I’ve never lived with someone who plays an instrument—until now. I shouldn’t really say that. My mother was an accomplished pianist, and my sister grew up on a piano, plus our children played instruments a year or two in their youth.
What I mean is I’ve never studied someone studying an instrument. Tandy has talked for several years about taking up the violin. Now she’s done it. She researched and bought a violin, found a teacher, and is showing herself the same tenacious, no-detail-left-unthought-of person she’s known for being.
Her lesson is 30 minutes once a week, but that is the least of all her learning. What fascinates me is the chemistry of how she goes about absorbing the violin experience. It’s a new lesson on how a learner becomes one with a pursuit.
The computer is a marvel of our age; she will hunt up the best YouTubes she can find on a particular song in progress or issue with mechanics. For example, she began to get curious about what the violin can do and what the bow can do. The violin can only do so much, and then there has to be the action of the bow.
The magic of the bow is in angle, pressure, and smoothness of stroke. How can it elicit from the instrument the instrument’s acoustical potential? Then too, the fingering on the neck takes getting used to on an instrument with no frets.
Behind all this is the brain—music central—and then soul, the intangible fabric of the human. There it is: brain, soul, bow, and violin. Watching another human being undertake so much discovery is stimulating. What makes it fun too is seeing her perseverance—literally willing her way to find out what she needs to know.
I haven’t told you anything about the quality of sound she is getting. She’s hit her first plateau, somewhat frustrating while waiting for the next jump in sweetness of notes and consistency in playing a song.