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How I came to Play Fiddle

Posted by KCFiddles on Friday, August 24, 2007

like this

I have loved the sound of a fiddle all my life, but never seemed to have the time to devote to really learn how to play. Guitar and mandolin were so much easier, and apart from playing in a cover band some when I was a kid, I never spent the time to get more than passing fair, even on a guitar.

After my wife died a few years ago, I spent too much time thinking about what might have been, and the things I would have liked to do with her but put off in favor of work, building a business, etc.  There wasn't much I could do about it since she was already dead, and I had to work hard to restore my business and finances after her long illness.

Then I found out I had a heart valve that was failing, and if I didn't get it fixed, I was going to die pretty soon, myself. The surgery wasn't much of an ordeal, actually, despite the fact that they split you open like a hanging beef.  I was home and taking care of myself in 4 days, but wasn't allowed to even drive a car for several months, and had to close my business, since I was generally a one man shop.  During that time, I had a lot of time to think and read.  I re-read the Bible in several versions, cover to cover, and I read Lewis and Strobel and a whole bunch of old philosophers.   Studied Zen and the Tao, and eventually found some answers that satisfied me.

One of the things I thought about was, "If I died tomorrow, what would I most regret?"  The past can't be changed, but everything from today on can be.  I decided that I wasn't going to wish I had worked harder; I've worked enough for two lifetimes.  I wasn't going to regret not having more money; money's highly overrated.  It has its good points, but once you are warm and well fed, it becomes a luxury, not a necessity.

What I decided I would regret most is failing to contribute more to the people around me, not having more fun, and not making more music.  So I set out to remedy that as best I could.  I haven't quite figured out just how I'm going to do it all yet, but one of the things I have been able to do is to spend time learning to make music the way I always wanted to.

So that's how I came to play the fiddle.  It might seem a sad story, but you never know how much time you have, so it's important to treasure every day, and find love and joy in the moment, not putting it off for the future.  I don't think anybody ever died thinking they loved people too much, or had too much joy, or made too much music. I'm going to try to spend the rest of my time on Earth testing that theory.

12 comments on “How I came to Play Fiddle”

OTJunky Says:
Saturday, August 25, 2007 @10:36:35 AM


Thanks for sharing this very personal story.  Somehow it seems more inspirational than sad....

Anyway, I don't think your current theory going to need much "testing".  It's already impossible to see anything wrong with it.


bsed55 Says:
Sunday, September 2, 2007 @11:31:57 PM

What an inspiration your story is! Think about it this way: How good do you want to get? None of us ever get as good as we want to. The payoff is when you bring a smile to one person's face, brighten one person's day. You don't have to be a Mark O'Connor to do that.

KCFiddles Says:
Monday, September 3, 2007 @8:03:51 PM

Thanks, both of yez.  I learned a lesson late, but not too late to do some good.  I just hope someone else "gets it" sooner rather than later.

As for how good, I just want to be able to play what I hear in my head, and make people smile and dance, including me.

Genevieve Says:
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 @3:45:20 PM

Thanks again for showing us around KC Strings this weekend!! Smith and I both enjoyed it very much.

Talk to you later,

bellawaltz Says:
Thursday, July 17, 2008 @12:57:43 PM

I have really enjoyed reading your blogs.  You are an extremely well rounded person and have had an interesting life!  Hopefully we will run into each other again.

Mandogryl Says:
Friday, August 14, 2009 @4:28:15 PM

I loved your blog entry. I am very late to this site, but early on I have come to respect your knowledge and wisdom.
Thanks to you I was able to adjust and set the action on the bridge of my fiddle.
Good luck with what the future holds, and thank you for many knowledgable posts at the forum.

fiddler59 Says:
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 @9:10:36 AM

I had s similar experience. I suffered a spinal cord injury a few years back and was paralyzed from the neck down for several months. They said that I would most likely never be able to play again. Well they were wrong and god was right. I can play again. My accident really made me change my priorities !! I really enjoy your posts and admire your humility...

David Blackmon

KCFiddles Says:
Friday, October 23, 2009 @10:40:53 AM

That's scary, David! A very difficult prospect to deal with, indeed. I'm glad you persevered, and that you're OK! (If I have any humility at all, it's been earned the hard way.)

DSauls89 Says:
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @6:14:18 PM

My best friend died when we were fifteen. At that point he was an amazing violinist. He'd playing in the Local big city symphony since he was 7 and had been playing since he was 3 or 4. I have always wanted to play fiddle. Before he passed we had both taken up guitar and kept closest through our passion for music, after he passed away i kept at it. other than all of the great memories memories it was really the only way to keep him around. A lot has happened since those days. I've kinda hit the same page as you Woodwiz. Life's too short for not doing all the things you'd always wanted to. I picked up a cheap fiddle a couple weeks ago. Nothing speacial, not really much at all to tell the truth. Mainly to give it a go; see if it was for me. it don't sound too bad. and even through all the screeching and squalling, it brings a big smile to my face. I'm happy I did it. I'm gonna keep doing it. ... But now I've come to realize.... I need to upgrade (laughs)

Happy Fiddling everyone!

fairportfiddler Says:
Saturday, March 3, 2012 @3:21:06 AM

Michael, what an inspiring story! I have Multiple Sclerosis, which luckily hasn't affected my upper body so I can play the fiddle. I too have learned so much from your post and am in the process of doing a neck pull up using your instructions, thank you.

Learner Says:
Monday, May 7, 2012 @12:31:23 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Michael.

I remember a comment that you've made a couple of times here on FOH, that we are just caretakers of our fiddles, as they will eventually be passed on to others. That really helped me the first time that I saw it.

I hope to stop in to visit at KC Strings some day.


jennycat Says:
Saturday, February 16, 2013 @4:22:55 AM

Amen to that. Thank you for passing on this valuable lesson. No one ever regrets not working enough, but regret not spending enough time with family and friends. So true. Live it now.

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