Growing up, my elementary school district (the one I now teach in) had a wonderful music program. It started with an introduction to music in Kindergarten to second grade. In third grade, students learned to play the recorder all year in order to prepare for the orchestra option in fourth through sixth grade. In the upper grades, students who wanted to play in the orchestra could enter a lottery to play a district instrument or their families could rent or buy one. Students hoping for the district instruments listed their top three choices with the hopes of winning one of those three in the lottery.
Upon entering upper grade, I wanted to play in the orchestra. I had friends who played the flute and the clarinet so those were my top two choices.
The instrument I didn’t really want to play My third choice was the violin.
When the instruments were assigned, I was given the violin. Even though I was disappointed that I didn’t get the flute, I was excited to have an instrument to play.
That excitement was short lived.
I’m not sure how much knowledge you have of string instruments as I don’t have much, but what I do know is that they don’t stay in tune for very long. Well, as good/rare as our music program was, practice with the music teacher at that time was only every other week. Not only did she teach us how to play the violin during those biweekly lessons, but she tuned our instrument as well. However, we never learned to tune the violin ourselves. We were able to make it through practice with our tuned violin, but not much longer. By the time I brought the violin home to practice it was out of tune. A beginner practicing on an out of tune violin is way worse than a beginner practicing on an in tune violin.
My practice times became fewer and far between because it just sounded so bad.*
I made it through the school year playing the violin and performing at the end of year “concert”. After that concert I hung up my violin bow for good. Clearly, it just wasn’t my thing. I so wish I had pursued it or tried something else musical. I love music and so admire people who can play an instrument.
* My mom sees the story a bit different. I say I didn’t practice because it was out of tune and sounded bad, and she says it sounded bad because I didn’t practice. Hmmm, was it the chicken or the egg?