The Closet Violinist Breaks Out.

Tonight, the closet violinist swung from the chandelier onto centre stage, dazzling the audience with a half-decent rendition of Chopin’s: “How Deep Is the Night” (Tristesse). However, if I’m honest, my entry onto the stage was much more reticent. Of course, I didn’t want to trip over which was quite a possibility with all the leads, drum kits etc to fall over. However, my violin teacher helped me out and my grand entry went smoothly. Now, I just needed to play…

In the days leading up to the concert, I second guessed myself something chronic.WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!! “You’re hopeless. It’s not ready. Don’t do it!!!” Of course, I’d done nowhere near enough practice. It was only in the last days before the concert, I actually got moving squeezing in all those critical hours of practice, which make such a difference yet almost came too late. However, despite the anxiety, I actually love performing and would love to get out there more often. It’s another one of those eternal, internal conundrums.

Rowena on stage

I could almost look like a rock violinist under these lights.

It was only a small soiree with fellow students and their families. Hardly playing at the big end of year concert, or heaven forbid, at the Sydney Opera House. However, no one likes making mistakes and there’s always that possibility of humiliating disaster. Yours truly has even broken her foot just before going on stage, but in true violinist fashion, it was on with the show. However, nobody in our household says “break a leg” before any of my performances now.

“How Deep Is the Night” is a particularly melancholy piece of music and the words are grab you by throat kind of dark…

SO DEEP IS THE NIGHT 

So deep is the night,

No moon tonight,

No friendly star to guide me with its light.

Be still my heart,

Silent lest my love could be returning,

From a world far apart.

So deep is the night,

Oh lonely night,

On broken wings my heart has taken flight,

And left a dream.

In my dream our lips are blending;

Will my dream be never ending?

Will your memory haunt me till I die?

Alone am I,

Deep into the night,

Waiting for the light.

Alone am I,

I wonder why,

I wonder why.

In my dream our lips are blending;

Will my dream be never ending?

Will your memory haunt me till I die?

Alone am I,

Deep into the night,

Waiting for the light.

Alone am I,

I wonder why,

I wonder why.

Frederik Chopin (m) 1832 Sonny Miller (l) as recorded by Richard Tauber March 29th 1940

However, who hasn’t experienced that all-consuming heartbreak and that sense of the surrounding darkness penetrating your soul? That’s one thing I don’t miss about my youth!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t share the words with the audience so I gave a brief introduction and parked a teddy bear in front. You can’t see it clearly in the photos. However, he has a red stone on his lap with “I love you” etched into it.

DSC_5727

I’d proud of myself for persevering with the violin, which has been very challenging at times. However, persistence and regular practice pays off. I’m making solid strides forward. It’s fantastic.

Rowena & Danni

Photographed here with my very encouraging and patient teacher, Danielle. We played as a duet. 

Do you play an instrument? Do you perform at all? Do you like it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Best wishes,

Rowena

12 thoughts on “The Closet Violinist Breaks Out.

  1. IreneDesign2011

    Wow Rowena, it is very difficult to learn to play the violin and then you go into concert too 😀
    You are very brave.
    I don’t play any instrument well. By my education years ago, we did have music too, but I’m not that good.

  2. tidalscribe

    I am impressed. A few of us at junior school who could get hold of voilins were given lessons, I never got further than playing Three Blind Mice in a garage concert with my friends, but one girl progressed – I often wonder if she had musical career.

  3. Rowena Post author

    It’s interesting with those primary school music lessons and how they draw some students out and take them onto bigger and brighter things and leave others behind, although I think it’s good to have had a try and extended yourself in that way. My daughter was on and off with the violin and when she changed schools when she was about 111, they had a string program at the school and they performed in a combined schools concert at the Sydney Opera House. I was incredibly proud of her but so jealous as well. That’s my dream. I’m going to take my violin and at least get a photo of me standing on the Opera House steps. I’m rather cheeky. Here’s a link to the post I wrote about my daughter’s experience: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/festival-of-instrumental-music-sydney-opera-house/
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  4. tidalscribe

    At our children’s junior school there was a programme which Could lead to the borough youth orchestra – noe of ours made it. There was violin, but everuy three years it was viola and my older son and daughter both hit the viola years. Then clarinets appeared on the scene and I encouraged younger son to try, but he only liked the first lesson where they learnt how to take it to pieces to clean! We have all had a go at various instruments.

  5. trentpmcd

    Even if just fellow students and family, playing in front of an audience is playing in front of an audience. Sounds like it went well. Here is to many more concerts!

  6. Rowena Post author

    Performing to an audience is interesting. I’m very extroverted and a natural performer, although I wouldn’t call myself a natural when it comes to the violin. There are people who engage and interact with the audience and those who quite literally flee the stage. When I’ve done the practice and know I’m ready or thereabouts, the audience enriches me. They so positive and reassuring. Even when people make mistakes, which often happens in these smaller soiree settings because they’re more about performance practice in a nurturing setting than being ready for a competition. I had a lot of fun. I was also initially daunted because a few of my friends had come along to watch their kids and that was a surprise. I wasn’t just playing to my husband and kids. It was funny because one of my friends asked if our daughter was playing and I was so chuffed to reply: “No, it’s me.” Actually, that alone was worth it!

  7. Rowena Post author

    It’s funny isn’t when you reflect on some of those primary years with our kids. Our son did Australian Rules Football for a few years and had the opportunity to play at half time both at the Sydney Cricket Ground and ANZ Stadium which was the former Sydney 2000 Olympic site. He hasn’t continued and is a keen sailor. However, his team mate is training with the Sydney Swans in the junior ranks. He’s not my son but I’m proud of him anyway after watching him from the beginning.
    On the other hand, our daughter went in the school band (along with the string group, choir and dance troupe). They needed someone to play the baritone horn and she was the only one who could get the lips right and get a note out of it. However, she was tiny and couldn’t lift the horn. She used to catch a train and bus to school and she had a friend who was a lot taller and stronger than her and she used to carry the horn to and from school for her and I’d carry it to the train. It was absolutely ridiculous but I’ll give it to the teacher that he didn’t discriminate. She learned for one year but it wasn’t going anywhere and she didn’t practice. Had too much on and she’s really had to drop most of her other activities to focus on dance since then. She did consider going onto the claranet and we dug out my mother’s claranet which she’d had as her second instrument back at the conservatorium. However, it wasn’t much chop and when it came to buying an instrument on top of everything else, that was the end of the clarinet.

  8. Gary A Wilson

    oooh no. Not me. I don’t dance and since I had to practice to learn how to play the stereo – I don’t do raw instruments.either. I am however proficient in heartfully applauding for those who do.

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