Violin Class

The Music Master

My first encounter with my growing sexuality was in music class alongside the rest of Form 4.

A long drawn out note on my violin, perfectly formed for the first time in almost eight years of lessons had the unexpected effect of causing me to experience a tidal wave that started in my belly and travelled round my body until it hit the bit between my legs. My gasp was audible, evidenced by the fact that the rest of the class turned round and stared at me; I could feel the heat rising in my face as well as a flush spreading across the front of my chest.

Mumbling an excuse I fled, carrying my violin as close to my heart as I could without it piercing my skin. I never wanted to let it go again, it was my passport to a possibility I wanted to experience again.

That night, as I sat in my room preparing for an evening of scales and exam music, I wondered if I’d be able to recreate the magic moment; one I realised had changed me, but into what I wasn’t sure. I waited until the house was clear of nosy brothers and irritating sisters before trying again.

Standing up, I lifted the violin to my neck and bowed a single, perfect C. The note resonated with my inner tuning fork and snaked its way down my spine until hit the sweet spot. I sighed and opened my legs a little wider this time.

This time I tried an A sharp but the effect was less pronounced. Slowly I worked my way through the scales, testing each note until I found the ones that made my body sing the strongest. Teasing and testing myself until I was spent.

My music lessons became an exercise in both self control and abandonment, in many ways my playing became worse as I tried to hide the effects it could have on my body; in others the passion was evident as soon as anyone saw me lift the violin out of its case. Such was the case with Mr Smithson.

He joined the school at the beginning of my fifth year. Old by teenagers’ standards, with a look that spoke of dire consequences for those who misbehaved on his shift, he eschewed the favoured slacks, shirt and tie of most male teachers in favour of jeans and black polo neck jumpers stretched across muscles sculpted as if by Michelangelo. Smelling of sweat, smoke and Habit Rouge – a fragrance my father used on the rare nights he went out – he was a creature not of the type to which we were used

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  1. I think many of us had the same experience in music – and in my case most of my other lessons too. I think the most common comment I got was ‘Linda must learn to curb her daydreaming and pay attention’.

  2. I’m envious – years of playing the violin, nothing other than the repeated comment in year end report – “Gillian must use more bow”!
    The exclamation mark is mine, not dear Mr Joseph’s.

  3. I think lots of us missed out with our music lessons .. 🙂 And thanks for the advice too – I hope I’ll avoid as many as possible in this first draft, but cliches are such a strong element of our language, I’m sure to fall into their trap along the way.

  4. A really intriguing start! I was clearly doing something wrong with my violin playing though…this could go places and be much classier than the Grey books!!! Just watch out for cliches in the writing, would be my tip.

  5. It does happen – I remember something similar from my own schooldays – I don’t think they got married but certainly every student knew they were seeing each other 🙂

  6. This is a place that is so mysterious and unknown to men, and especially young men.

    I recall the most beautiful girl in school, I would have been 15 and she 17 or 18 – a world of difference except that I was invisible and she shone like a celestial being. That year there was a young male student teacher – early 20’s dashing, immensely popular – and when she turned 18 and graduated, she married him. That was a scandal, and now 40 years later I wonder how they fared – maybe not so well – but what passion they must have kindled

  7. Well! I am glad Dave wasn’t in your class!!!

    I’m pretty sure my first experience was wearing tight jeans on a train to Brighton. It might have been London or Guildford even, but the tight jeans and train ride is definite. It really doesn’t sound anyway near as poetic as your encounter.