words in the first grade. (Kindergarten in the early 1960's was not provided by the state, and I never attended.) The second stumbling block, and a major one at that, was the violin was strung (as were all such instruments unless specially ordered) for a right-handed person. I am left-handed. I suppose my dad thought that if I could master the instrument as a righty, my talent would shine even brighter given my left fingers could key the stringers better.

I tried, I really did. Making Daddy proud was important to me, but it was soon apparent to me and to Mom that the Grand Ole Opry would just have to find another six year-old prodigy. I cried at every lesson, frustration insurmountable with the awkward-feeling violin.

The old violin sits in its battered case underneath my bed. The horsehair bow has come apart like a cheap wig, and the strings are saggy. I get a tinge of regret every time I open the case. I could've been a Dixie Chick! (Yeah, right...make that "Yeah, left".)

A couple of years later, piano lessons were a little better, though I only stuck it through for 2 years. Recitals were scary. At least a piano was neutral when it came to handedness (though the melody notes are played mostly by the right hand).

Alas, it just wasn't in the cards for me to be musically inclined.

Dad gave it one more try with my number three daughter, Lara. He bought her a newer violin than my old one, and found a very talented and patient old fiddle player who agreed to give her lessons. Even though Lara was right-handed, she was too active a kid to sit still for long periods of time, and the violin is an instrument that demands lots of practice. The softball field was more to her liking, and so Lara now has a dusty violin that sits lonely under her bed. She was (and is) however, a heck of a ball player.

Here is a real child prodigy of the violin, five year-old Akim Camara:


joared said...

Golly darn, if you'd just stuck with that violin you could of had a group "The Pattie Partners." My violin experience was much less to my liking, alienating my appreciation of the instrument for a few years.

Those violins are surely a sight -- love the wood work. Understand why you might prefer the one you picked. Think you need to get that violin out from under your bed and let the artist in your house go to work on it to display in your home.

This five year-old is quite a player -- had caught him on some show. This video is well worth watching.

bill said...

my own music lessons starting in the 5th grade were a disaster. as a result i have always been afraid to try anything to do with music again. still have the instrument in the top of a closet though to remind me of my failure.

those violins are nice but i'm going to pass on making any bids for them.

Texas T-bone said...

You're not mean enough to have been a Dixie Chick.

I like the violin that is painted like a cow. If it came with a set of chaps, a Stetson and a patient teacher to give me lessons, I'd be all over it.