MANC FiddleFun at Fairview Elementary in Kernersville, NC
with Faculty from The Music Academy of North Carolina
I remember the way my first violin smelled. Like it was fresh off the press, an unhealthy amount of plastic varnish saving every fingerprint. The way the dark wood and silvery strings seemed so brilliant.
Holding the thing was a challenge, having to look across the bridge with eyes askew of the plane. I remember feeling so proud when I finally learned to hold the violin with only my shoulder and chin.
The bow is another animal, literally. It’s nearly alive, springing from one step to another on a horse’s mane. It would be twenty years before I finally felt like I knew how to use it. A noble task, I still believe.
I remember watching other kids get their instruments out for class. The cello is the biggest instrument directly related to the violin. The bass is more distantly related because the proportions are different.
What’s even more amazing than trying to relive those moments is watching the students at Fairview Elementary experience these instruments for the first time. Just think about how it feels to be a child and realize that music is something you can make with your own hands. You could see the magic on their grins and wide-eyed expressions.
I would not have picked up the fiddle when I was young if it had not been for Ms. Battle, my very first violin teacher. In a similar demonstration, I was captivated by the sounds and how fun it all looked. Playing almost any instrument is athletic in a way because your body produces the energy required to make the thing work. But it’s also a bit like a science because the player is constantly experimenting with how changes in the body will affect the sound and the instrument provides immediate feedback. Muscle memory and a very keen intuition then allow the player to learn how to make any sound they want, consistently.
Also, while I was photographing the group, I was also able to take a small amount of video and later edit and produce a video on my phone while on an airplane. I recorded the voiceover on my phone, too, but I regret that the audio quality is not ideal. It’s pretty cool, I think, so maybe check it out.
Well, that’s all this time from Greensboro NC. See you next time!