Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yay, number 4... this is definately n0t getting tires0m

Alright guys, if y0u read my last draft, I had 3 ideas in it t0 add t0 my aut0bi0graphy. I asked f0r imput 0n what i sh0uld and sh0uldn't use. I have decided t0 add 2 0f my ideas (paragraphs 0ne and ten) t0 my draft. The third idea y0u will find at the end. I w0uld like t0 use it and I w0uld like it t0 be my intr0ducti0n. S0 what I'm asking f0r is y0urall's 0pini0n 0n whether 0r n0t it w0uld s0und g00d there. Thanks!

When I was little I used to go sit in my grandma's living room and listen to one of her many music boxes. It was always the same one. It played the theme from the musical Cats. I don't know why I liked it so much, but I could sit and listen and watch those cats go round and round forever. Even from a young age I showed signs of becoming a lover of music.

Around 13 years ago, I became interested in music. I had no heroes, no music idols; I just wanted to play. I asked Santa Clause for a piano. Apparently Santa did not have the money for a piano but did have the money for a very cheap violin. This did not faze me. I held the scroll under my chin and smiled at my mom and dad and said, "Look! Santa brought me a violin!" This was where it all began.

I began taking lessons the summer following that Christmas; it was the summer before I was to enter the second grade. By the time I had reached the third grade, the orchestra teacher at my elementary school had found that I was more advanced than many older students already in her class. Even though students were not allowed in the elementary orchestra until the fourth grade, I quickly became an exception. The teacher, however, lacked many, if not all, teaching skills. We played "Twinkle, Twinkle" until I graduated. If it had not been for my private lessons, I would not have progressed at all.

Upon entering junior high school I had no desire to play the violin any longer. The less than adequate teacher I had had previously made me believe that the violin was not for me. I did not sign up for orchestra. Fortunately my parents pushed me along. I played a couple of excerpts for the orchestra teacher and I remember him saying, “Dang, you can play. You’re in.” My parents assured me that orchestra would be different in junior high. To my great surprise, it was. There were more students and the teacher was an actual orchestra teacher. He knew what he was doing and for the first time in my orchestra career, I heard what an orchestra was supposed to sound like. The different sections had different parts; there were harmonies and melodies. It was only a junior high orchestra but it was beautiful.

As I progressed further in my playing, I realized that our Floyd Central Symphony Orchestra was not as great as I had always seen. Many of the students did not try their best and as I progressed, they stayed behind, making the music sound out of tune and displeasing. I did not sign up for orchestra at the beginning of eighth, ninth, or tenth grade but my teacher had gone to my parents on all three occasions and convinced them that I needed to stay in orchestra because I had a "natural talent." So I stayed.

At this point in time, the violin was becoming less and less appealing. The only thing that really kept me trying was the competition. There wasn’t much of it; in fact there was only one person to be competitive with. I fought with this small blond girl every year for the better chair. To tell the truth, if it hadn’t been for her, I would have had no reason to push myself and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

When I was in the tenth grade, I knew our orchestra was not at the level I would have preferred so I looked into community orchestras. I found one for my county, the Floyd County Youth Symphony. I joined and was temporarily satisfied. I progressed quickly up through the chairs of seconds to firsts until there was nothing left. Therefore my second year proved to be much less satisfying. They also joined the younger orchestra with the older orchestra due to a drop in participants. The younger children only brought the orchestra down. Within two weeks I dropped the orchestra. I found instead a larger and more advanced community orchestra, the Louisville Youth Orchestra's Symphony Orchestra. It was what I had been looking for all along. It was made up of an older crowd and the musicians were only there because they wanted to be. Since they wanted to be there, they tried their best and as a result, the orchestra sounded amazing.

I auditioned late for the LYO. My audition was okay and the conductor placed me in the back of the first violins. We rotated and kept auditioning for first stand. I never tried. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t try. The conductor couldn’t stand me. I sat in the back of the firsts and never pushed myself any further. I didn’t like him much either. I felt he judged me and in return I brought his judgments to life. I was a punk. The following year I was not going to audition for shear hatred of the man conducting the orchestra. To my surprise there was a new conductor that year, so I figured I would give it a try. I didn’t find this out until a week before auditions but I grabbed a random piece of music and ran with it. I somehow was placed as Assistant Concertmaster. I was so surprised and yet vastly pleased. It made me feel as if someone had faith in me; somebody liked my playing. I tried hard that year to make the new conductor happy with his decision. He was so nice and he helped us instead of humiliating us. I don’t think he regretted his decision.

A few years ago, I discovered music. Yes I have been playing music since the second grade, but I had never actually realized what feelings can be triggered by music. Certain events in my life created a special place within myself for music. Since then, nothing else can release those unique thoughts and feelings. Sometimes when I listen to music, I feel this physical feeling that is quite indescribable. It is a high; one of ecstacy and pure delight that makes every nerve in my body tingle and my stomach flutters with enjoyment. When these feelings came about, I realized that music had to be the most important thing in the world.

In the summer before my senior year in high school, I began to teach violin lessons privately for spending money. After several months with my students, I began to see improvement. It was not small and minimally noticeable improvement either; it was enormous and obvious. I was amazed at my own teaching abilities. I began to feel this great pride after each of my students' lessons. By Christmas of that year, I knew what I wanted to do for a living. I was going to be a teacher.

Now I am here at DePauw's School of Music. I'm here not only to improve upon my own violin performance abilities, but to learn how to teach others as well. Here I will learn to pass on my knowledge of music to younger generations.

Third idea:

I was talking to someone the other day about music and how it makes me feel. I told her about that wonderful sensation I get all over my body when I listen to Pink Floyd or Dvorak's New World Symphony. I asked her if she ever felt that way and she looked at me as if I was crazy and said, "I've never felt anything like that when I listen to music." I was stunned. I had nothing left to say to her and I left. How can anyone go through life happily and call their life complete without ever feeling music?


At 10/30/2006 8:10 AM, Blogger Nat said...

I liked the new intro, just tie it in a little more to the next paragraph, and i really liked idea #3.


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