「Blank」

No one writes in diaries anymore.

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3. Friday 8th May 2015 - Third Entry

Today was the day of my violin exam.

Though I suppose, rather than my exam, the thing I dreaded most when I woke up this morning, wasn't the prospect of an hour of nerve-wrecking violin playing in front of a grouchy, old examiner and the very large (in my opinion) possibility of failing, but instead the fact that I would have to miss school.

My exam was scheduled to take place in the morning, see, and was located about an hour's drive for where I live so I was unable to attend the first half of my lessons at school. I absolutely hated that. It's not that I'm passionate about school or anything...it's just that not once in my high school life so far have I ever been absent for a day of school. Never. I really didn't want to start now - not after three years and five months of perfect attendance.

At the very least, I managed to survive through the day with only a partial absence - I managed to make it back to school for the final two periods of class, though if not for my insists, my mother would have never bothered driving me all the way back for no more than an hour and a half's worth of education.

But let's move on, shall we?

 

My exam.

Australian Music Examination Board 8th Grade Violin Exam.

 

I would say it went well. The examiner was nice. Even with the absolutely hated aural section I absolutely detest, where I had to sing the bass of a melody, the examiner was kind enough to play the bass part extremely loudly (though even though she did, I still couldn't get it) and played along as I hummed, even though she wasn't supposed to. 

General knowledge wasn't a problem either. I pretty much memorized the entire general knowledge booklet because how else was I to make up for the many other components of the exam I lacked (i.e. everything else)?

Though I was nervous. 

Of course. What's the point in even stating it? The only people who wouldn't be nervous when they're taking an exam where all their 10 years of intense practice and efforts depends on a mere sixty minutes are those child prodigies who are as good as I am at the age of 5. Or, of course, the people who don't even care to begin with. The vain, arrogant people too. But I imagine all people would be nervous, even just a little.

The thing was, though, I was sooo nervous, that my fingers were shaking the entire way through my first piece (Romance in F major by Ludwig van Beethoven) and I couldn't get them to stop. But it was okay! Because with my fingers shaking so much, I didn't have to worry about doing vibrato. It was brilliant! (laughs like a maniac).

 

I suppose it's all out of my hands now. I can only wait patiently and hope for a satisfactory mark. 

 

Still, when school finished and I arrived home, for the first time ever, I did not need to accompany my brother, who still hasn't done his exam, to violin lessons.

I didn't need to give up Friday afternoons anymore. 

I didn't need to sacrifice two hours of my time each day practicing my violin anymore.

Repeating phrases over and over until perfection. Getting angry at myself when I could never do it right.

It was only when I arrived home that I realized all those times were long behind me. Gone, even.

 

For the first time, I felt so incredibly free. The emotion I felt at that time is one that is difficult to describe.

See, Grade 8 is the final grade on the AMEB syllabus.

Of course, there's also AMUS and LMUS, but my parents and I have agreed I will not go beyond 8th Grade.

This was my final exam.

It feels harsh, somehow, to say I am now free from the violin. But I cannot find any better word than that.

 

I have been playing the violin for about ten years now. 

At first, I only ever began because my parents insisted, because my brothers were playing it, and finally, due to the incredibly naive thought of mine: because I thought it looked cool.

There came a time, naturally, where I really did fall in love with the sound of a violin though. It entranced me, and I treasured the fact that I could play such a beautiful instrument. I never listened to pop. It was always Pachelbel's Canon, the Four Seasons, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or another prominent piece that fueled my ears. 

Then, there came a time where I grew to hate the violin.

Perhaps hate is too strong of a word, for I know I could never truly hate the violin. But with the pressure to be the best on me constantly, especially with there always an exam or a concert to prepare for, I found myself disliking practicing. My parents would always nag me to improve, saying that I was wasting their money by not performing to their standards, and I was constantly overshadowed by my talented, overachieving brother who not only excelled in the violin, but could also play the piano.

It wasn't that I hated violin. It was that violin had lost its true meaning for me. I had fun, once. Before the worries about exams and being better. But in those ten years since I first picked up the violin, somehow, something about its charm was lost to me.

I wonder when was the last time I truly enjoyed playing the violin.

 

Somewhere through my journey, violin came to equate to stress.

Now, it feels like all my worries have been blown away.

That's why it feels like there is no word more appropriate to describe how I felt this afternoon than: free.

Today was a special day.

It marked the end of a ten year journey. Or perhaps it's just another checkpoint of that journey, because I know somewhere in my heart that I never plan to stop playing the violin, even if there's no exam to practice for.

What am I saying?

You aren't supposed to play the violin just for the purpose of an exam to begin with. This is precisely where I've failed.

Violins are played for the purpose of blessing people's souls.

I'd forgotten. 

 

And as much as I hated the violin at one point.

I know I will never regret what I've done these past few years.

The presence of the violin itself was a blessing to my life.

 

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