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Callum and his violin

Callum and his violinCallum, who is 6 (now almost 7), has been taking weekly violin lessons since last fall with some music teachers who give lessons out of their home in Mt. Pleasant. He’s been practicing (nearly) every day, and seems to really enjoy playing the instrument – not only that, but he’s getting quite good at it – he’s not a pro by any means, but his practice has been paying off. His note reading has been improving, and he’s been learning a lot about music theory.

Callum's songthe other day Callum was completing a writing assignment in his notebook – as part of his schooling we often give him a set of words to write about, and he’ll write a story about the words, or describe them, or something similar. At any rate, on this day he was writing, and started to hum to himself, and ended up composing a little song. He wrote the song from his head on his writing paper – not by using the actual notes (A, B, C#, D, E, F# etc), but by indicating how many fingers to put down on each string of the violin – so A1 is the first finger down on the A string, A2 is the first two fingers, etc. You can see the song he wrote in this picture.

when I got home from work Callum got out his violin and played the song he’d composed for me. It wasn’t the Magic Flute, of course, but I must admit I was pretty impressed, mostly at the fact that he had the gumption to go ahead and think up a song and write it down. When he asked Yvonne if it was okay that he included that as a part of his writing assignment, she said “of course!” – and I agree, I wholeheartedly encourage this sort of experimentation. I think it is a great sign – and if he keeps it up, his skills and creativity in this area will certainly improve.

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yesterday I left work a bit early to head downtown to the Gaillard Auditorium, where the Charleston Symphony Orchestra was rehearsing for this evening’s performance. A friend of mine, and a fellow Sigma Chi, is one of the directors of the symphony and, knowing my interest in violin, invited me to check out a rehearsal. I found myself a seat in the very middle of the auditorium, somewhat in front of the balcony, sat back, and watched the whole thing. For a while I was the only person in the entire audience, watching the full Symphony play their performance, just for me! Well, mostly for David Stahl, the Music Director and Conductor, who was leading them through the rehearsal, but I was there too. At any rate, it was incredible.

one of the pieces played yesterday afternoon was the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, with the Charleston Symphony’s Concertmaster, Yuriy Bekker, on lead violin. This guy put on a heck of a performance, with such amazing speed and grace with his violin (a 19th century French instrument by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume) that any sort of sound I could make come from such an instrument would sound like chickens scratching on a tin fence in comparison. Pretty daunting!

at any rate, it was a great experience to be the only guy in the audience to hear such a masterful piece of work, and not something I’ll soon forget.

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16. Jan, 2010
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last night myself and a friend from work went to see LFO, one of the pioneering techno bands of the early 90s, and DJ Rob Hall, a DJ from the SKAM label, at the Temple Bar Music Centre.

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05. Nov, 2006