I was about 11 years old when my parents somehow decided that I might be musical. The first that I knew of this was when a Harmonica nestled itself in the bottom of my Christmas pillowcase. It was a mysterious object to me and I never got to grips with it – perhaps I did not have sufficient time, as the Harmonica was very swiftly followed by piano lessons and their attendant practice. I have never to this day understood why the sudden impact of music on my life. It is possible that it was the singing that persuaded dear mother that I was musical – I was at this time singing in both the school and youth club choirs. It was also around this time that I was asking if I might go to one concert or another. I know that I went to a harp recital and came home with a desperately romantic notion that I would like to be a harpist! All the same, I do not believe that I ever asked for any instrument, or for tuition.
The piano lessons continued for perhaps three years. I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed them. I certainly did not enjoy the practice schedule, nor the way that it interacted with a heavy chore schedule and school homework load. Imagine my shock/horror when my father came home with a violin and I was booked in for lessons at school!
Violin was a nightmare. I was booked into group sessions at lunchtime, with two other girls. They were sisters, and could already play somewhat – having been taught by their mother. I was a total beginner. A completely disinterested total beginner. I was soon to become a mightily embarrassed completely disinterested total beginner… when my teacher began to mock me for my “junk shop violin.” The inevitable happened. I skived the classes. I was found out. I was beaten… and the violin was sold. Worth a beating? Perhaps.
I succeeded shortly in ditching the piano lessons too. There were other things that I wanted to be doing. Most of them involved cows. Yes. Seriously.
There were the usual lectures and admonishments: I would regret it when I grew up. No I would not. Of course I would not!
Smartarse teenagers, eh?
So. I grew up. Always loving music. Always listening. Often regretting that I am unable to make music myself.
In my twenties, I worked in a private house for six and a half years. At the end of my servitude, the lady of the house gave me a cheque as a leaving present. I pondered long and hard about how to spend it. I got myself a classical guitar and some books. I began to teach myself but soon put the instrument away “until I could afford lessons” – I did not want to pick up bad habits. That is what I told myself. I still have that guitar. I still have not had lessons. I still can not play it.
There was a brief period in my life when I was a high earning single woman. I rather fancied learning an instrument then. I took it into my head that I would like to play the fiddle. Not the violin, as forced upon me at an early age. No, I wanted to play folk fiddle. There was a course at the Swarthmore Centre in Leeds, teaching fiddle-by-ear. How I wanted to go! Sadly, the lot of the high-earning singleton is one of all-work-and-no-play. The demands of my job were such that I could not find the time to go to the class. I was desperately disappointed.
Along came Mr L.
He likes music. He plays a little – far better than he ever admits to. I encourage him to play and I enjoy it when he does. When we moved up here we talked a lot about spending evenings making music together. He bought me an acoustic guitar and said that he would teach me to play. I still have that guitar. I still can not play it. I do have the time to learn, and indeed the interest – it is the teacher who does not have the time to do the teaching. Such is life.
Anyway, the hankering to learn to play the fiddle keeps on returning from time to time. Every six months or so, I think about it.
I have been thinking about it a great deal recently.
Guess what I did today?
Whatever have I done? (wibble)
I have some bad memories to deal with before I can succeed at this. Wish me luck! I shall be needing it.