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Jan 29, 2009


Are you musical? Which instrument do you play? There are so many to choose from: piano, flute, vioin, guitar, trumpet, drums and percussion instruments. I could go on and on. It can be fun to play an instrument, especially if you practice enough to become good at it. I started to play the violin last year. There are many pieces of music that I love which have main violin parts. Two of my favorites are Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings. I can lose myself in the music. I take a class once every two weeks. My teacher told me that it is important to practice every day. I try to, and when I do, I can see that I am improving. However, if I go for a week without practicing, my playing certainly does not improve. And if you play the violin badly, it sounds terrible. I suppose it is like all hobbies; you get better and better with practice. The hard work does pay off. My children are taking piano and guitar lessons, and we hope that next year, at Christmas time, we can all play carrols together. Perhaps we could play for my podcast listeners too.

Grammar notes.

 Related vocabulary: woodwind instruments, stringed instruments, percussion instruments, concert, piece of music, composer, to practice (reg. verb), hobby.

Questions: Are you musical? Is she sporty? Are they flexible? Are we ready? Is it necessary?

Future: We hope that next year we can (will be able to) play together. They think that, in three years, they can (will be able to) buy a house.  *Will be able to is grammatically accurate, but 'can' is commonly used.

To go for (time) without: If I go for a week without practicing, my playing sounds terrible. We went for a month without milk. She had gone for several months without paying her bills.


When it comes to being musical, my family is just starting out. My children are signed up to take their first piano and guitar lessons, and I have been playing the violin for only a year. But, I suppose, it is never to late to start, especially if you are willing to put the time and the practice in. The violin is quite a complex instrument. Not only do you have to position your fingers correctly to create the notes, but the bow has to move just right to create the right tone. If you are uptight or badly positioned, it can sound horrendous. So, needless to say, practicing is one of our family's routines. Any time, after the kids come home from school, you can hear sounds of guitar, violin, or mini organ echoing through the house. And, believe me, it often doesn't sound good. Even the dog will move away to another room to get away from the racket. But, it is all good. With practice comes progress; progress leads to skill, and skill should sound good at some point or other. I'm trying to encourage my busy husband to take up an instrument also. He tried the violin when he was in Kindergarten, but after several months, his parents couldn't stand the squeaks and grinds any more, so he was obliged to stop. The poor guy, he could have become a great violinist. Mind you, being a parent myself, I know the value of some ear plugs. At this stage, I think I will be using them quite a lot.

Grammar notes.

Related vocabulary: notes, bow, echo, squeaks, grinds, progress, skill, to stand (to not stand) something, to be willing, ear plugs.

Exs: I can't stand pork. She couldn't stand the noise. My parents can't stand their neighbors (neighbours).

'Racket' = colloquial British for bad noise.