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Oct 25

Sister Ghandi and Violin Karaoke

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2009 in Family, Music

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!

Via www.virtualsheetmusic.com, I found the following video on YouTube:

Which might not make a whole lot of sense as it is, but if you fiddle along with it, it might sound something a little bit like this:

Someday hopefully, at least.

Bring on the comments

  1. Holemaster says:

    Well done. I have a piano behind me right now, staring at me, waiting for me to sit back on that stool again and to warm my fingers and gently start into Carmen.

    I got off the train at grade six too.

  2. warrior says:

    Any reason you are so damn hard on yourself or are you just masochistic for fun…( I hate when you make me spell big words).
    Stop moaning, I am betting I see you in Grafton street when I am home next week :-)

  3. I always wanted to play an instrument. I think I would have chosen the flute. But at my school, you could only move on to the ‘real’ instruments if you were good enough at the recorder… and that I most certainly was not.

    In recent years, I’ve been seriously disturbed by violins. I used to work in a school where the whole class would learn the violin at the same time. Imagine that! Thirty badly played violins in an echoey hall. *Shudders*.

  4. Fat Sparrow says:

    Good on you! I always wanted to learn violin but my mother made me take piano lessons instead, and also I have no musical talent whatsoever.

  5. Vicky Rogers says:

    Oh wow my favourite piece of music. its so beautifully haunting im think im going to cry. i actaully learned to sing when i was in school. Although i have been known to do a great t rex version of get it on.

  6. Baino says:

    At least you stuck with it enough to pick up the old girl again and pluck a few notes. I gave up on Piano when I was 11, stupidest thing I ever did. I haven’t got the inclination or discepline to learn any more.

  7. Jo says:

    I have a cello in my attic…

  8. K8 says:

    Holemaster; Aw, have an aul’ bash at Fur Elise sometime for me will ya? It’s a cliche, but I don’t care, the middle bit is deadlee.

    Warrior; I have to be masochistic, sure nobody else but me can do that. Welcome home :)

    J; I hated the recorder… I shudder every time I hear the Glenroe theme tune! Thirty violins, you could use that as a backtrack to a horror flick – I know that sound.

    Fat Sparrow; Try the guitar, big fat middle ground. Also easier to bring to parties than a piano, as me da would say.

    Vicky; I hear they’ve a wicked Karaoke night down th’ Old Bray inn ;-p

    Baino; I’ll swap you a Didgeridoo for a Banjo so, we can learn them and play duets over Skype!

    Jo; Wow, really?? That is my all time favourite thing to play, really mellow. Did you play??

  9. Jo says:

    No! Never got brave enough to start :(

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