Howdy y’all! As you’ve probably guessed, I am a Texan– born and raised. I’ve just finished my first year working towards an MS in Mechanical Engineering. It’s a bit of a change considering my undergraduate background is in psychology, biology, physics, and history! (Yeah, I switched majors a few times.)
I have always enjoyed music. When I was younger, my family would take trips to see different performances with my favorite being a trip to NYC to see John Williams conduct the New York Philharmonic. We don’t really have time to travel anymore but we still try to go to the local symphony Pops concerts together on occasion. Anyway, I figured that I might enjoy learning to play an instrument since I liked listening to them so much. I picked the fiddle primarily because it is portable but also because it would give me a chance to play my great-great grandfather’s instrument. Liking folk music probably didn’t hurt either.
It’s been a bit tough practicing the last couple of months since my four roommates and I are on completely opposite schedules and they can hear me even with a mute. (We’re in a historic home with very thin walls and floors.) Actually, I loved football season since it meant I could have four or five hours of mute-free practice time every week while they were at the game.
Next semester I’ll have my own place, though, so I will once again be able to saw away to my heart’s content without waking anyone up or disrupting a study session. It’s a good thing, too, because fiddling is my primary form of stress relief. Until then, I have to sneak in a few minutes here and there when everyone is out simultaneously. Of course, then the roommates’ dog wakes up and starts howling.
Thankfully, I am home for the summer and the cat isn’t nearly as loud. He just licks my knees when I start playing. Then he jumps up on me and wraps his paws around my legs. I can only imagine what he’s saying. It’s probably something along the lines of, “For the love of Ceiling Cat, ssssstoooooooooop! My ears can’t take any more!”
Although I initially played only for myself because of extreme shyness, I’ve gotten a bit more confident thanks to the support of the forum here. Now that I’m a bit more sure of myself I’m trying to sync schedules with a friend of mine, who is also a novice violinist, so that we can play together. I guess if I have a goal then being able to play with her would be it. Until then I am working to get comfortable with three pieces: “Arran Boat Song,” “Hills of Glenorchy,” and “Minstrel Boy.”
My short-term goal is also my greatest challenge. Those three pieces put me to sleep! After about two minutes I start yawning. Then my eyes get heavy. Then I want to crawl into bed. I have to practice them when I am fully awake or I don’t get very far. On the other hand, if I need to settle down before bed it works perfectly. It’s kind of like singing myself a lullaby without the horrible sound. Not that I’m that great on the fiddle. It’s just that my singing is that bad.
Since my fiddling is more likely to improve than my singing, it looks like y’all are going to be stuck with me. I stumbled on Fiddlerman.com quite by accident while looking for free sheet music and other learning resources. I’m glad I checked out everything else on the site as well since there’s a great little community lurking on this corner of the Internet. Y’all really help me learn when I am a solid drive away from my instructor.