If there is anything I would claim I’m good at its playing the Double bass. I have been a bass player for the past 6 years of my life and have loved every minute of it. I am no Beethoven but I have played one of his symphonies and I have two amazing teachers to thank for that. I would constantly want to give in and stop trying because the music was too difficult for me at times but my musical advisors also pushed me through the rough patches. In a small way, I almost feel as if my music comes naturally to me and that’s why I always stuck with it. When I tried, it wasn’t as difficult as other subjects you learn in school.
It all started in 7th grade, middle school. Both of my siblings had been in the music program at the middle school before, so once I got there the music teacher knew about it. My siblings had been in band but I never felt too drawn to it. But the first two weeks of middle school were hell because of this avid class I had and I wanted nothing more than to find a way out of it without messing up the rest of my schedule. That’s when I ran into the music teacher Mr.Webb outside of his classroom and he instantly recognized me. “Maria! Come over here please, I noticed you’re not in my beginner’s band class, why’s that?” I was completely taken off guard even though I saw this question coming in the back of my head. I told him that I wasn’t all too interested in brass instruments they were too big and bulky and it just didn’t interest me. Plus, it didn’t fit in my schedule anyways. He dismissed my statement as nonsense and continued to almost interrogate me. He then said something that caught my attention, “music can get you out of any avid classes you have.” And I started thinking, music seems a lot easier and more fun than avid. So, I asked him if there was any way that I could have a music class that was during 2nd period because that was the only way I could switch to one of his classes. He mentioned that his beginning orchestra class was 2nd period, it fit perfectly with my schedule! I didn’t think about it for more than 2 seconds before I accepted the offer. Not even 5 minutes later I was in the scheduling office with him changing over to his class which was the next period.
So, since I was already two weeks late going into the class I had to catch up rather fast. Once I was registered he gave me an excuse note for my 1st period class I was missing and sent me to excuse myself and then come right back. When I walked back into the music room he had 4 instruments laying out for me, the violin which is the smallest, the viola, the cello, and the double bass which was the largest. I was instantly drawn to the cello but upon asking about it he told me I could choose that one but there are already more cello players than cellos. I would either have to bring my own or I wouldn’t get to play every day because all the students had to share. So now I was at a cross roads I either had to choose to play less and not be able to take the instrument home or I could play the violin, the second one I was interested in and have my own to take home and practice as much as I wanted. In all honestly for me the deciding factor was the fact the violin was so light in weight so it would be easy for me to carry around, the convenience won me over. He then proceeded to give me a thirty-minute lecture on the structure of the violin and all the components to it. It was much more interesting than I expected it to be and that’s when the first spark of my passion for music started.
Once 2nd period started and all the other beginner orchestra kids arrived I was paired with the best violinist in class. She was an old friend of mine named Leslie from elementary school so there was no awkwardness to disturb the lessons. He sat us in one of the glass sound-proof practice rooms and told her to teach me whatever way she wished if I was caught up with the class within 2 weeks. So, for those next two weeks we sat in that room together every day as she taught me all the basics of playing the violin. The first step was to memorize the names of the strings on the instrument itself which only took the first day to learn. After that we moved on to the individual notes on the strings. Leslie had me playing the same scale for 4 days straight to make sure I had the notes down. The part that frustrated me the most was the fact that I wasn’t even allowed to touch my bow yet and that was the part I was most excited for. Playing came with such ease to me that I didn’t even have to be in private practice for more than a week and a half. Once I mastered the entry song I was officially a violinist in his orchestra and I’ve continued to love mastering song after song in the years since.
After only a year of playing the violin Mr. Webb approached me with a proposition, he said “Maria you’ve shown extreme growth throughout this past year. Could you do me a huge favor? Now that you’re in advanced orchestra we need more bass players and I feel you have a potential to pick up and learn a new instrument fast. So, will you switch instruments for me?” I looked at him and then looked at the instrument and agreed. Since I was already fluent in the way of the violin picking up the bass was extremely easy. From that day on the double bass has been my instrument of choice, it was the best decision I ever made. Playing the Double bass has been one of the best experiences I’ve had the pleasure of having and I felt it really helped me be more motivated to go to school each day because I got to do something so exciting. I feel all children would benefit from a creative outlet like music programs at public to help them enjoy school a bit more.