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Fiddleheads Violin Studio Top Image featuring a photo of Rhiannon, Owner Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide View Shopping Cart Like and Follow Us on Facebook! Spring Break/March Shipping Delays: Click Here Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!

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Writings

Don't Shoot the Beginner Piano Player

A violin teacher tries her "hands" at piano playing

by Rhiannon Nachbaur of Award-Winning Fiddleheads Violin Studio

As the back to school flyers pour in and I visually digest the crisp images of mechanical pencils and Shrek lunch boxes, I am compelled to seek out new learning opportunities to make the rainy dying days of summer a smooth transition into winter. Between Toastmasters Club, community orchestras, night classes at OUC and a botched attempt at learning saxophone five autumns past, I have realised my school-aged programming has left a permanent impression: I see brown leaves and I run for the nearest sign-up sheet.

I decided this year, after having delved into expensive hobbies and projects started and soon abandoned, to limit my fall learning frenzies to those activities which are affordable, work well with my busy life as a wife and mother and which I am sure I will stick to long-term.

So I went out and bought a piano.

Affordable? Not really. It set us back from buying a new couch, but as I explained to my loved ones that if you dexterously avoid the gaping holes and sharp jutting springs, the existing couch really is quite comfortable.

Non-intrusive to my family? The thing takes up half of my living room and almost all of my attention, resulting in several burned suppers, neglected piles of dishes and ignored phone calls. Things of little importance when I am immersed in a snappy rendition of “Polly Wolly Doodle.”

Which leads to the last criteria: Will I stick with it long-term? You betcha!

To be honest, I did not expect this new musical venture to be this successful. I've always wanted a piano in my home; my German heritage nagging, “it's not home unless it's got a piano.” As a violinist and violin junkie I've never much cared for piano music (I know I'll get heat from my piano-playing colleagues for that one).

I figured I'd noodle around on it here and there, waiting until my preschool-aged son was taking lessons for it to be studied on, as my past ventures in new instruments ended with me giving up from frustration.

As the burly piano movers heaved the massive antique into place, one of them wheezed, “Someone had better learn to play this thing.” Though I was down with a gawdawful flu the day the piano arrived, I played it for hours at a time, ignoring my 39-degree fever and laryngitis.

I started with the basics: “Twinkle Twinkle” and “Mary had a Little Lamb.” I found the whole “two hand, two clef” concept a bit of a hurdle, like severing one half of my brain from the other then asking them to co-operte. After three days of inspired practice (and leftovers for dinner) things seemed to click and other songs flowed more easily.

I've discovered I'm really good at this, a real natural! I play a wicked two-handed “Chicken Dance” and I'm pretty solid at the first page of Beethoven's “Moonlight” Sonata. Ok, fifteen years of violin playing and a college music education probably has something to do with that, but let me dream!

In the past learning a new instrument, or anything new for that matter, was unbearably frustrating because didn't like feeling like a “beginner” and set unachievable goals. I enjoy playing piano far too much to wreck it with guilt or self-doubt, so I am softening my expectations and have surrendered to my vulnerability in starting over again. This humbling experience has gained me far more respect for my students who, like me, are beginners in an instrument.

It feels like I'm back in school again with all the other kids, learning and growing with my mechanical pencil and lunch box, singing “Poll-y Woll-y Doo-dle all the day!”

Feedback for "Don't Shoot the Beginner Piano Player"

Hello madam,

My name is Ana Ottenwalder. I am 24 years old and have felt an intense passion for the violin since i was young, alas! i could never afford lessons or an instrument, i live in the Dominican Republic`s capital Santo Domingo and just recently through my own efforts and job, i have aquired an instrument and a teacher who i can meet only once a week on Saturday`s because of her full schedule and because i work full time and have a 5 year old son whom needs constant vigilance.

I am happy just to be learning, and be close to others who feel the same way and have had more contact with the violin than me , so i can learn from them and try and catch up. now i know that because of my age and the fact that im still getting the hang of everything i cannot expect any kind of career out of it, but in my haert i wish to be a great violinist and i wish to be able to play Bach!

do you think that if i practice really hard everyday, i could eventually become good enough to be able to play for at least a small audience or even enter in contests and be graded in my abilities like the younger and more experienced violinists of today.

I can tell you that im learning to properly sight read my music and i practice hard with scales and arpeggios everyday and i always watch my tone and make sure that its a rich and clear tone , my bow hand is just getting used to it so sometimes i slip a little , but im really working on that , and making sure my fingers always land on the right pitch but sometimes i get frustrated and wish i could meet my teacher more often.

im a big fan of you and your site, ive read most of the articles and feel at home with the way you write them, overall i wish i was closer so that i could visit your school!

Anyways just any word i could get from you would be an inspiration.

- Ana Ottenwalder, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

I was doing some more reading on your site last night and I enjoyed the article about your love of ballet and trying your hand at piano playing (I laughed when you mentioned the two clef thing – for me, reading violin music is the only easy part of the whole process!)

- Rhonda, Leduc, Alberta

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Fiddleheads.ca Main Page Like and Follow Fiddleheads Violin Studio on Facebook View Shopping Cart: Pay with Credit Card or Paypal Account Fiddleheads is a Canadian Business that serves customers around the world Fiddleheads is an eco-friendly business Fiddleheads is an Award-Winning Business run by an Award-Winning Musician and Young Entrepreneur Serving Elated Customers Worldwide: Click here for Testimonials Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!