Apart from attending weddings and helping with school libraries and hunting in vain for knee length socks and stitching costumes back together and carving halloween pumpkins and knitting nothing in particular very fervently in an attempt to (yet again) quit smoking, this week I be mostly reviving my violin.
It’s been lying inside a dusty box in various parts of the house untouched for the last twelve years which would make my Grandmother twist in her very pretty grave high up on the hilltop if she knew.
See, every time I consider opening that case, I would remember my teacher and suffer from huge pangs of guilt and would walk away and close my eyes and hope the guilt would dissappear under the bed again.
My teacher was a nun, a very small nun who reminded me of Ghandi and who was at least 125 years old if she was a day. She would make me go limp like a powered-down robot before every lesson, and told me that pressure was a waste of time, that I could only be as good as I am, so why worry?
I remember enrolling for classes with her at some stage during my school life, and picking up a violin and making it screech horribly. I could already read music, that wasn’t the problem, it was the damn bow not doing what it was supposed to do and the fact that the notes on the strings are entirely invisible. With a piano, at least each note is pre-defined, a black or white key to either be pressed, or not. A violin relies on the ear of the player, a finger slid slightly too far south makes the music sound a bit like a vomiting goat.
After a few months of learning scales and arpeggios and chromatics and the like, Sister Ghandi told me I was to do an exam. It was at this point I wondered if she actually switched on her hearing aid at all during lessons, surely no examiner would want to entertain me after just a few months?!? No matter how much I protested, she went ahead and enlisted me for exams anyway, not for some low grade warmer upper, no no. She went right ahead and booked me up for Grade SIX.
I had an impossible modern mumbo jumbo piece and an increadibly weird hungarian dance to learn in a tight space, but she had faith in me and made me do it, no matter how much I complained.
I passed it, too. I did really well, and became leader of the band geeks, of which I was entirely proud.
Then I left school after my leaving cert and never looked back.
I could have called the convent to see if she was still alive, but I never did. I could have checked in on her to thank her for all her hard work, but I didn’t. I couldn’t handle the fact that if I did call the nuns, they would tell me that she had shuffled off the mortal coil and was now fiddling at the Lord’s right hand side in heaven. I just couldn’t bear to hear that.
Which is stupid, because there is a slight chance that she’s still alive. I’m just too afraid to find out.
So, in her honour, I am attempting to re-tune these tired old strings and learn all over again via Internet Karaoke.
Internet Karaoke?!?!? Again poor Granny turns in her grave!