November 24th, 2010 12:35 pm

Boy Playing ViolinI started violin lessons when I was in fourth grade. I was really happy about it.

But I can tell you that at various times in my playing career I have been somewhat less enthusiastic than others. But at age 56 I can tell you that I am Thankful that I learned to play the violin. Here are some reasons why.

My first teacher was Ellen Buxton (nee Shenton). One of the first things that she told me was that I was really lucky to be allowed to learn an instrument. I never really thought about that before I took lessons from her. But many people want to learn to play an instrument and never get the chance. The teacher is not there. They can’t afford an instrument. Their parents just don’t think it is important. The buy into the fiction that three years of high school football is more rewarding than picking up an enjoyable lifelong skill, and then regret it ten years down the line. Mrs. Buxton reminded us all that it is a privilege to learn an instrument. I’m thankful for that.

Mrs. Buxton also let us know that we were not going to make the immediate progress that many of us were used to in school. I was a member of an “enriched” class, in which many of the students were quite smart. We read something, and it stuck. We were articulate and polite, so many of us were well liked by adults. We worked for a little while, and we achieved what we wanted. Violin wasn’t like that. And most of life isn’t. Immediate gratification was not going to be the norm for my life, and my screeching on the violin just drove that home. It was a lesson I needed to learn, and I’m thankful for it.

I’ve met a lot of people because of violin who I never would have known. Several world-renowned musicians in Rock, Folk, and Classical genres. Instrumentalists gathering from hundreds of miles away for special events. Young ladies who had recently immigrated to the United States, and spoke very little English, but got the chance to play music in school. I’m thankful for that.

A chance to step away from the nonsense of daily life and participate in something more transcendent on occasion. I’m thankful for that.

Just some thoughts on this Thanksgiving Eve.

BTW, I’m Thankful for your stopping in to read what I had to say.

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