“Papa” Robert Hill
Interestingly, I had a similar re-start. I’d taken violin when I was in grammar school, but gave it up to start learning guitar. Flash-forward a few lifetimes and I was homeless in Marin County, living out of my van and working in a warehouse to save up for first and last of an apartment. A co-worker invited me to play for a dance troupe performing at the renaissance faire in Novato. The only instrument I had access to was a trashed mandolin. So for one season, I played mandolin. I noticed EVERYONE was playing mandolin except for a few fiddle players. I decided to stand out and I rented-to-own a violin from a local shop for $5 a month (this was in 1991) and help at the store. During my lunch breaks so I wouldn’t bug anyone with the noise, I would sit on the edge of the San Francisco bay and saw away at this thing, trying to learn the English country dance, morris dance, Irish and Scottish dance tunes I’d played on the mandolin. A while later when I was settled, I joined a blues band and a Celtic rock band. I’ve been playing now consistently for 25 years, but I never took any lessons. I learned by ear and by what made sense to do. I’m sure I’ve adopted every single bad habit imaginable. That’s why finding this site is so invaluable to me. I’m really eager to learn how to play this thang right!