I always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, ever since I was a child, to become a musician. I tried piano and guitar, and experimented with others. I took lessons when I could and took classes. I practiced. I joined choirs. As an adult I had some success with voice. Yet, despite the desire and effort, nothing happened.
Reading stumbled, fingers stumbled, always. Internally I knew something essential was missing, some disconnect existed. If there was opportunity to perform, I could see the boredom on listeners’ faces. My conveyance was empty, always.
After five decades of trying and failing I said to myself, “Kate, this door will not open. This is not for you. You don’t get everything you want in life. It is time to move on.” My yearning laid to rest.
I cried myself to sleep last night.
A few years later, on a whim, with zero expectation, I tried messing around with a violin that had been lying around the house. This violin chose me.
It has been seven years now. I practice every day. I finished Suzuki Book IV. I stand in recitals. I sit in an orchestra. I formed a string trio. I have a new violin and bow, both by master craftsmen.
When the violin chose me, I asked myself, “Is it possible to change one’s self? Is it possible to change how one thinks and exists?” For that was what I would have to do in order to learn to play.
With the guidance of several remarkable teachers, some long term, some short term, and a symphony of supportive friends, with ibuprofen throughout the first year, and hours and hours daily of practice, with dogmatic perseverance and high aspiration, with seemingly imperceivable steps: the essential something is being found, the disconnect is fading. I am learning that one is not necessarily confined to live within the box of one’s life. That it is not easy to get out, but that it can be done.
And while lying in bed in the quiet at end of day, I remembered playing through Haydn’s Divertimento with my trio, how we kept the tempo and didn’t stop, how I could read the music and always knew where we were, how we would breath together and cue each other, how the sound of our harmonies pleased my ear, and yes we were under tempo and yes we have a lot of improvement to do, but we played it, together.
I had felt the coordination of my eyes and hands, I had felt the momentum of the continuous sound, I had felt the connection with my partners and the music, I had felt the path to expression being laid; and I felt such fulfillment from obstacles overcome and such anticipation of achievement to come, that tears of joy reigned and I cried myself to sleep last night.
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