Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In an episode of the television version of “Madeline,” one of the characters takes up the violin. You’d think one of the Parisian friends of Madeline would be a natural at the instrument. She sucked. It was comparable to handing Garfield a violin. I remember flowers drooping in reaction to the squawks she produced. The girl continued to practice as her music began to draw crowds. I was attracted to this concept of improvement and wanted it for myself.This, combined with desires to show up the kid at school who played “Twinkle, Twinkle” at the talent show each year, sparked my interest in Violin. I began lessons.I slithered through the Suzuki books, admiring my development as a musician. But I felt physically uncomfortable with the instrument. I was terribly aware of the violin itself; each day became a battle to see how long I could stand the teeter-tottering of the instrument on my collarbone.Meanwhile, I became a fifth-grader. I joined band because I thought it was cool. We were sent home with instrument forms, and my mom granted me permission to try trumpet (my idea) and flute (her idea).Although I couldn’t get a sound out of it, I chose the flute because my mom spent a week telling mournful stories about her childhood wish to play the instrument. I became the proud owner of an instrument I couldn’t make a sound on.Three weeks into flute class I became the last person to make a sound, but from there the music came naturally. Regardless, the next few years were the dark ages of my musical history. My middle school mind was preoccupied with strawberry-coconut lip-gloss and whoever had first chair. Then, one month before high school I decided I wanted to be the best flute player in school. It’s a matter of opinion whether I accomplished that, but I won first chair in our top band (we had 7). A rash crawled up my arms and neck the moment I finished my first band solo ever (fortunately, the rash was a one time occurrence). I set up my first flute lessons after freshman year and joined my first honor bands and college bands sophomore year. I learned about the Minnesota Youth Symphonies, and earned a spot for my last two years of high school. I had always enjoyed playing flute, but when I corresponded with a symphony for the first time I was on the high of a lifetime. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was in love and realized it was the music. Playing was no longer about competition and improvement (though they make good motivators) I spent the next two years filling a resume of summer programs, competitions, conventions and other various performance opportunities to thrust myself toward the orchestra world.Unless I get bitten by snakes on a plane and need my arm amputated, I will one day be in a symphony orchestra. It will be a long road- but the whole point to a road trip is the drive along the way.


At 9/17/2006 11:44 PM, Blogger Dennis Fuller said...

i'm gkad you kept going at it, even after you were unsuccessful

At 9/18/2006 10:53 AM, Blogger Scott Spiegelberg said...

Please add a link to your first draft. Where you write "... but when I corresponded with a symphony..." there are better ways to phrase that. Was it when you first performed in an orchestra, or was it when you first heard an orchestral piece?


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