|my new instrument, though I do not yet own one|
Professor Larry Bakman (not his real name; in the event that I mention him again in this blog, I probably will not offer this disclaimer but will instead leave it to the reader to determine [if he or she actually cares,which he or she probably doesn't] that I refer to this professor as Larry Bakman because of his rather obnoxious resemblance to the made-for TV judge Larry Bakman of Hot Bench) seems to have taken exception to a claim I made several weeks ago. Larry Bakman and I met up in early February at a religious observance at which I played the violin. He asked at the time what instruments I play. I listed them as tuba, baritone, trombone just a bit, piano, organ, cello (barely intermediate skill level there), and violin. I could have added other keyboard instruments, as in if you play one, you by virtue of transfer automatically possess basic skills in others, but I didn't want to pour on the self-praise too thickly; I've played organ long enough to have a reasonable mastery of bass foot pedals and of the specific fingering techniques that differ from those required for playing the piano, so it didn't seem disingenuous to differentiate in that regard, but I left off harpsichord, clavichord, and other instruments of that ilk, as well as electronic keyboard. As an afterthought, I added that I technically play viola, as anyone who plays violin also knows how to play viola, though I had at that point never actually touched a viola, much less played one.
Friday morning the professor carried a viola into the auditorium. Just before class was slated to begin, he announced skeptically to the cohort that I had "blazenly professed" the ability to play the viola despite never having played one before. He handed the viola to me with a terse order to play.
I took the viola from him and tuned it to my satisfaction. Larry Bakman accused me of wasting time in tuning the viola ("put up or shut up" were his actual words), but I told him I would not play an out-of-tune viola. Once the viola was tuned to my satisfaction, I played a few tentative scales, then segued to a Handel aria. A proficient violinist really can play the viola. I then asked Larry Bakman if he had any requests. He didn't. A guy in the cohort I nicknamed Raptor Jesus [for no reason other than that I read the name on the Recovery from Mormonism message board and thought it was too great a name not to co-opt, and he was the first person with whom I came into contact after reading the moniker] requested his favorite song, "In the Ghetto." I played through "In the Ghetto" for Raptor Jesus, then handed the viola back to Larry Bakman, muttering "Touche!" to him under the sounds of applause from my cohort mates. I hastily apologized to the class for wasting their time and money on such a pathetic display. If Larry Bakman had the grace to be embarrassed even to the slightest degree, it wasn't discernible.
The only result of consequence to come of the encounter is that I now want to own a viola. They're not terribly expensive. I'll pick one up soon.