And you thought my penny whistle playing was bad

Posted on Saturday, June 27, 2009 by Melanie

Last year, Lyndon found a fairly decent violin at one of the local antique fairs (the dealer was selling instruments) and bought it for me as a birthday present, since he knew that I was interested in learning how to play. However, I never felt comfortable playing it in the apartment as our soundproofing was nil and I didn't like disturbing the neighbors.

However, we are now in the house, and one of the things I promised myself when we moved in was that somehow, somewhere, I would start violin lessons. And lo, my first one was last Thursday, with a very nice local teacher. Since the first session was really kind of an intro/orientation/evaluation session, we talked about my musical background and what instruments I played (he seemed impressed that I did horn line arrangements for my Blues Brothers band back in high school) while he examined my violin, pronounced it acceptable, and restrung it because the strings were pretty well shot.

And then he tried playing it. After some consideration, he said that it felt odd and sounded sort of strange, as well. And then he took a closer look at it.

Oh, he said. This isn't a violin. It's a viola.

Ah, I said. Um. Er. Well, I guess I'm taking viola lessons, then.

Which is going to be interesting, as the viola uses the alto clef and I've only ever sight-read treble clef, but I guess I can learn the transposition. So he restrung it yet again with viola strings, said that I should pick up a viola bow (it came with a violin bow) and told me which music book to pick up for next week's lesson.

And so it seems that I will be playing viola, aka the Polish Joke of the orchestra. I never do things the normal way, do I?

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  1. Pat Gaik |

    I have little faith in a teacher who could not immediately see that it was a viola and not a violin...

  2. Stacy |

    No shit!

  3. Melanie |

    Guys, it's a 15" viola, the same length as your average violin, plus it came with a violin bow, so I can't blame him for missing it at first. The only visual difference is the wider waist.


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