I was six years old when my father bought my first violin in Landour, Mussoorie and presented it to me with the challenge to pluck out “Twinkle Star” as it didn’t yet have a working bow.
For several years he would teach me by rote and later by note how to play this instrument. I have no idea what his dreams were for me..only that he continued my instruction and then handed me over to another teacher when the time seemed right.
When we returned from India the second time I was a young adolescent and at a pivotal point in my musical journey. Wasn’t making progress and about ready to chuck it...but a Providential link up with the concertmeister of the newly organized Roanoke Symphony swiftly got me back on track.
My father continued my lessons with the instructor at James Madison University when we moved to Mathias, WV. Later Shenandoah Conservatory at Dayton, Virginia accepted me as a freshman and pointed me to part time employment in the town.
Another coincidental relink up with the Roanoke Symphony led to a career teaching strings in the
Roanoke City Schools for 34+ years.
Four years ago when we moved to the Richmond area, it was apparent that our 6 year old grandson had more than his share of musical interest and talent. I was allowed to work with him as often as possible. He has made good progress and is now literate at an intermediate level.
This past Sunday was part of a dream come true. I had signed us both to play in Richmond Symphony’s “Come and Play” orchestra event. Wasn’t sure his baseball schedule (his other interest) would allow him to participate. But, I went on faith, downloaded the music and prepared
him the best I could. Sure enough, his Dad and Mom came through and supported this effort.
For that I’m SO grateful.
At the rehearsal and concert it was gratifying to see him enthusiastically match me bow for bow and passage for passage as we shared the music together. I hope he was impressed enough to want to continue this adventure. Violin music covers such a wide range of genres. From my 74 year old perspective as a teacher and musician I see the great advantages that might accrue from advanced skills in this area.
Most string musicians are VERY interesting people worth knowing, whether they’re professional or just advanced amateurs. Most are interested in making music with other musicians. They are
multidimensional folks and can carry on interesting conversations besides current team scores.
In Roanoke I became acquainted through my church with a musical group whose interests and playing included pop, blue grass, and Celtic genres. They were lawyers, a physician, and school and government employees. We met once a month and had the best of times.
So, I will sow the seeds and do my best to cultivate my grandson’s musical abilities and hope
that long after I’m gone he will be able enjoy the fruits of his musical journey which began
beside his Granddad.