I never gave the violin much thought until my wife, Tandy, took it up half a year ago. Her teacher, Rachel Crick (formerly Rachel Brown) has assigned her to play in a recital this December. Rachel is a former English 101 student from 2008 and plays in the local group “The Elliot Howard Band,” easily found on Facebook.
It’s customary for a student to listen to various renditions of a song, made possible by YouTube. Learning has definitely changed because of the computer and social media. Anyone can go out to the world. I often sit and listen as well, and Tandy will comment on this or that YouTube.
She often comments also on how playing is affected by audience. It’s one thing to practice alone, another if someone is present – like me. Recently she’s played for family groups or friends. The hardest person to play for is Rachel when at a lesson.
Saturday afternoon, I thought, “I haven’t listened closely to Itzhak Perlman, and he’s one of the world’s great violinists.” Getting situated on the sofa with the iPad, I chose his YouTube of Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto in D.” The camera remained close on Perlman, only occasionally panning the orchestra. The view of his fingers in itself was mesmerizing, along with the brilliant playing and majesty of the selection.
Turning to Tandy as she worked the weekend crossword puzzle, I said, “I wouldn’t be listening to this if you didn’t play the violin.” She’s the one who takes violin, but indirectly, interesting violin-related pleasures come my way.
Listening to Perlman also tied into a vivid first grade memory from the 1950s when my dad came in with a stack of LP records just purchased, including “Porgy and Bess,” Marty Robbins’ “Gunfighter Ballads,” and – Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto in D.” I played those albums countless times.
Saturday made a new memory with the IPad and Perlman’s rapturous playing, while from the mind of a child, an old memory waved from the past.