For me one the hardest instruments to play is the violin...But first let me call it by its proper name down here in Waffle House Land, the fiddle. That’s why I’m gonna learn how to play it, and play it well enough to perform in public. Not just my public, but your public too. I’m gonna learn BECAUSE it is hard. It’s NOT just a shrunken upright bass.
I started practicing today. I started practicing during the worst part of my medication “off” time... the 45 minutes before I take my next dose and the 45 minutes afterward. That’s an hour and a half. An hour and a half is a long time to do something you’re not very proficient at, even when you feel good. But, I pushed through. And lthough I was putting way too much vibrato on everything, :) and a lot of the time the best I could do was not to drop it, there were some moments of actual musicality, brief, but moments.
I’m getting ready to run it through an amp with a FX pedal and a "sound good” box - this should be fun. I guess I should tell you what equipment I’m using, but that would be giving away all my secrets. Let me play it through all that, take some more pictures and I’ll get right back to you.
(insert sounds at distressed cats here)
(LATER THAT NIGHT)
It’s now 10:00pm and time to go to bed, and I’m still only a beginner fiddler. Talk more about it in the morning. G’Nite!
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz snore zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz snore zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
It’s morning, kinda, 2:23am - 4 hours sleep - I’m trying to carry on without coffee just in case I want to take a nap after I’m done with this letter and make Kathleen’s oatmeal.
Fiddles are Groovy and I’LL SHOW YOU...
I am not gonna let my German friends and their stories of Medieval pig tail torture, or those neighborhood nay sayers with cries of “CAT KILLER” stop me. I am going to learn to play the fiddle. As sure as my name is Andy, (it’s really Andrew) before one year is up I will be good enough at it to put out a CD of fiddle tunes called “Just An Old Dog, Fiddlin’ Around Out In The Hall”. Or, at least have it available for download. If I don’t accomplish this, I promise to stand in 5 points, in front of Rain Dogs wearing nothing but an adult diaper ) and play the Muppet’s song "Manana Na” for 30 minutes. That’s incentive for ya. Yeah, I’LL SHOW ‘EM.
And to clarify, I didn’t say standard old-timey songs that everybody knows - They can be original songs - TV theme songs (ala Rabecca Zapen) - anything, As long as it’s in tune, sounds like music, and is completely Groovy, it counts. I'll let Pat Olgilvie, Dave Roberts, John Roche and Rebecca Zapen be the official judges. The last two being excellent violinists and the first being excellent musicians who’s opinions I value greatly. Heck, I might even let the woman down the street, who plays with the symphony, have a listen. I can never remember her name, Anna I believe. - Her family has a dog named Ernie, so I call her Ernie’s Mom. She and her husband both are outstanding professional classical musicians.
People always ask me how come my cousin Pat Olgilvie is so good at every instrument he picks up. I say “That’s EZ... he practices, and practices and practices, and you know what? It shows. One thing I do have is time; I have no excuse. I’ll show Pat that two can play at this game - Cuz. Although, “practice" is a hard word for me to say like “Government” or “Authority” or “Politician" However, I’ll will push through. Yeah, I’LL SHOW THEM!
“What’s all this - I’LL SHOW THEM stuff - Andy?”
I’m not being hateful or sarcastic when I say that - It’s only a trick this old dog has used to propel myself through life accomplishing the things I need or want to do. Although my family has always supported me (except for my automatic cream corn idea) in all my endeavors, the outside world has not always been so kind. After years of hearing how I shouldn’t try to attempt something because I could never succeed at it - or how how I am basically an average guy with grandiose aspirations, I developed this trick. I could have countered these attacks with positive attitude slogans such as “You’ll never know until you try” or “Every journey begins with a single step.” But that’s not what I came up with. All this negative can’t do energy thrown my way forced me to form my own, which could be viewed as somewhat negative, can do strategy.
Yes, my mantra as I was growing up was “I’LL SHOW THEM” It drove me to study guitar after the German teacher grabbed my hand and showed it to my Mother saying “I cannot teach dis Knder, his fingers are two small - like little sausages." Well, as you know I went on to play upright bass - much bigger than a guitar - I SHOWED HIM.
Then came Junior High - puberty - Senior High - Girls - the Army. Places where my philosophy of “Oh Yeah!” came in very handy. Like the 12th grade bass player who told this little 10th grade kid how I didn’t have what it takes to be a good bass player - I don’t know what he was referring to. I do know, however that within 3 months I had replaced him in the band he was in. I don’t think he ever talked to me again. - I SHOWED HIM. Yes it has served me well. But, I have used it only for good and never used this energy to bring someone down - only to bring me up. My intent was not to take that guys job, but when they asked me...
Thank Heaven For...
A little about my violin, or I should say, Kathleen’s violin. It’s a very good quality student model made around 1950, bought for her by her parents. The sticker inside says it’s a copy of an Antonius Stradivarius ( faciebat Cremona) 1713 - Made in West Germany. There’s the answer to the how old is it question. There was no “West Germany” until after WWII. So it’s around 60 -70 years old. The luthier I took it to to have it made playable again said it was a excellent violin - well built and valuable. However, I’m looking for a decent electric violin to use when I play out. It would break my heart if something were to happen to Kathleen’s. That fiddle is like family, she’s our little girl.
I would also like something with modern machine heads (string tuners) like a guitar. I’ll never understand why they continue to use medieval technology such as tuning pegs when much better alternatives are available. Maybe there’s something I’m missing.
Learning to play the fiddle well will be a difficult undertaking - of course my many years of being a musician and upright bass player doesn’t hurt. And, the little knowledge I received through osmosis by playing with Vassar and other excellent fiddlers gives me a leg up. But it’s that extra push, that extra wind in my sails, that will carry me over the finish line, that will enable me to accomplish my goal - Oh yes, I’LL SHOW THEM! And then it’s on to the next hurdle - maybe I’ll run a marathon, something I tell myself I could never do, “You hate to run ... you’re too slow Andrew.” OH YEAH, I’LL SHOW ME!
This philosophy has carried over into almost all areas of my life - especially my dealing with pd. When my body is yelling in my ear YOU CAN’T DO IT - IT’S TOO HARD - GIVE UP AND BUY A GOLDFISH AND SIT BACK DOWN IN YOUR BIG RED CHAIR. That’s the time it helps the most, That’s the time I look old mr. parkinson square in the eye and yell back - “OH YEAH - I’LL SHOW YOU!”
Keep a look out for my CD (or download card) “Just An Old Dog, Fiddlin’ Around Out In The Hall” coming by the end of the year to a 7-11 near you, and other places too. YEAH, I’LL SHOW THOSE GUYS.
7-11 UPDATE - I received another phone call from someone who I believe was a regional VP with a nosebleed pay grade making sure that I was OK with their handling of my issue. He even asked me twice... are you sure? I guess they can’t quite wrap their heads around someone who could forget about something so easily - I guess they’ve never met me. I can forget anything, like where that store is located for example.
just say yes!
meet Andy Ward King, a professional musician and artist until a diagnosis of parkinons dsease at age 49 forced him into an early retirement., he now uses his music, his art along with the whimsical world he has created in this blog as therapy to ( as he puts it ) outsmart his brain and make the daily battles with parkinson’s a little bit easier, to give him that all important reason to get up on the morning, to make his life worth living. Andy has learned how to say NO to gving up \ NO to depression and apathy \ NO to following willingly the road of decline that stretches before him. he learned that to say no to all of these things all one has to do is say yes. Andy has learned to just say YES to life/\\