Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My violin story: Callused fingers and chin-rest marks

Photo: George Chamoun; Taken one drunken evening outside Färgfabriken .
I was playing to earn my cab fare to get home.
I started playing the violin at the tender age of five. My first violin teacher was a rather corpulent lady called Barbara whose house smelled of cats (in the bad way). My second violin teacher was Russian and firm but very loving. I stayed with her all through elementary school and middle school, playing concerts, touring, competing, and practicing, practicing, practicing. Success was partly measured in how hard the calluses on my fingertips were and how prominent the tell-tale permanent mark on my neck from where the chin rest would rub against my skin. Those were beautiful times of simple measurable successes.

Photo: unknown? Playing with my former band
 The Goner
And then…high school came…and suddenly, in my quest for self-expression, contextual art, music theatre, fashion design and independent pop & rock, (and let’s be honest: partying, girls&boys, making out, etc) became more interesting than practicing the violin 3-4 hours a day. And so it was that I meandered off the beaten life path of Professional Violinist and through twists and turns in life ended up as an HR Specialist. How’s that for change of domain?

Photo: Janne Tavares
Rehearsal photo from the stage production
Chockdoktrinen (The Chock Doctrine)
based on the book Naomi Klein. 2010.
Luckily for me, those thousands of hours of practicing made a lot of the stuff stick irrevocably, allowing me to still pick up the violin and make pretty noises with it. And further luck has allowed me to play my violin in all kinds of different, unexpected constellations: in theatre, in performance art, on TV-commercials, with bands, etc. My fingers may be slower and not as callused as they used to be, my neck-mark is almost invisible (but only almost), and truthfully, I’m not always entirely on pitch all of the time. But it is truly a gift, as invaluable as ever, to be able to connect with that extra limb of mine, my violin, and make music.

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