Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Learning Curve...

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Life has changed.  It is calm.  There are some speed bumps now and then, but for this small moment, my little life is calm.  I am captivated by the struggle of learning  to play the violin ~ of learning to make music.  It absorbs me in the way that yoga absorbs and releases tension.  In fact without the music, yoga would not be used. It all calms the mind.  I wonder that 60+ year old fingers can still develop muscle memory and find their way to C# and so on.  That the 60+ is capable of knowing when a note is flat. I had no idea that I was capable of hearing the difference between between notes.   Slowly bits of a phrase begin to sound like a part of a whole.  The 60+ year old eye practices engaging with the brain to remember notes on flash cards.  I, who have found every excuse in the book to avoid yoga as a middle class fad and yet another form of proselytizing, find that some stretches are helping an old learner build strength in a bowing arm and assist in clearing a over-busy brain to settle and focus.  I would never have imagined that I would look forward to practicing an instrument.  Sometimes I record my practices.  The first recordings were painful to the ear. In fact my Lab would RUN to the back room the moment violin noise began to fill the living room.  He hid there until practice ended.  Now this music is less scratchy.   The dog plays with is toys in the same room during the practice.  While these notes are indeed still scratchy, there is an improvement.  That is that is an amazing relief. :-)  Progress!   And the progress is a simple joy!  Although the goal is to learn Celtic and Country fiddling, I hear more in all violin music now and I wonder at the beauty and mystery of different instruments.   When visiting the music store to browse through sheet music, I sometimes listen to the hallway outside the practice studios.  I listen to children and adults struggle with the learning of the language of music.  This business of being human and our ancient connection to music is fills me with awe.  What led us to that first note?

There are struggles behind the calm.  My work environment is pressured.  The struggles of the economy with its threaten as well as actual health care cut and the shortage of experienced nurses interested in working in long term care collide to make for a tense and unsettled stew.  In this arena one can only try to do one's best.  But for now, at least, when I come home, a rented violin awaits me.  It is a magic carpet and transports me to someplace peaceful.  Governments, health care  execs and staff can be put aside for a moment while an old gal learns.