Ready to play.

Elena Tucker
2 min readOct 8, 2021
Photo by Philip Myrtorp on Unsplash

It was not a pandemic-inspired decision. It was not an impulse. It was just time. I have bought a violin, and will sign up for lessons. I understand that I will not be that good for some time — not in the beginning and not for some time, and while understanding this doesn’t make it easier to accept the screechiness that will inevitably arise, I have made up my mind that I will learn and I will be good — no Itzhak Perlman — but good.

Learning a new musical instrument have been lauded as one of the things that is supremely beneficial for your brain. Benefits include memory retention, better hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Basically, it keeps the brain active and stimulated, something a brain needs to do to keep from deteriorating. Neuroscientists say it is never too late to pick up an instrument. Music instructors also note that it is never too late — which I’m sure is completely altruistic and not at all self-serving.

Of course, instead of taking up the piano where I left off, 35 years ago, I’ve taken up an instrument that will make my hands cramp and my ears ring. Why? Because Sherlock Holmes played the damn violin.

In trying to emulate my hero, learning to play one of the most difficult instruments doesn’t sound so smart — not while staring at this beautiful piece of art. I feel as if I am going to do it a disservice, but there is no way to go around this; I will have to go through a period of terrible sounding notes to get to passable music-like sound, and, eventually and with much practice, good music.

I know that my parents will read this and be surprised. My father always told me that a person shouldn’t play the violin badly, nor even well — a violin is an instrument that demands to be played perfectly. Sorry papa, but I am going to sound like I am killing several cats before I get to even “badly.” But I am willing to suffer, and, after talking to my family, they are as well. This is what happens when one surrounds oneself with support and love. I have been given permission to stink. Bring on “Mary had a little lamb” and “London Bridge is falling down.”

I am ready.

Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.