Human Condition: After a rough start, childhood dream comes true _lowres

 

Ever since I was little I had always dreamed of being a musician. So when I reached the fourth grade, it was an exciting time when my parents gave me the go-ahead to try my hand at music. All I had to do was find the instrument right for me.

As limited as my options were, I’m still not sure what made me settle on the violin. The symphony was not my idea of cool, but I suppose it was better than the clarinet. The important thing was, I was going to be a musician!

My enthusiasm lasted through the first few weeks. We started on the basics and gradually moved up to learning to play easy medleys. At least that was the plan. As for me, I was stuck on the scales.

I would come home and try to make something of my daily lessons, but it was no use. Even getting the simple notes correct was beyond my reach. My desire to learn could not compete with my limited attention span. To be a good musician it took drive, not to mention skills that I did not possess.

I muddled my way through the school year with barely a grasp of the fundamentals of the violin.

When December came, it was time for our annual Christmas pageant. This was the big chance to show the school and our families just what we learned throughout the year. I was standing with the rest of the orchestra, trying to look like I belonged there, when the band director called me to the side. It was not an entirely unexpected or unwelcome interruption. He took my instrument and after a few adjustments I was back with the others ready to wow the crowd.

And when the time came to perform, I didn’t disappoint. With each musical number, I sawed my bow back and forth with the grace and eloquence of a born prodigy.

Afterwards my family showered me with praise for a job well done. The trouble was I hadn’t done anything. The director had removed the rosin from my bow. That is the transparent substance that makes the violin operable. So I had played in silence while everyone around me produced beautiful music.

It was our little secret.

Some time later, he told my mother another instrument would be more to my liking.

And he was right. The next year I tried the trumpet, which turned out to be much more fun to learn and easier to command. And it was with the trumpet that I was finally able to make “cool” sounds as I learned to play current hits as well as marching tunes. I continued to pursue the trumpet until high school, when I found other interests.

But that was OK, because for a few years a dream had come true. I had learned to make music.

— Loyd lives in Baton Rouge

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