Friday, May 7, 2010

An Order of Magnitude Higher

Just found out that my blunder last week is quite a bit worse than the college blunder I mentioned at the end of my last post.  About ten times worse.

On another note, a friend's Facebook post about NYSSMA brought back a memory I'll share with you now.  By 11th grade, I'd done NYSSMA on piano twice, but never on violin.  Our orchestra teacher made performing a NYSSMA solo a requirement of the class, and we could choose either to perform our solo for the NYSSMA adjudicators or for the class.  Naturally, most people chose the more intimate audience of an adjudicator.  I have no idea why they're called "adjudicators" and not "judges," but how often does one get to use the word "adjudicator?"

For my solo, I played Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in A minor.  Like many of my classmates, I'd never taken private violin lessons and everything I knew about violin playing came from what I picked up in our bi-daily rehearsals and the occasional monthly group lesson.  Let me branch off and talk about those lessons for a moment.  Lessons took place during another period when you had another class.  The schedule was devised so that no one ever missed the same period twice in one year.  This ended up being a surprise get-out-of-class-free card, however, I rarely went to them.  Lessons, though a reprieve from class, generally weren't much better (enjoyment-wise) than sitting through the class in the first place.  Also, the schedule was so erratic that I never knew they were coming, and often just forgot about them.  I wonder how many other people treated lessons like I did, and whether the orchestra teacher sat in her classroom wondering who was going to actually show up to them.

Anyway, the point of this story is that, as I was waiting for my turn to play my NYSSMA solo, I heard a 4th grade girl practicing the very same piece, and playing it much better than I could.  I never cared about my progress on the violin, so this only made me laugh.  I think my indifference towards the violin is why I still have my violin today.  Had I cared about it, I'm sure I would have thrown it across the room in frustration and broken it a few times.  I cared about the piano, and consequently abused it, but fortunately never did much damage because the piano is a much more hearty instrument than the violin.

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