by ECO violinist and frequent blog contributor Anna Rose Welch
Growing up, I was a stubborn child, to say the least, and I very rarely participated in anything. When I was a baby, I spent the majority of my time shrieking into the face of whatever terror-stricken babysitter had the misfortune to be spending the evening with me while my parents were out. (I did stop occasionally to see if my parents had returned. If they hadn’t, the Ring Cycle continued.)
When the time came for pre-school, my mother left me that first day, looking anxiously over her shoulder as the teachers wrestled me to the ground to keep me there. In the following months, I would return home and tell my mother about all the activities we’d done that day — for example, how we’d made clouds out of construction paper and cotton balls. When she’d ask to see my creation, I would admit that I hadn’t made my own; I’d only watched. BUT I had sufficiently learned and would be happy to make her one, if she’d like.
So it must’ve come as quite a shock to her the day that I came home and told her that that my class was going to be putting on a Halloween musical production and that I had volunteered to be the “productor.” My mother tells me she had no idea what I was talking about.
The night of the show, she found out. The teacher sent around a tray of percussion instruments, from which each student — except for (surprise!) myself — selected an instrument. However, I had other plans. I went up to the front of the stage to claim the conductor’s baton from the teacher. In front of this “orchestra” of my peers touting triangles, tambourines, and maracas, I somehow managed to keep time with the music, which, honestly, I don’t remember at all — we’ll just call it Beethoven’s 5th, featuring the musical stylings of a percussion ensemble. The whole auditory experience was probably far from musical for the parents sitting and listening, but regardless, this one shining instance of my willingness to participate planted the seed in my mother’s head that perhaps music was the place for me.
Within a year or two, my mother had me enrolled in Suzuki violin lessons. I haven’t picked up a baton since that evening in preschool — though my mother somehow still believes that I will be a conductor again someday. For now, however, Matthew Kraemer needn’t worry about a coup from my stand in the first or second violin section. I’m just happy wielding a bow.