Practice

When I left here earlier today, I was going to practice my violin. But then I decided I should try out my new tuner, because I had a feeling the G string was off, it wasn’t sounding quite like it had when I first picked up my violin. The problem was that when I went to tighten the string, it had no hold. It kept un-tightening. I was frowning at it when J came in from the garage, where he was working on getting the lawnmower ready for Spring.

“Do you want me to try it?” he offered.

I should have known better. This is a man who tightens everything too tight. I cannot get a peanut butter jar lid off that he has put on, and he can’t even get his own lug nuts off once he tightens them. He means well, but in his quest to make sure things are secure, they become a little TOO secure for us mortal human beings who do not have big, strong, hands like him.

It only took about three seconds of J trying to tighten my violin string before it went “ping” and broke. I gasped.

“I’ll take it to the music store right now,” he offered.

I was googling the music store to see what their hours were as he said that and to my disappointment, they are not open on Sundays. You would not believe how sad not being able to play my violin today has made me.

Later, when I went to check on J in the garage he said, “Do you still love me?”

I said of course I loved him, why wouldn’t I?

“Because I broke your violin,” he said.

“One day isn’t going to stop me from being a rock star,” I said, even though I will definitely not have as much time to practice during the week as I would have had today.

It made me think about how much I hated practicing the French horn in junior high. It wasn’t that I didn’t like to play it, it was only that it took up valuable time that I could have been spending with my friends after school. My parents had a rule- homework and instrument practice have to be done before you can go hang with your friends.
I wanted to get my homework done, I was a good student, and I wanted to be a good French horn player (Me and this Christopher kid were always competing for first chair all year long), but I had priorities. So, I devised a plan.

Back then, we used tape recorders and cassette tapes to record all our favorite songs off the radio, or to pirate copies of cassettes from our friends. (I had a copy of a copy of a copy of my favorite Moody Blues cassette)

I came up with a brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea. I used my tape recorder to record my French horn practice. All twenty required minutes.

This meant that I could push play, and get my homework done while my cassette player was on full blast, pretending to be practicing my French horn. To my amazement, my parents could not tell from upstairs that it was cassette player and not really me playing the French horn. I employed this technique quite often when I was in a hurry to get out the door.

But, alas, I lost my first chair place to Christopher. I learned hard and fast that you cannot just skate along and expect to be the best if you don’t practice. Instead of prioritizing my French horn so I could continue on, I opted out of band altogether the next year.

Now, I can’t wait to practice. Sometimes even during the day when I have eight minutes between conference calls I will whip out my violin and practice my notes.

My how things have changed.

So tomorrow, I’ll be off to the music store to get my violin fixed, and then to practice extra-long.

OH, and I never told my parents about that whole French horn cassette tape thing so let’s keep that between you and me, ok?

Nic

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