I had practically nothing to do. I watched the rain pour down dreamily and heavily down the roads and the pavements. It was gloomy and tiring. Besides watching all the movies (plus episodes) on Netflix, reading all the books off my bookshelf, spying on my boring neigbours, watching my brother play boring video games and observing my mum sort out files and documents for her office the next day, I was looking for something else to do.
I scrolled through all the Netflix movies, hoping to find a new
I dragged my feet up to the last floor, hoping to catch some vivid inspiration. I heard soothing, melodious music venturing beautifully out of Grandpa's room. I knocked softly and perched lightly at the edge of his bed.
Grandpa had started the violin since he was four. He had never quit or never stopped playing it. He took online lessons from his teacher; now and then since he could never bother to drag his lazy and exhausted bones out into the car and into the violin class. He prepared eagerly for every class he was scheduled to and spent hours watching Youtube videos on violins. He practiced daily for about one and a half hours. I just never thought I would know such a dedicated violin player.
Hearing my grandfather play made me want to commit to taking up the instrument. But I wasn't so sure if I was ready yet. I didn't know if I had the effort, time and the commitment for it.
For the tenth time, hearing my grandfather play, made me stand up straight to my mum and tell her confidently that I wanted to take up a new instrument: the violin.
Mum wasn't so sure at first. She knew I was pressured by exams and I already went dutifully for my flute, piano and guitar classes. She wasn't sure if I could manage all four at the same time.
But my determined heart wouldn't let go. And before I knew it, I was being handed a violin from my teacher: Master Dean Coyle. He sure had a weird name, yes. But he was quite strict and pushed us to be good violin players.
I was in beginners class and I had to be taught how to hold a bow with the proper finger positions. It was kinda embarrassing to see a nineteen year old like me watch an eleven year old play superbly.
I played with my might, but all that came out was a squeamish sort of squeak from the shiny brown violin. Master Coyle just smiled grimly. "That happens when you don't resin your bow enough. Try again. I'll be back with you in a minute." he replied.
I tried again and even after rubbing a lot of the resin, I sounded terrible.
Soon, I slowly picked up and I learned how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. (I know, it's kinda babyish). But I was horrible.
I didn't want anyone to hear my playing. Especially Grandpa. So I locked myself in the room, opened my violin case, rubbed a little resin and took out the sheets of music.
At first, I sounded like a cat dragging its nails on a blackboard. I squirmed at the very sound of it.
At last, when I had put the violin down, devastated, Grandpa peeked in. "May I help you Pete?"
I shrugged. "I'll never improve. But...I guess?"
Grandpa took out his violin gently and squinted at my piece. "Ah, that's easy Pete! Look here laddie, you know piano eh? You know all these notes ain't it? Give it a try won't you?"
I sighed and yet, bent to pick up my shiny brown violin. I looked at the piece, focused and tried the piece with major bobbles on my bow and major stops and halts. Grandpa winced a little and smiled. "Let's do it together huh?"
After a few weeks, I started to get a lot better.
Master Coyle had this thing every Friday where you could move up levels in the Beginner Level. You did that by challenging a top player by replacing your place. I was in Level one.
On Friday, instead of watching others challenge each other in admiration, I raised my hand along with a few others. "Pete? Wow, impressive. Who do you want to challenge?" Master Coyle questioned me.
I gulped. "Maya."
She was a good player, but the best one was Evelyn. She was the top of our class. I had to tackle her later on when I got even better. But now, Maya was my perfect match.
Master Prom set up two sheets for us. Jingle Bells.
Hey, I knew this.
It was my turn. I inhaled and thought of Grandpa. I strummed and played. I had at least four slight screeches, but I was good I guess.
Because the next thing up, Master Coyle smiled at me slightly after Maya's performance.
That was the best thing I had ever heard!
Before I knew it, I was ready into a challenge for Evelyn on a beautiful, crisp Friday morning. We had to play Deck the Halls. It sure didn't sound like soothing to me. I glanced at the notes. It looked quite familiar and I felt good about this one. Evelyn played beautifully and only had a slight bobble at the ending.
I closed my eyes and strummed away. I heard beautiful violin music venturing peacefully out of my violin and I played it like I had never played my violin in the past six months. As I stopped, I saw my members gaping at me in astonishment and shock. Master Coyle raised his eyebrows so high and smiled vibrantly.
"Challenge successful. Well done Pete. That was beautiful."
I smiled the most shiniest smile ever. It was the first time I was proud of my achievement. It felt like - well, there was practically no words to say it - amazing. I intended to keep my place the same way it was, at the top. And can I tell you, my Grandpa sure was beaming and proud. My mum never expected it, but she sure was astonished and proud.
Who knew a rainy boring day could lead to being the top of my newest taken up instrument, violin?