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Pauline Lerner

January 13, 2005 at 4:44 AM

Like so many other bloggers on this site, I love teaching violin. I love making people happy. I feel at least as rewarded and excited as my students do when they make even a little progress.

Today I gave a lesson to an adult beginner with no background in music before coming to me for lessons. OK, he had some background -- listening to Irish fiddle music and loving it. I had started him with the usual: open strings, scales, Twinkle. I'm getting so tired of Twinkle. I was looking for something easy and Irish for him. Just to let him hear an Irish tune, I played, "The Castle of Dromore," aka "October Winds," and he said, "I want to play that!" It's not the easiest Irish tune to start with, but I couldn't say no to his enthusiasm. I taught it to him by ear and then wrote him a cheat sheet, with letters and numbers, to take home and practice. Today he played all the notes almost correctly and I helped him with his intonation. Then I told him that some notes are to be played for a longer time than others (quarter notes and half notes) and showed him some bowings. He picked up the rhythm and the bowings and started to emphasize the first beat of every three. Amazing! Most students find 3/4 or 6/8 time harder than 4/4, so I usually start them on 4/4. I told him so and reminded him that he had requested this tune. He replied that he loves it. This was only his fifth lesson and he is playing music, not just playing notes. Wow!

I wish I didn't need a day job to support myself. Then I could just teach violin. If I had stayed married, I probably could have retired by now. Then again, if I had stayed married, I'd probably be dead by now. Another possibility comes from some freelance work (technical editing) I'm doing for an inventor. I told him that when his inventions sell and he becomes rich, I want a small percentage, just enough so that I won't need a day job and I can teach violin. His wife told me that I have to stand in line. She wants to retire, too. I fantasize about marrying a "financially secure" man who is old fashioned enough to support me financially so that I can just teach violin and dispense with a day job. Perhaps I can post an ad that says, "Support the arts. Marry me." Reality is tough.

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