I’m usually not one for making New Year’s Resolutions, or maybe I should say I’m not one for keeping them. But this past year I learned a tune a week for an entire year so I’m feeling pretty confident on the resolution front in 2022.
A little background
When I was a child, I loved the ballet. I’m not sure what it was that enthralled me, whether it was the costumes, the dancing, the beautiful music, or the combination of it all. But it touched me so deeply. Every year my mom took us to the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker at Christmas time. And for as long as I can remember she’d take us to the Hatch Shell to watch the ballet on a weekly basis in the summer. I think it sparked my love for the violin. Because as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to play it.
When I turned 30, I finally picked one up and started taking lessons. I started out learning the Suzuki method but quickly found that my heart lied in Celtic music, so I switched disciplines to learn traditional Irish music. And I haven’t looked back since.
This year, after watching myself record 52 tunes, I realized that I don’t play with finesse. I know I am my own worst critic but I find that my music sometimes just sounds like a bunch of notes and not so much like the beautiful music I want it to.
I’ve been thinking a lot over the last couple of weeks about what makes music sound beautiful. When I listen to my favorite fiddlers what is it that I love about their music? I like that their music sounds pretty. That if flows effortlessly like a leaf floating on the top of a rushing river. I like that there are moments when I’m compelled to tap my foot or get up and dance. And I like that sometimes the music touches me so deeply it takes me to another place.
Though I’ve seen people tap their feet to my music, I want to be able to share what is in my heart through my instrument.
My New Year’s Resolution
So this year, I decided to go back to basics and pull out those old Suzuki books and work on my chops. I signed up for violin lessons for the next 3 months so I can work on my technique, intonation, bowing and learn a few more positions on the fingerboard. Did you know there are 14 positions on the violin?
Though I won’t be giving up Irish music anytime soon, I’m still learning tunes and playing in sessions but I want to focus on really knowing my instrument and how to play it so that I can easily relay on my instrument what I hear in my head and what I feel in my heart.
I’ll keep you posted as to my progress.
Happy new year! What is your resolution?