Saturday, August 15, 2009

relax.. relax.. relax..

caffe` corretto, a chat, & coloured violins!

pencil sketch

lesson 11
Most times i get to class early..
i go into a spare room and get in some practice before seeing Maestro and sometimes i will simply sit outside The Room trying to relax as i get very anxious having to play in front of anyone!

I can hear the faint sounds the student before me makes on her violin. Funnily enough she is playing the same songs as i am.. so my curiosity peaks.

Each week the same Young Lady before me smiles as she leaves The Room i enter.

A couple of weeks ago, as we passed each other, she commented on the vintage brooch i was wearing, which held my fur stole together, as i thanked her i promptly introduced myself. Subsequent short conversations which have transpired since then, as we pass each other, have revealed she is also a beginning student and started almost the same time i did, thus explaining the same musical repertoire!
I’ve experienced many synchronicities of late and this one is no exception and is quite incredible.
It seems we have many things in common..
A desire to play the violin.. a love of vintage.. and our professional backgrounds also.. and other things!

This week had us both waiting for Maestro, who at times runs late, so this gave us more of an opportunity to chat before lesson.


Perhaps now i should describe the place were we have lessons..
It's no boring school like institution with porridge coloured walls and dark hallways, instead Maestro holds class in one of the many rooms which are a part of an historic building of early colonial heritage now housing a restaurant, open everyday for lunch & dinner as well as a reception lounge very popular for weddings.
Here people can sit and enjoy a meal on the open veranda which overlooks a sunny courtyard all beautifully framed by an old grape vine.. The Room runs off this veranda! I am horrified to think these people who are having a relaxing lunch have to endure the sounds of beginning students - i am somewhat comforted and have confidence however in traditional building methods.. the walls of this old colonial circa 1799 are thick!

So my new found friend and i, sat patiently and happily on a bench in this sunny courtyard waiting for time with Maestro.

The Waiter, always greets us with a friendly smile, knowing full well we are here for the violin lessons and not for the restaurant. On this occasion he offered us a coffee while we waited ‘on the Maestro’, we naturally accepted albeit a little stupefied!
so over a macchiato and flat white.. we discussed violins..

Practice is always an issue as adults.. we have so much more to contend with than children, and therefore find it hard to dedicate adequate amounts of time to learning something new.
Then there is the noise factor with learning to play a musical instrument, and the vile sounds a violin can make when beginning can be especially grating - nails on a chalk board is nothing compared to this!
Now here is where chatting is of great benefit, as sharing information can be enlightening!
i asked if she had bought herself a ‘practice mute’ - a small device made of rubber which quiets the violin, so as not to disturb the neighbours and anyone who is unfortunate enough to find themselves within a 100m radius, however still loud enough for you to hear what you are playing.
i then added that i practice in my walk-in-wardrobe for added insulation ( i knew all those clothes would come in handy for something). We both laughed loudly and the young lady thought it a brilliant idea as she lives in a unit complex.

i then tell her maestro does not want me to look at the violin while i play… and has even taken on occasion to holding a book up between my face and the instrument! i know this is a good thing.. as playing the violin is much about making it sing as one would when using your voice. Maestro says that you can’t see your vocal chords and this is the same thing – so you don’t need to look! So in trying to solve this dilema of desperately wanting to look..
i practice with the mute.. in the closet.. with the lights off!!
This caused her to laugh hysterically as she could see the method in my madness!

anyway back to the chat… sipping on our coffee and enjoying the winter sun we continue to discuss violins..

i open my case to show the young lady the practice mute and how it is fitted to the bridge of the instrument. She remarks on my beautiful violin and how it looks like ‘an adult violin’ unlike hers where she states looks like ‘a child’s violin’! At this point i am bemused and ask why she feels this way about her violin.. from the size of her case, it looks to me to be a full size violin..
as she opens her case i am astonished.. open mouthed i am looking at a purple coloured violin!
i just had to tell her!

a few weeks after buying my beautiful violin whilst on the hunt for the books i needed to start lessons.. i walked into this music shop i happened to drive by. Way in the back of this dark shop crammed with musical instruments and equipment was a blue violin!
i just had to have it!
it was a sign!
this is my blue violin... it is meant to be mine!

i have a beautiful violin.. but was compelled to buy this one!
so i did!
it turned out to be a very good thing.
My beautiful violin needed to have some adjustments made namely the 'E' string lowered as it was sitting too high off the fingerboard and the pegs shaved so that their ends sat flush in the peg box and also because they were too stiff and would not turn easily. This meant i would be without the instrument for a few weeks while the work was completed and would make practice impossible – i’m not very good at air violin!
a spare violin would be great!.. a spare blue violin!
so again.. back to the chat..

here now..
were two ladies,
relaxing.. sipping coffee now..
discussing coloured violins..
one purple..
one blue!
at this point maestro walks over, dressed in his three piece suit looking dapper but worried.. and so he should be.. he finds himself teaching the ladies with the coloured violins and they are sitting together collaborating and exchanging tales over a macchiato and latte - so funny!
caffe` probably isn't a good thing becasue it is a stimulant.. and we really should be having something which will help us relax before the lesson!
maestro glances at his watch and collects the young lady and just before they disappear into the room i suggest that we need to make it a caffe` corretto next time, adding a good measure of grappa so as to help us with our bowing arm and in particular my up bow staccato!
that or a botox injection into my hand!
relax.. relax.. relax..

donna con il violino blu

donna con il violino blu © 2010 patricia vannucci


Anonymous said...

What an interesting story. So glad you shared it. I thought all violins were the same colour now I find this is not the case. Two different coloured instruments. I really enjoyed reading this. I can see you both sitting there chatting. Its funny how out of the blue you meet people who have things in common. Forget the botox, stick to the caffe corretto. PS I hope the lesson went well. B

violinista blu said...

Hi there B.. glad you found this little racconto interesting. i felt compelled to write it.. was just too incredible!

i never thought that i would meet another person who felt so passionate about her coloured violin! the young lady kept saying she loves purple which meant she had to have a purple violin!!! ..and that she is also a beginning student who started at the same time i did.. even more incredible!

of course i'm not serious about the botox!.. funny how thoughts can just pop into your head.. problem solving out of the box!! ha!

the lesson went well.. homework last week was to be able to play a piece from memory.. maestro sat down and listened to me play it through and then rated it as an AMB examiner would.. he gave me a B+ .. i feel like a kid again!

ps.. if only i hadn’t fumbled!
relax.. relax.. relax..