101 Things To Do*

* before I die

Expand Your Mind

Learn to Play an Instrument

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

At the urging of my mother, I took up the violin when I started fifth grade.  I must admit I never really applied myself as I should have, so I was only a mediocre player.  Until high school, that is, where I first met Mr. Hayman - director of the orchestra.

His love of music was an inspiration and instilled in me the desire to improve my skills.  I knew my renewed efforts would please my mother, as well.  She loved classical music and was delighted when I chose the violin instead of joining the band.

So, all during my freshmen year, I challenged for higher and higher seats until I finally found myself occupying the "first" chair of the second-violin section (which plays accompaniment to the main melody).  We practiced hard to prepare for our annual Christmas concert, which would feature "Green Sleeves".

Now that particular piece is rather difficult and all during our rehearsals, we never seemed to be able to get through it completely without a mistake.  So, needless to say, our expectations were not very high on the night of the concert.

But the dynamics of performing live are mysterious to say the least.  There's electricity in the air - a current of excitement running through every performer.  And everything just came together at the right place and time that night.

After getting warmed up on our other selections, we started our finale: "Green Sleeves".  We played flawlessly - and it felt great.  We all knew we had done well, and the look of pride and admiration on Mr. Hayman's face as he stepped off the podium and motioned for us to stand and take a bow was the best reward I could imagine.  Or so I thought...

As I rose along with my fellow musicians and turned to face the audience, I suddenly realized that they were all standing as they applauded our performance.  The memory of that night will be with me always.

Unfortunately, the tragic death of Mr. Hayman the following summer made me lose the desire to play and I gave up the violin forever...