When I was a kid, two of my sisters took piano lessons for a few years. They'd play a song or two whenever my parents threw a party, and all the guests would applaud politely. I was to suffer a much crueler fate. The violin.
For seven years, and against my will, I took violin lessons. When the kids at school found out, I took a lot of teasing from just about everyone except my friend Danny. He played the accordion.
In addition to hating the instrument, I was terrible. A violin is no easy instrument to play. One mistake and it sounds like nails being dragged across a chalkboard. My parents knew. I was rarely asked to play for my father's guests, unless he was really loaded.
The funny thing is that, once my parents stopped forcing me to take lessons, I began to love it. As a high school student, I even played in a Moravian College orchestra. I still was lousy, but I was a "second" violinist, and we're supposed to be bad. I eventually drifted off into other things, but to this day, I remain very fond of the violin and its very few masters.
One of them is VCU Senior Eric Stanley. He posted a Youtube video of what he calls a "violin cover" in January, and it has taken off. He has since posted more of them, and is getting invitations to perform. Instead of hitting notes precisely and mechanically, he plays with a passion and an obvious love for his music, and his violin rewards both him and the rest of us.
I wanted to share his interpretation of an Eminem tune with you, and hope you are as moved as I was.