God’s Providence Helped Me Tango
I slid into the very hip looking seat among another one hundred or so very hip looking music business students. Directions have always been a challenge for me so finding the right class was sort of a minor miracle my freshman year of college. As the anxiety of finding my class began to dispel, I was still suffering from a bad case of ignorance. I still didn’t fully understand nor want to know what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I didn’t need to because like most high school graduates, I still had a feeling of invincibility.
One of my newly minted friends from freshman orientation walked into the room and our eyes met. He clearly recognized me however, he had already started pledging a Fraternity that I was not interested in and was surrounded by his future Greek life society. He gave me one of those courtesy nods where you bob your head upwards. I think I spoke to him maybe three or four times ever again. He was in this class too.
A girl sat down in the other hip looking seat at my table with a violin case and was frantically studying a music score in the few minutes before our class was to begin. Not being shy, I politely asked her what she was studying. Without looking up, she said that it was a Mozart Violin Concerto and she had a private lesson immediately after our class. Furthermore, she was worried because her teacher had sternly asked her in her last lesson to find an accompanist for today. She hadn’t followed through.
“I play piano.”
“You do? Can you play this?”
I take the score, study it for a few moments.
“Yeah, I can play that.”
“Can you come to my lesson?”
Class then began. Little do I know it, but so did my career.
THIS IS HILARY HAHN PLAYING THE ENTIRE CONCERTO FOR THE POPE! CONDUCTED BY DUDAMEL!!!!!
This was the piece. I sight read through it the best I could at the lesson. The teacher saw something in my playing and became my biggest advocate. I became that violin teacher’s studio accompanist for the next four years. All the sudden I was a music business major that was playing for undergraduate and graduate violin students in the Belmont University School of Music. That one conversation drastically changed my future. Ultimately, I ended up changing majors.
Several years later, it was in this specific violin studio that I met my future wife. We got to know each other in Graduate School and got married in May of 2006. Once I landed my first teaching job, I started having less and less time to play gigs. I had found my passion for teaching and really didn’t have the drive nor organizational skills to maintain a career as an independent contractor. I have a great respect for those that do.
We now have three children. Once our firstborn was old enough to play a violin, we practice something called “family band”. This is where the entire family plays an instrument together. Violin, piano, toy drums, singing, dancing……really you can’t go wrong here. Anything goes.
“3:30 Tango” came out of a family band jam improvisation. When my daughter was learning “Variation A” in the ﬁrst Suzuki book, my wife and I had her try playing the “Mississippi Hot Dog” rhythm on all of the open strings. One night she started to play with conﬁdence regardless of what I was playing on the piano and I fell into the accompaniment you find here. A road map was devised and the final pizzicato chord added. This piece is a great supplement to “Twinkle Theme” as it allows students to play on all the strings and exposes them to a minor tonality in a fun way. The name comes from the fact that the Suzuki violin group class that premiered the work met at 3:30. I have since expanded it into the appropriate clefs and keys for all string instruments.
I am very thankful that I had that conversation about Mozart back when I was a music business student. God most certainly has a plan. Even with my mistakes and bad judgement, His hand has been gently nudging me in the right direction, to meet the right people at just the right time. His beautifully orchestrated masterpiece helped me find my wife, my passion for teaching, and eventually helped me to tango.