Four Strings and Me
Growing up we all learn things at different times. Sometimes we take interests in things
that some people may not enjoy. At different stages in life we start to learn new things that we
must go through to become adults. But sometimes there are things that can take time and effort in
order for us to learn them and most of the time someone taught us.
Growing up my parents always kept me busy doing something, it was always in school or
something outside of school. All through elementary my parents had me playing a sport or taking
music lessons. I started taking music lesson at age 9 and I started to learn how to play the piano.
At first I didn’t really take it that serious because I thought that it was like a toy that just made
noise. It wasn’t till I noticed that I had to spend a lot of time with my instructor and really learn
how to read the music notes because they did not make any sense to me.
Before I started playing the piano I had only played the recorder in my third grade class. I
remember that the music teacher would come into our classroom and for about an hour she
would teach us little songs to play and she would give us sheet music so we could practice at
home and then be ready for the next time that she came into our classroom. At first I used to take
playing the recorder very seriously because sometimes we would have tests and if we passed we
would get stickers on our sheet music and I thought that was really cool because you would try to
compete with your classmates to see who had more, but then of course it was embarrassing when
you started to play and then messed up. So I would try to always practice when I was home and I
would play my recorder all day it would drive my mom crazy.
Learning how to play the piano was stressful at times because I didn’t know how to move
my hands at the same time while playing different notes. When I started playing the piano I knew
that I was going to have to practice a lot if I wanted to get good at it. I really liked playing the
piano but I never really go t great at it. It was just something different and fun.
Then eventually middle school came along and it was time for a transition. Before I
started middle school we had to go to an orientation and that’s when I went to see my music
class. When middle school started I decided to try out a new instrument but I still didn’t know
what I wanted to play next. I remember I had class with my best friend and we took the class so
we could practice together so we could hangout more.
On the first week of class the teacher gave us a paper to fill out and it was to decide what
instrument we wanted to play. It was an orchestra class and I really didn’t have any idea what
that was, I just knew it was different from a band class. The choices for instruments were violin,
viola, cello, bass. I didn’t really know the difference between them so my music teacher showed
us which one was which and then to write down what we would prefer to learn.
I remember that my best friend put viola and I decided to try the violin. When we first
started to play I didn’t know what to do, I had never held a violin. But my teacher taught us step
by step and she told us how to hold it and place it. When we first started to play we didn’t use the
bow we only plucked the string and for the first month all of our music was just with the rhythm
because we didn’t know many notes yet. When we got out first pieces of sheet music with actual
notes on them I noticed that they were different to the ones I had seen when I played piano.
When my teacher started to teach us how to play music with a bow I remember that I
hated it at first. I used to get really frustrated because I couldn’t get it right and I was losing my
patience. When I would play the violin my bow would go crooked and off to the side my teacher
Mrs.Wood would say “Alma stop going crooked. Just pull straight down”. My teacher was very
helpful when it came to learning how to play the violin properly. She told me I just needed to
practice more and that I could come to the after school practices and that I would be able to work
with the advance kids so I would eventually get better. I had to work really hard and I remember
I would practice every single day because I just wanted to be able to play good. As time went on
I realized that I really liked playing the violin and I asked my parents if they could buy me my
own. My parents didn’t buy me my own violin till the second year of violin lesson. I would
practice all the time and I would ask my teacher for extra music and I would always be early to
practice. When it came to rehearsals I was like an alarm clock, I was always on time. Every time
there was a spot for a solo I tried out.
As time went on I focused more and more on my violin lessons so I asked my parents if I
could take private lessons, my parents said yes but that I had to make sure that’s what I wanted.
So I asked my teacher to recommend me to a good private lesson teacher and I started going. As
time went on I got really good and got to go on many trips with my middle school orchestra and
it was really fun. Middle school was coming to an end and my music teacher gave us a talk on
how we should continue playing an instrument.
When I was applying to magnets high schools my first choice was LVA because they
focused on performing arts. I applied and I went to my audition and I got in. I remember I told
my teacher and she was very happy because she said I was going to be able to grow as a
musician there and that I was going to learn a lot.
Before I went to LVA I heard that my music teacher from middle school was
going to transfer to the local high school I was zoned for. After that I didn’t really want to go to
LVA anymore because I just really liked the way she taught and I had learned so much from her.
So when it was time to start high school I just went to the one that was closest to my house and I
just kept playing in the orchestra with my same teacher. I really enjoyed playing the violin but
after a while I decided to try the rest of the instruments and slowly my teacher helped me learn
I had to move to California towards the end of my junior year and I was really upset
because I didn’t want to stop taking music lessons. My teacher Mrs.wood had taught me so much
not just how to play. She taught me how to not be shy and just to do want made me happy she
was a very good motivator and she always pushed me to do my best. After we moved to
California things just weren’t the same anymore and I took lessons for a little while but then I
decided to stop. But I will always remember how I everything started when I wanted to learn
how to play the violin and it’s something that I am very proud of because it took me a very long
time to get at it.