Personal Narrative Essay: My Violin


I have been playing violin for three years before I entered 8th grade. I was nowhere near a musical genius and only played to appease my parents. Being a middle schooler and doing something that you really do not enjoy, takes a toll on you. Violin is nowhere near one of my favorite instruments to play, and I  actually quite hated it. From time to time I would slack off and act like I was quietly playing so the teacher could not hear me while others were playing. The teacher thought that I was an excellent player, to be honest I didn't even know how since I barely placed my bow on the violin strings.

One day she came up to me and asked me, “ I., I would love for you to be the first chair for the new song we are about to learn next week, can you do that for me?”

I was truly baffled. I could not say no since when a teacher asks you something it is usually out of politeness, not only that but I really wanted to be first chair since it made me feel like the star of the whole show. I said yes of course but little did I know that I would have to be teaching and coaching students who I knew had better musical talent than me.

I am glad that my second chair was boisterous and bubbly and usually took over the rehearsals, and I had no problem with it since he has been playing violin for 8 years prior. He was a nice boy and would also look at me in a concerned manner and ask, “Are you sure you don't want to lead the group I., I don’t want to step on your toes or take over your position?” 

He did not know that I was ever so thankful for him so I declined and told him, “ Please continue, you are doing me a huge favor.”

Near the end of the rehearsal time we played satisfactorily, I was amazed and wiped the sweat off my brow knowing and hoping we would get the approval of your teacher. There were a few timing problems and croaks here and there, but the team and I really pulled it together. Well you can say my second chair Ashton and the rest of the vilinest pulled it together. I was still floundering and was the creator of the croaks and bad timing. Others noticed but laughed it off since it was not such a big deal, but I was embarrassed, so I did what I knew best and pretended to play. 

The teacher walked into the rehearsal room and stood in the back, listening to the improving progress that we were making humming along to the sound of the music. She looked like she was enjoying the song very much and was very pleased. SInce she was already there some students asked if she could stay to hear us play it through once so she could critique us. She said yes, and that is whe I started to panic. There  was no way I could get away with not playing a single note since the violin section I was working with was very small and I was the leader. I was basically shitting bricks at that point in time and a cold shiver ran down my back. I did not want to disappoint the music teacher Ms. Cain, she already had a liking towards me. So I had to muster up all the courage I had and play correctly with little to no mistakes. Yea I know right, that sounds like a lot of pressure to put on my 8th grade self, but it had to be done, in hopes that she would see me as someone fit to take on more responsibility and lead more violin groups in the future.

Well the sounds I was producing turned out better than I thought. It still was not to the level as some of my other violinists, but it was better than nothing. Thinking I got away with the rough harmony I created I started to put my violin away signaling to the others that we were done for the day. Or so I thought that we were done for the day.  While everyone was packing up the teacher pulled me and my second chair, Ashton aside. “ Tomorrow you guys will be putting on a little orchestra performance for the staff in the library. I am telling you now so I can hear how you two play alone” the teacher told us.

Now I was shaking about going into panic mode wondering what I was going to do. I could not hide behind the sounds of other violinists since it would just be me and Ashton. I had to play confidently and act like I knew what I was doing even if I didn’t.

After a good five minutes of playing with Ashton, Ms. Cain decided that I was not ready for the staff performance that was happening next week. She offered to substitute me for someone who she thinks is more ready for the spot, but I declined. I wanted to play in front of these adults and prove to myself and the teacher that I am a good violinist that can lead a pack. I may have been pushing myself also because this performance took place during math and P.E, so I was not complaining. The teacher agreed and told me I had three days to fully rehearse the song and play it exceptionally well so I can be approved by Ms. Cain.

Everyday after that talk I spent all my free time playing violin. It was weird for me though, before that day I had never truly picked up my violin outside of orchestra class. If I put a small amount of motivation behind my playing, I am able to conquer a lot. I did more than I ever did in class, since now I was actually learning and trying to play.

I came back to the teacher three days later feeling ready for her to hear me play. As I started to play and the song went along I thought I was doing an amazing job and that I improved so much from three days ago. The teacher unfortunately had other thoughts. She did not think that I was ready to play and that I needed more practice. She complimented me though telling me I improved. I was heartbroken and devastated, but remember I dug my own grave. Not practicing or trying in any capacity really put a toll on my ability to play and lead correctly. It was my fault and I had no one to blame but myself. Even though the moment was embarrassing for me it taught me a lesson, that faking it till you make it does not always work in your favor. 

After that year I applied that same thinking to many other aspects in my life, not just playing instruments. Cheating myself would only hurt me in the future and I could not let that happen ever again.

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