“I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” ~Albert Einstein
I began playing the violin in fourth grade, I was blessed to have an elementary school that offered orchestra and had an amazingly patient instructor. The violin instantly took me like a virus and I found I had a knack for it. I enjoyed it so much that you would often find me, my violin, and my music stand set up in the backyard playing the hours away. I never saw playing my violin as a chor, in fact, my violin was an escape for me. It was always there to help me express my emotions, whether happy, sad or somewhere in-between. Throughout junior high and high school, I had the opportunity to be first chair violin and was tasked with sounding the A for the strings to tune to and playing solo parts when present in the composition.
With schooling and work consuming so much of my time over the years, I began to play less often and now only pick up my violin a few times a year. I really need to make time to skill back up and bring that joy back into my life…
The Salt Lake Scots Bagpipe Band
In junior high, my best friend Ian Williams joined the Salt Lake Scots Bagpipe Band as a piper. Well, he began taking free lessons after agreeing to become part of the band. As good friends do, when Ian asked if I wanted to join I said you bet, with the caveat that there was no way I was playing bagpipes. Lucky for me, a proper bagpipe band also has to have a drum core and I began learning both the Scotish tenor drum as well as the Scotish snare.
If you watch the video below, you will see the tenor drums on either side of the bass drum at the top. The tenor drum, I must say, was a blast to learn and play and is the most visible part of the drum core due to the flourishing (or spinning of the drum mallets). The drum is a bit more technical than the bass drum but far more technical and requiring so much more talent is the Scotish snare drum. If you look closely at the snare drummer center stage and watch just how fast and accurately he moves those drumsticks you may get a glimpse of just how difficult the art is. The goal of each drum type is to get into perfect synchronicity to the point that each group sounds together as a single extremely loud drum, all the snares together, all the tenors together, and well the single bass already has that goal down pat.
I am no longer with the band but my family and I attend their concerts each year and cheer them on as they appear in various parades throughout the year.
Electric Guitar? In progress…
I guess I just have a thing for music and when I saw that video game developers had mixed fun with playing a musical instrument, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So I went out and bought a Wii and the game Guitar Heros. Ok, so, it is really not like playing a true string instrument, but it is fun nonetheless and as a family, we have built plenty of memories battling each other with guitars.
You can only imagine my excitement when years later I heard those game developers had ‘really’ combined a true stringed electric guitar with a video game that made learning the instrument fun and engaging. So, I went out and bought that game and a starter guitar kit. Rocksmith is an amazing game and a great way to learn how to play the electric guitar. So far I have not found the time to really invest into learning the guitar properly, but I hope to find that time in the near future. until then, I will keep playing around with it when I can.