When we were getting ready to leave Mexico in May, I remember telling Michael that I was dreaming about being able to spend the summer playing my fiddle --- practicing, taking lessons, playing with friends.
More than a month later, I'm just putting down the project list and picking up the fiddle.
I've been playing music every other Friday night at a friend in Watkin's Glen. You never know who will show up, or what instrument they'll be playing but it's always fun and they're quite inclusive of all us newbies who are starting to play music late in life.
And I've played the violin a few times with cousin Brett and brother David, both professional caliber musicians, as we play some evenings by the campfire.
In early June I headed up to the top of the actual Glen --- of Watkins Glen fame --- for the Old-Time Fiddler's Gathering, with jams facilitated by the Valley Folk Music group. We were huddled under a big tent while thunderous rains rolled over the park, then cleared to a beautiful afternoon. Some excellent musicians were there and I learned some new tunes and made some local contacts.
In the second half of the video I've posted, the guy I was sitting next to (a great fiddler!) had just played with Jay Unger on his radio program the week before. Impressive! And I met Hope Grietzer, who gave us some quick pointers on how to add a little more fun to a tune. Hope has one of the best instruction books that I've found, including three CDs of songs. It has a great selection and it's really well organized. Practice has gotten a lot more interesting and fun.
When I'm struggling with the violin, I really question why I decided to pick up this difficult an instrument. But my spirit soars when I get to play music with friends. So I guess that's as good enough reason as any to keep practicing.
I've got a great network here in the Finger Lakes in New York. And there are a couple of groups that play together weekly in Sacramento, so I'm covered there. But I still haven't figured out who I'll play with in Mexico. I just don't have that mariachi thing down yet....
Here's a video from the Glen.