This summer my daughter met her first violin. It was love at first sight. Enraptured with its beauty and strings, all the way home from her friend’s house she emphatically tells me she wants to play the violin. I smiled knowing exactly how she feels. As a kid, I felt the same when our family piano arrived. What I couldn’t tell her was how difficult it is to play an instrument. Only someone who has actually tried will ever understand. Now there are a lucky few who seem to be able to play instruments with ease. I am not one of them and we now know for sure neither is my daughter.
“It hurts,” she cries every time she pushes down on the strings with her weak and un-calloused fingers. With each passing week, those strings once plunked with juvenile fun are becoming more and more like barbs digging into her fingertips. Her untrained muscles struggle to keep the violin up in the right position, and the bow might as well weigh fifty pounds. She can move it back and forth just fine, it’s sliding across the correct string she can only seem to do about every fourth note. (Oh my ears!)
The first blush of discovery has melted away. I knew it would. It did for me too. I hope she will stick with it better than I did with the piano. It’s my biggest regret. I still have the piano, but I only play well enough to be adequate when absolutely needed, yet I could have been fantastic if I’d only persevered.
When you’re young it’s hard to see the good in a struggle, especially in this society where ease is expected and almost demanded. But the truth is most things worth doing will more than likely be hard, especially at first. Keep a good support group behind you. They will help keep you going. That’s the role I’m playing now, the often not so gentle reminder, “You begged me to play the violin, now get in there and practice, pumpkin.”