Author: Faubel, Melinda

Me and my fiddle

As I packed up my life this month, to move onto a different and exciting phase (graduate school), I had to make some tough choices on what went into storage, and what didn’t; what got moved to my new home right away, and was included in that list of “essentials” that stayed at my apartment the last few weeks.

Obviously the fiddles did not go into storage! The flute, euphonium, and a few others were regulated to the garage, but the fiddles would
be lonely and depressed there. My main fiddle joined the essentials that wouldn’t be moved until the last minute.

This comforted me. I think it’s safe to say that I don’t spend the amount of time with my fiddle that I would like. But when my fiddle joins the ranks of a sleeping bag, a lone lamp, a book, and a box of frozen pot stickers in my last week at the apartment, than it’s safe to say that the fiddle still holds a significant place in my life.

What’s interesting is that during major transitions in my life, I seem to reach for that fiddle a whole lot more often. Typically, while I
can squeeze in that horse ride, or that 30 minute run – regular practice with the fiddle escapes me. During major life transitions when I’m doing good just to shower every 3 days, and I’m not riding and I’m not running –somehow that fiddle is just a little more accessible.

I got an opportunity to play THREE times this week. And that doesn’t count my beloved Wednesday night jam! That’s earth-shattering folks. Absolutely freakin’ amazing. And of course, I was reminded each time why I still play the fiddle.

While my fiddle stayed with me, I realized that my apartment mute (and tuner) had apparently already made it’s way into a box. I needed to
run through some tunes as somehow I had promised at my going away party I would play for my co-workers my last day of work. So, I headed down to the apartment parking lot and set up on my tail gate. So often (OK – ALWAYS) I practice in a location where no one else can hear me - with my apartment mute on. I get all caught up in not
wanting to bother anyone. I had forgotten the magic of playing music in public for no one in particular. I practice they just come and find
an excuse to hang around and hear the practice. They don’t care that I’m just practicing or that this is the third time played this particular song in the last 10 minutes. They try not to be obvious –but in an apartment complex where there’s limited socializing, it’s amazing how many people just “happened” to need to sit in the vehicles or on their tail gates in the 20 minutes I played. Reminder 1 – Playing for yourself is fine, but music is meant to be shared – don’t
apologize for “just practicing”. Mostly likely the listener doesn’t care.

The next day, my last at my job, I played for my co-workers. All by myself. No backup, just me and the music to entertain a room full of
people (I figured this was a positive – no back up meant that most likely no one would notice a dropped beat!). Not having played regularly for a while, I stuck to the “old-faithfuls” – the tunes I learned in grammer school and when I was preparing for my first fiddle contest. The first ones learned are the last to go. I started with
my easiest tunes, but when the fingers got stage fright – I decided to just go for it and play my “complicated”ones. If I was going to have to sing half the tune, it might as well sound difficult! As I played I was reminded of one of my “fiddle resolutions” from a few years back:
Reminder 2 – I have practiced enough if I don’t have to feel like I should apologize for the quality of my playing anytime a friend requests a tune.

A few days later I was playing with a group of people for a birthday party along the Amjam (the bike thingy here in CA) tour route. This time I was just one member of the group, not the sole player – and there were mikes and amplification instead of a conference room with decent acoustics or a covered parking lot. But you know what? The music was the same. The birthday people, whom I didn’t know, where still excited to hear the music. Reminder 3 – Music, no matter how you do it is appreciated and will open doors (and Bar-be-ques!).

How lucky am I that I get to be part of the music community in my own
small way?
Posted:  5/21/2011

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