From a failed Violinist to a unique hands-recorder player

When I was in Hong Kong, I noticed something under my bed. It was my violin. My name was written across the case. Then a flurry of memories came back to me.

BTW It was a waste of money because I wasn’t any good and I gave it up early.

I did not start learning until first year (aged 12 ish) in secondary school. I was still in Hong Kong then, in my “Form 1” at a school in Aberdeen.

School Choir, Trips and First Experience of the Violin

Every student was encouraged to take some extra curriculum activities. I chose to learn the Violin with a few of my school friends. However I had experienced playing the Violin a few years before that. It was while I was in Primary School, I was part of the school choir (yes I was!). It was seen to be a “cool” thing to be included in the choir. There was not many other external activities. To be in the choir, it meant school trips to Competition, Music Concerts and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. It was that trip to the HKAPA where I first got my hand on a Violin.

The building itself was an art on its own. There are number of theatres and practice rooms. While touring inside the building, you could hear and feel the music coming from various musical instruments. We were all sat down inside one of the theatre rooms. Our guide at the academy was showing us a range of musical instruments. She pick me out as a volunteer to demonstrate some of the instrument on display. I picked the Violin. There I was in front of 30 odd0 people, played my first few notes on the Violin.

Violin Class and Teacher

I went to a boys school, and our Violin class was in a group. I think we muck about more than actually learn to play the thing. I am sure that our teacher was more focus on getting us to behave rather than teach us to play the violin.

But I did start to learn and like it. It made me feel more talented and whatever…

Taking the Violin to the UK

I didn’t stop when I came over to the UK. I asked my Hong Kong teacher to source me a violin, it wasn’t a top of the grade but it was expensive enough. I continue my lessons at school but it was becoming *uncool* and a burden. I didn’t really practice, so progress was extremely slow. Even more so in my school at Truro, everyone had to have some after school activities. My housemaster Dr Allen was so kind to arrange me to join the orchestra. I was only Grade 2 or 3 then ie not good enough to play there!!! But I went along, it was an horrifying experience. I didn’t know how to play, all I could do was “Pretend”, I was such a good actor that I didn’t get found out! So there I was playing air violin all that hour, so painful! Of course I never went back for a second time, even though I was sharing a music stand with a lovely girl. (Still have a thing about girls playing the violin, *wink*)

Unique hand-recorder player

In the end, my love of sports has taken over me. It was becoming more and more difficult to pick up the violin. I have no doubt that I will play again. I have no doubt that my violin will be used again, but for the time being it is safely stored under my bed in Hong Kong.

However there is one instrument that I am still practising and playing with, that is my hands-shaped like a bowl-sounded like a recorder thing. I have been playing it for more than 20 years. Never failed me as a party trick, or impress people. When I am brave enough, I will queue up for Britain’s Got Talent. But I think I will youtube it first and blog about it.

The only song I can play is the English National Anthem. Who would want to see/hear that? It beats the violin anyday!

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