Life In the Pits (Part III)

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For the previous installment – and to better understand the twist at the end of this article – you should first read “Life in the Pit (Part I).”

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMoving is never easy for a youngster. To have a comfortable routine suddenly ripped from you can devastate a psyche that perhaps has not yet fully matured. In my personal case, I can say that my moving from one city to another at the tender age of ten-and-a-half represents an essential element of who I’ve become. It forced me to recognize things much quicker than my peers. I am, and always will be, eternally grateful for the opportunity moving presented.

On the other hand, I will forever complain about it. Too many changes. Too many lost friendships. And, in the end, too much guilt (but that’s another story). This particular story continues what we started several weeks ago and ends with a topic that may be more Continue Reading “Life In the Pits (Part III)”

Life in the Pit (Part II)

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This is the second of three installments; click this link to read “Life in the Pit (Part I).”

outline-1424838We interrupt this story for ten lessons learned from my life in the pit of a musical orchestra:Continue Reading “Life in the Pit (Part II)”

Life in the Pit (Part I)

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violin-player-1565772The young mother worried as she made her way to the teacher conference. Her third grade son’s violin instructor had asked her “if she had time to talk.” As a teacher herself, the boy’s mom knew what this meant. She had already begun to imagine various excuses she could offer. “I try everything to get him to practice, but he’s more interested in listening to football with his father.” “His first choice was to play the trumpet, but the school’s music people said he didn’t have the right lips.” “Actually, he really wanted to play the drums, but we thought it would be too loud.”

Most of all she worried about her son. It was her first. With another son following only 15 months behind and now a baby daughter, she realized what every parent realizes at this point – she and her husband were outnumbered. Was she spending too much time with her youngest at the expense of her oldest? She had witnessed such downward spirals first hand in the students she taught. Was she becoming the mother she, in her own role as teacher, once haughtily disdained?

She was about to find out.Continue Reading “Life in the Pit (Part I)”

3 Essential Public Speaking Lessons I Accidentally Learned While Playing the Violin

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There I sat, fear pulsing through my veins. I had never seen anything like this before. The page had so much black ink it seemed more like a string of 918308_53296922_violin_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300incomprehensible Chinese characters than the opening music to the Overture of My Fair Lady. Mind you, I had dwelled with the elite of the orchestra pit since my freshman days in high school. Nothing scared me. Usually. This thing did.

Bluntly facing me lay four measures of thirty-second notes – a “run” in the vernacular of the musician. I had easily tackled runs of eighth notes and, perhaps with a little more practice, runs of sixteenth notes. I’ve even snuck in a furtive trill of a thirty-second note – but never a four measure run of these speedy bars. I looked at my teacher and agonizingly admitted, “I can’t play these.” What she said next stunned me.

Continue Reading “3 Essential Public Speaking Lessons I Accidentally Learned While Playing the Violin”