Playing the Violin - A Time my Body Didn't Cooperate

When he wasn't looking or was too busy folding airplanes to later zing at my face, I would pluck at his Suzuki violin. In my hands it was the size of a guitar on me, but still I would pluck until he screamed at me to put it down for fear that I would break the rental. Both of my brothers play the violin, and while my younger brother is far superior at it - I grew up watching my older brother pull the horse hairs over the strings.

"Mom, I want to play the violin!" 
"It's too big for you." 
"Can't we find a small one??" I had just begun piano lessons, and it seemed that the 'new-toy effect' had gotten to me. New-toy effect is something I made up, but it's basically when a child gets a new shiny gadget and quickly tires of it after a few days and is on to the next new-toy... the cycle, as many parents probably know, just goes on and on and on... 

My pleading to find "a small one.." that would fit the length of my tiny arms, and also be thin enough to fit snug beneath my chin and neck was an adventure. We went to the local string instrument store and I sat in a room filled from floor to ceiling with violins. I remember my eyes grew wide with silence as I sat in awe of all those instruments. To this day I'm not sure what my fascination with the violin is. Maybe it's because I wanted to do whatever my older brother was doing, or maybe it's because of the magic that could be heard just from putting your fingers down on the fingerboard, or maybe it was because of how soft and fragile the horse hairs on the bow are. Whatever it was, I couldn't wait to get my hands on my own violin and begin to wow my family with the music. 
The woman came out with several different sizes of violins. She taught me the proper way to hold it, asking my parents whether I was left or right handed. 
"Her arms are small because she has brittle bones.." My dad began to explain to her. The woman was confused when she tried to extend my left hand and it abruptly stopped straightening just inches before the right-angle point. 
"So is this all that she can straighten it to?" I looked up at my dad expectantly. I saw the row of smaller violins by her side - lined up like the Russian nesting dolls - one seemingly able to fit inside the other. I was certain that one of them would be able to fit in the crook of my arm and chin!
"Hmm.. well, this is going to be a challenge." She mumbled to herself. With my other hand she placed a bow in it and gently moved my shoulder back and forth the way I had seen my brother do countless number of times. But for some reason it just didn't look quite right with me, I began to get nervous - not understanding what it was that I was doing wrong. After repeated trials and various sizes of violins, and no matter how high I pointed my chin up - there ended up not being a violin that would fit in all the misaligned angles, lengths, and nooks of my bowed arms. If we could find one that would fit underneath my chin, it turned out to be too long - and if it fit the length of my arms then my neck wasn't long enough. 

This memory is somewhat blurry and I'm not sure how it ended. I imagine that it was probably pretty awkward for everyone involved, maybe even a bit disheartening for my parents but probably incredibly disappointing for the four year-old me. Those were the days when I was constantly being told that I couldn't play rough, wasn't able to play sports, couldn't be as physically active as my friends or brother, couldn't run around gym class whipping dodge balls. And I thought, at the time, I had found the ONE activity that was safe and okay for me to do.  But in the end I had gone home that day without a black violin case; my parents encouraged me to continue playing the piano - trying their best to explain to me why I wouldn't be able to play the violin.

In this moment, though I was unable to explain it at the time, I think that the misunderstanding lay in where I was confused. I wasn't confused as to why I couldn't play the violin - that was pretty clear to me from the experience I had just gone through. I didn't understand why my body wouldn't do what I wanted it to do. That was the first time when I realized that my body has limitations. I wanted to play the violin but my body wouldn't allow for it and I didn't understand. When I wanted to sleep, my body did what I wanted. When I wanted to heal, my body did just that. When I wanted to eat, I was able to chew. When I wanted to crawl around, I could do that. But when I wanted to play the violin and do what my older brother did, I couldn't! At that age I could see the difference between playing soccer and playing the violin - this however, only added to my confusion. There was no running, no pushing or shoving, and no dangerous physical action involved with playing the violin. Why won't it let me do it?! 
At that age I was easily distracted and did, as my parents suggested, continue playing the piano. I came to believe that everyone has their own talent and mine was the piano, and my brothers were the ones who played the violin. It probably wasn't until I was a bit older that I was able to accept the limitations that O.I. puts on me. This is certainly no easy lesson for any one to swallow, never mind experience first hand but it is a concept that requires time to fully unfold. 

All I can offer is this for a take away thought: for every time my body doesn't cooperate, I am able to find another way to adapt or accept my limitations. And though I am not always able to do the things I initially wanted, I have learned that finding alternatives is a means of survival. It's a means of being the champion underdog. It's a lesson in patience and learning to discover opportunities greater than yourself.  

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One Response to Playing the Violin - A Time my Body Didn't Cooperate

  1. its a good courage and interest in working.No one can not deny its importance.This is the beauty of the work that one person will think to do any work will success.You will have great courage of learning violin.You will learn and get your aim.


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