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My Ears May Never Be The Same


After much hemming and hawing, whining, pissing and moaning (and that’s just on my end) and several phone calls, it was decided.

Ben came home yesterday with his very own (rental) violin. It may not be the cello I was rooting for (because seriously, even after many years of not playing, I could still do it in my sleep), but he is more pleased with himself than I’ve ever seen him.

I suppose it’s fortunate, really, that I have such a background in stringed instruments, because I was able to help him muddle through some of his first assignments, while Daver, the maestro of the violin himself, was able to work somewhere that his eardrums remained intact, and not bleeding into the white carpet.


Oh, don’t get me wrong, maybe I’m still wearing the Bitter Pants because I lost the battle of What Instrument Ben Plays, but I can’t help but wish he’d chosen something a little less, oh I don’t know HIGH PITCHED. A completely unexpected side effect of the squeaking of the the violin strings (E, A, D, G, for those luckily not in the know) is that the dog, who is normally firmly implanted on the couch (I am often able to forget that we have a dog at all, which was, not terribly shockingly, a qualification I had for getting a dog), sleeping through both day and night, only lumbering languidly off when someone goes into the kitchen to make food, howls relentlessly while it is played.

Without knowing it, he’s echoing my sentiments exactly.

It’s just too bad for the both of us, because like it or not, we’re going to have to get used to it.

17 Comments to

“My Ears May Never Be The Same”

  1. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:17 pm Cricket Says:

    Yippee! Strings!

    Around here, they start strings in the 4th grade and J started violin in the fall. We chose that way because we had the violin already, or else it would have been the beloved cello.

    After a few months, things are starting to sound like songs. I’m so proud.

  2. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:21 pm honeywine Says:

    OMG! My sincere condolences. At least Ben has a family music gene! My high school guidance counselor forced his poor children to do it sans gene. Every assembly he trotted those poor kids out. I never knew whether to feel sorry for them or for us. There’s a version of Turkey in the Straw that I still have nightmares about! I can totally relate to Jamie on that episode of Mad About You where her friend’s kid is playing and they don’t want to let the kid know he sucks. The violin is so hard to master.

  3. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:37 pm Chris Says:

    Hey! I played violin (1 year)! I also took piano (5 years) and voice (many, many years). Know what? I still, to this day, cannot read music.

    HOWEVER, my sister insisted on taking clarinet. Yeah, fucker. Try being in the house when a fourth grader is playing A WIND INSTRUMENT. Count your blessings.

  4. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:45 pm Kim Says:

    our 10 year old is on the cello, a beautiful thing. only it was horrid for the first 3 months, they are fast learners, best of luck.

  5. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:51 pm Tony Says:

    Someday my kids will take piano (i hope). Not because its my instrument of choice (close enough, anyway to synthesizer) but because I can get a cheapish digital one thats good enough for a kid ot learn on and has both a volumn control and a headphone jack.

    I tried to take Trumpet Lessons in grade school. I picked it. That was a really smart choice for an asthmatic..

  6. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:33 pm Bree Says:

    I played the violin, and let me tell you… it’s hell for the novice player too. Imagine that horrid sound really really close to your ear, and you’ve got violining.

    I guess you both know that, being virtuosos and such, but still… Ben may very well give it up on his own, and quick. If you happen to have an extra cello on hand when he casts the violin aside, you may just get your wish.

    Where would you keep and extra cello? Good question. But an idea nonetheless!

  7. On January 11th, 2008 at 12:38 pm becky Says:

    I’m assuming that this is the Universe’s way of karmic payback for having to put my parents through something like 12 or 15 years of having to listen to novice players eek their way through “Flight of The Bumblebee.”

    And I have no doubt it sounds equally awful to the player. Ben has a decent ear for music, so I’m sure it hurts like hell for him. I know that last night, when I put the teeny-tiny violin up to my own chin to demonstrate the proper way of holding it, my eyeballs AND ears nearly combusted.

    Sighs. It’s going to be a long 12 years.

  8. On January 11th, 2008 at 2:14 pm Shay Says:

    Well now you can homeschool lmao!
    I was sure I couldn’t homeschool cuz we didn’t play the violin (seemed like a prerequisite from where i stood 8+ years ago).

    it’s not like I didn’t try! I took years of piano. good money went after bad for my ma and pa. I just don’t have the gene…it’s nowhere for me. I wish but alas!

    So all this is to say, despite your and your doggie’s discomfort, I’m jealous. (just a teeny bit anyway!)

  9. On January 11th, 2008 at 2:45 pm Kristin Says:

    At least Ben was able to pick his instrument. We had to pick our instuments in 4th grade and in alphabetical order. My last name ends in W, so I was unable to play anything I wanted to play. Drums? Full. Sax? Full. Flute? Full. By the time I got to choose I was able to pick between french horn, oboe, or clarinet. I chose clarinet. It sucked.

    Public school band is the devil.

  10. On January 11th, 2008 at 2:47 pm becky Says:

    I cannot home school. Period. I would slit my wrists as I am a terrible teacher (despite the amazing love I have for my kiddos) and have the patience of a gnat.

  11. On January 11th, 2008 at 4:23 pm Jenn Says:

    I played violin when I was younger. And the piano. And a couple other instruments. I think it’s safe to say that for the first 6 months or so that I played the violin, my mother was feeling exactly the way you are describing. Minus the dog of course.

  12. On January 11th, 2008 at 4:27 pm Cara Says:

    My eardrums are cowering in sympathy pain. Let’s hope Ben inherited some musical talent from you.

  13. On January 11th, 2008 at 4:41 pm Karen Says:

    The beginnings of the strings are so much more brutal on the ear drum than the winds or percussion. After my eldest brother attempted violin, the rest of were able to choose between piano and flute. I really wanted to try drums, but my parents were somewhat sane and shot me down.

    Good Luck!

  14. On January 11th, 2008 at 5:07 pm Juli Says:

    I fail at playing the tambourine, for fuck’s sake, despite coming from an extremely gifted musical family that includes several orchestra leaders, a couple of rock-n-rollers, the former president of the Chicago Musicians’ Union and a dentist with a baby grand in his office. My husband is as musically ungifted as I am, but somehow we managed to produce a coloratura soprano who can play piano by ear and moonlights in a ska band.

    I laid down the law early on though – no beginner flute or violin in my house. She could learn them if she wished, but not where I could hear her. I love violin, but I’d sooner drive staples into my own forehead than listen to a child – even a child I love! – massacre “Twinkle Twinkle.”

  15. On January 11th, 2008 at 5:36 pm becky Says:

    Ben’s biological father is completely tone deaf, so it’s safe to assume that although I sincerely hope he’s inherited the physicist genes from that family, the musical genes are all my own. Finally, something I can attribute to my family other than ugly feet and extreme flatulence!

  16. On January 11th, 2008 at 6:48 pm Redneck Mommy Says:

    I’m feeling your pain. I so wanted my daughter to play the guitar…instead she chose the freaking french horn.

    Love my life.

    When I was growing up I begged my parents to enroll me in cello lessons (my favorite instrument.) They didn’t want to spring for the rental cost so they decided to enroll me in ukulele lessons.

    SOOO not the same thing.

  17. On January 12th, 2008 at 9:28 am Emily R Says:

    So, here’s my question. Zachary (3 1/2) has always been into the strings. There was a brief guitar phase and a brief violin phase, but he really wants to learn to play the cello. Can you actually teach a child that young (and TINY) the cello? Or does he need to start on the violin?

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