1.27.2006

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

I was 10 when I first held a violin. That was the year you got to be grown-up enough for the elementary school music program to apply to you. Those of us interested crowded into, if I recall corrently, a cafeteria at one of the Intermediate Schools (aka Junior High). We got to hold the instruments. We got to try them.

I wanted a flute. Or so I thought. I couldn't do a damn thing with the flute so I tried a violin. It just felt right. Mom and Dad signed me up.

The first few months my violin and I practiced a lot in the backyard at my mom's behest. We sounded akin to a cat being de-furred by hand. Slowly we got better.

By 7th grade, I could play actual music that sounded like actual music. I'm not talking about "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." I'm talking about real, classical, orchestral arrangements. Our teacher was a push-over of a man with "hippie" hair and a mustache. He loved his job and his students loved him because of it, and frankly because the guy was an incredible push-over.

He was my instructor for two years. We put on four concerts total during the time. Each one performed during the day and then again at night for different audiences. We once played the William Tell Overture (think Lone Ranger theme). A friend of mine, a real prankster, arranged to have a fellow student gallop out on stage with a wooden horse between her knees and a white cowboy hat. Only Mr. B would laugh it off without issuing detention.

One of my favorite songs to play during this stretch was Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I'm not sure if it was the music itself at first or because it was fun to say over and over again. Reglardless it became a song that seemed to personaify my passion for my hobby. When I think of my violin (my rather dusty, neglected violin I ought to add) I often do so humming the opening bars to this song.

In High School we moved on to a new teacher. He was big and round. He was talented and he loved his craft. He'd play with us sometimes and we'd stop our parts to just sit and watch him do his. He'd let us hook our string insturments up to the amplifier and pretend to be groundbreaking rock violinist.

And he included Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in a concert at least once in my 4 years with him. It cemented the song's place in my mind as the 'ultimate' song to play on my violin.

My son discovered my forgotten stringed friend last year. He pulled the case from my closet one day. I took it out from it's prison and let Logan hold it. He fell in love. However, this poor wooden friend had been dropped and cracked once when I was 13. It had been repaired, thankfully, but still bore the scar. I didn't want it shattered again. I talked my brother into getting Logan a guitar for his birthday instead. Logan uses it to express his musical curosity. So does Megan.

I hope they stick with it. I hope their love for music blossoms. I hope when they are ten years old they beg us to take them to the cafeteria of the Intermediate School one night and let them pick out their instrument. And I hope there is a series of instructors and a series of composers that do their best to make them fall in love.

Happy Birthday Mozart.

Updated to note: I found my CD with "A Little Night Music." I excitedly told the kids about how it was my favorite to play on the violin. They got equally as excited to hear it. The first few bars played and Logan says:

"Hey! That's the Little Einsteins' song!"

"No, It's Mozart," I told him.

"Nope," he said, "Leo."

Thanks Disney. (And I do say that with a tad of sarcasm)

27 comments:

Karen said...

How great that you have such a love of music. I can definitely relate. My husband and I also love music and played lots of music in our car for our kids.

Today, our son is majoring in music in college and our daughter is a singer who would someday (she's only in 8th grade) like to be a music teacher.

Even though they pretend it doesn't matter, kids pick up on our passions. Definitely.

Michele sent me. Adorable children you have!

sage said...

I just got back from dropping my daughter off at school (she's in the 2nd grade). NPR was on the radio and she was talking all about Mozart--she's been taking violin for 3 1/2 years and was interested in what they were saying (she normally doesn't like NPR). I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument when I was young.

Michele sent me and I love the picture of the boat at the top of your blog.

deana said...

You should start playing again...cute story. Michele sent me today.

Trent said...

My wife, my two month old, and I are planning on watching Amadeus this evening to celebrate Wolfgang's birthday. Joseph (my little one) will almost assuredly enjoy the music which, if I recall correctly, is more than abundant in the movie.

Chele In {dot} LA said...

my alexis gets to participate in a thing at school..
She play violin and piano..
its so cool otherwise she would not be able to participate at all..
over from Michele's

vicki said...

I knew that it was today! (Heard it on the radio yesterday :-) ). Here form Michele's. Great post. My son is a musician so I loved this picture of your son. It toook me back- thanks!

the Intuitive Woman said...

Great story. It sounds similar to one I would tell about picking out my clarinet. I, too, couldn't get anything to come out of a stinkin' flute!

dena said...

My daughter, who is now 21, started playing at 11. I loved that she had a love for music and the courage to take something that wasn't consdiered cool all through high school. I just love to hear her play.

visiting from michele.

jude said...

nice story, and happy bday mozart!!

Last Girl On Earth said...

I LOVED THIS POST! (Of course I would considering I'm a violinist!) Thanks so much for sharing. I really can relate to your experience as I had a similar one with this piece! I even get to play it every now and then. What fun. I'll be back to catch up with your blog. Until then... Michele sent me. Have a great weekend.

K Jones said...

Michele sent me and I, too, love to say Eine Kleine. As a crossword fiend, that is one of the classic clues. Wonderful memories.

panthergirl said...

I was just going to tell you to go see Last Girl on Earth, but thankfully she found you first!!

I love that piece... just love it.

Here via michele today!

Carolyn said...

Now is the best time to get your kids in "tune", no pun intended :)

Michele sent me!

margalit said...

I love Eine Kleine Nachtmusic (A Little Night Music). I think it's one of Mozart's most accessible pieces of music and is a great introduction to his music for kids.

Michele sent me.

Cin said...

What a wonderful story! Sounds like your love affair hasn't ended though - have you considered going back to it? I recently dusted off my flute case after a decade of neglect, and realized how much I missed it, how essential it was to my sense of joy. Now if only Her Highness would stop trying to wrestle it away from me...

Have a lovely Mozart's Birthday!

PS - Michele sent me :)

srp said...

Here from Michele.
Why wait 'til they are 10?
Nyssa loved music and started piano before she could read. It has been a source of comfort, and helped shape her "stick-to-it" nature in other areas.

She loves this piece and the impromptu one he wrote, Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. (Although it has a real name in French) She also loves Beethoven and Bach pieces.

Sandy said...

srp - really the hold off is two fold. First, at the ages of 3 and 1, most of what we do with them now is parent directed. Music is something I want them to love and appreciate and have a say in. I know too many adults that hated taking piano lessons growing up because it wasn't their choice. I don't want to raise children that resent their training. I want them to choose it for themselves. Right now they like to play with my violin and their own instruments - the guitar, drums, maracas, hamonica, etc. Play is good. It's enough for us right now.

The 2nd piece is cost. Going through the school system means free lessons. You buy (actually you lease to buy) your instrument. The lessons are part of the school's weekly curriculum. If we do lessons before the school offers them we pay. It goes back to the above. If my kids make the choice to really study music, I have no problems figuring out how to pay for it, but I'm not going to pay for something like that that I select for them.

It's why they won't do organized sports until they're old enough to make the choice themselves. I want it to be "theirs" not mine.

srp said...

Nyssa started in kindergarten. The teacher didn't know if she could do it but Nyssa wanted to. That first week she hopped in the car and said "Mom, guess what?" I of course thought, "Oh, no expelled from kindergarten the first week." But no she continued, "Mrs. King got me for a piano lesson today and it was wonderful. We have to go get one today so I can practice." So we were off and running. It always ends up being the choice of the child, I just nudged the teacher a little to take her on, the rest was Nyssa herself. She was a bit more independent at five than many, wouldn't even let me walk her into school her first day of kindergarten. That stung, but now she is almost 20 and still has a good head on her shoulders so something went right.

archshrk said...

It's always good to find someone who knows how to tell a story - as for me, my instrument was the clarinet. Mind you, I wanted the flute (i think) but it was already full in my public music program so I used an old clarinet a family friend had abbandoned and gave it a shot. Didn't take to it but I've never really been a musical person. There wasn't a lot of it in my family and like Karen said, kids pick up on their parents passion (or lack there of) . Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it and plan to return.

Maria said...

Came by way of Michele and delighted to find your blog. Music is wonderful and I hope the schools still have music programs when your little ones are older.

I played the piano when I was young and now at nearly 70 years of age, I am back at our local college taking lessons. I hope you find the time to sit down and play a Little Night Music.

d.challener roe said...

It was later in life, but when I heard the theme to Schindler's list I fell in love with the violin.
Michele sent me today.

Crazy MomCat said...

What wonderful memories you have. I was also a music fan and still am to this day. I played in the concert band and have great memories of my experiences. I also just bought my son a little guitar about a year ago. I want him to take lessons soon and hopefully take piano one day. I think being able to read music is a wonderful gift and being able to appreciate it is the ultimate.

Enjoyed reading this. Michele sent me!

Plain Jane said...

I've never played an instrument but often thought about how "cool" it would be to know how to play the piano.

Hi, from Michelle's!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh How I LOOOOOVE this post!
Music communicates so mucg on an emotional level that can't even be explained, in words.
I, too played the Violin as a child...(I was about 5 or 6 when I began to learn, along with the piano, as well..)
How very lucky you were to have two teachers that were inspiring!!!
And now, in so very many schools they don't even have "music" as part of the curriculam....So Very Sad.....

Here from Michele tonight!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

OOOOOOPS!
I actualy was not here from Michele tonight..(Lord Love A Duck)
I came on my own. (LOL)

mar said...

Wonderful post to wish Wolfgang Amadeus happy 250th birthday!

Mandy said...

Great memories. Too funny about the Little Einsteins. Liam wanders around humming the classical selection of the day, though, so I will take it.

What guitar did you end up with? I looked and looked for one for Liam.