Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Words and Music

I first started playing music when I started violin lessons in the fourth grade.  Everyone on the McDaniel side of the family played the violin.  My dad was one of eight children and all eight of the them played the violin.  Dad was first chair.  Uncle David still plays to this day - in fact he played all of the music at my wedding.  The lesson I remember the most from my early days of violin is to "keep your wrist down" - meaning don't hold the neck of the violin up with your wrist (i.e. don't be lazy).  When I got into middle school I had the same teacher that my sister and many others before me had - Mr. Athey.  I never made first chair like Dad but I played fairly well through the seventh grade.

Mom got the piano she had always wanted when I was about ten.  I already knew how to read sheet music from my violin lessons.  The Niccum side of the family all played piano (or at least my Grandma and my mom did).  So mom sent Mari and I to piano lessons.  Although I was interested in learning to play the piano, those lessons were quite possibly the most boring thing I have ever sat through.  Painful.

So I know enough to be dangerous on both instruments.  A few years ago I bought myself a violin.  If you ask my husband how I sound when I play, he would probably respond with "Painful".  It is not like riding a bike...some parts of it are but certainly not the playing in tune part. 

When I was young I was also a lot more introverted than I am now.  I tended to spend a lot of time in the library reading.  Lassie Come Home, Gentle Ben, White Fang, Charlotte's Web (one of my favorites).  I excelled in English classes throughout highschool and college and even edited many a friend's paper in college and grad school.  I have become obsessed with words over the years.  I hear words in my mind, all day, every day, and tend to only be able to really sort through them if I put them down on paper.  The one thing most people don't know about me is that I want to write a book someday.  I have no idea what about or where to start, but it's my dream nonetheless.

You would think given the above information that I would be interested in song writing.  But here's the interesting part - I don't really care too much about words and music together.  I tend to value a song for it's tune, long before I even hear the words to understand what the song is about - this is probably due to my short attention span and the fact that I don't listen very well - at least not to words.  Conversely, there are some songs that I like what they are about even though I don't necessarily care for the tune all that much.  No idea why.

So mom has offered to give me her piano since she can't play much anymore.  I can't wait to get the boys started on it.  And they both will, of course, play the violin - because they are McDaniels, after all.  I forgot to mention that my other dream is that one of my boys will compose a concerto - lofty aspirations, I know!

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