Children, teaching, violins

Yesterday, I got new strings put on my violin. I went to the shop of Paul Wargaski who makes and repairs stringed instruments. My violin had a small crack due to the different materials used to make it not expanding or contracting with temperature change at the same rate. Being in his shop was like being taken back in time- lots of violins hanging from a rack, myriad of mysterious tools laying all over his desk, a miniature flame coming from an strange instrument that looked like it was more than 100 years old.

It’s not a shop you can just walk around in- I had to set up an appointment to see him, and there were other rooms where I assume the business of cutting and treating and whatevering wood is dealt with. It’s weird that this little trip back in time is above a bike shop and by Akira, a trendy clothing store.

I went to a school yesterday where my violin teacher teaches kids the violin. I had dropped my violin off to be restrung with Mr. Wargaski, but he was meeting my violin teacher right after our lesson where I was using a borrowed violin of his. My violin teacher had the idea for us to ride together to the school because it wasn’t far from my house, and I could avoid an unnecessary trip to Mr. Wargaski’s shop.

When I walked into the school, I was overcome by a feeling of peace, happiness and claustrophobia. There’s something comforting in knowing that there is a schedule here, that there will be no running in the halls, that the teachers will speak like all elementary school teachers everywhere since the time I was in elementary school.

“Now, is our violin a toy? Do we throw it on the ground? Who has a little brother or sister? Show of hands. Do we let our little brother or sister play with our violin?”

And yet the happiness that I felt there was due to the fact that I know myself well enough that I will never get a job in a place like that. All the rules and structure that make a safe environment for learning and children make me squirm and loosen my collar and wish for fresh air.

The school seemed pretty diverse, as a reflection of the neighborhood. Awesomely for me, this diversity meant that I could read children’s books in Spanish during the teacher’s class while I waited for my violin.

There’s some cool architecture, or at least cool-to-me doorway arches in that area. I will definitely go back there to take photos. And if I get some good shots off, I will reward myself by getting a pepper and cheese sandwich at the Italian deli/grocery store a block from the school. Sweet.


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