I have resumed playing my violin after years of leaving it in it’s case, leaning against the wall. One of the primary reasons I didn’t play for so long was that I can’t see to read music anymore. I had a cornea transplant that resulted in an injury to my iris, and trying to read the music was just a difficult reminder of that. But at the encouragement of my husband, I have been trying to learn improvisation, playing more of a bluegrass style, which doesn’t require music. It’s hard – I have never played without music – but I think it would be fun to be able to play whenever I want to without setting up a music stand, finding the music, etc. I am also hoping to play during the Dulcimer Festival in July, held in our little town. It’s a festival for acoustic musicians, and attendance is close to 10,000 people. Quite an event for a town with only 1200 people. Workshops run all day for three days, with concerts each evening, and people are very welcoming. I think I would really enjoy participating if I can master enough skill to play without embarrassing myself.

Like most new skills, I think I could have learned to improvise more easily as a child. Although that generalization may not apply here because I was such a perfectionist, and also lacked self-confidence. But learning a new skill at my age is difficult. It’s the anticipation of a skill I haven’t yet mastered that nearly stops me. But once I start to play, I enjoy it. Just holding it in my hands and making the music makes me happy. Pushing myself to explore a new, more personal way of playing is a stretch. But my goal is just to play. I am not keeping track of how much time I spend, and I am trying not to be too critical of the sound I produce. I am trying to simply find the joy in playing, perhaps something I have never allowed myself to do.

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