Alvaro Soltero

On my fifth birthday my sister came home with a violin. That was how it all started. This is how I came to know Martin Goldman. This is how I came to know the violin.

At first, I hated it. I didn’t like going to class and I didn’t like playing. I would hide under my bed so my mom wouldn’t find me when it was time to practice, among other things. If it weren’t for my mother’s persistence and my teacher’s easygoing manner, I would have dropped out a long time ago. Today I thank my mother and Martin that I didn’t.

My teacher and my violin have opened countless doors for me, educationally, and even socially. To put it plainly, the violin rules in every possible way. With the violin you can cry without tears, and jump without ever leaving the ground. The violin kills boredom; I still count to see how fast I can put my dog to sleep. Sometimes I pick up and play an old piece just out of the satisfaction I get when hearing my neighbors applauding, or smelling the smoke of the man who smokes cigars outside his house hearing me play. The violin is also an awesome social tool. Girls like it. Mothers love it. You want to win over your girlfriend’s mom, learn to play the violin, and prepare an encore piece (note: also works with teachers). All this without mentioning how well it looks on a résumé. Thanks to the violin I feel comfortable in situations where my friends freeze, I feel no stage fright and no fear to express myself. It’s also an interesting topic to talk about when you meet someone new.

But the best part is playing. So many times have I walked along the hallways of the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and just bump into some friend of mine who carries some random sheet music. We find an empty classroom and start playing. Before you know it, you have cramped up eight people in little room playing and having a good time.

11 years later, the violin has become a part of me; it is how I identify myself. For this I thank my sister, my mother, and Martin Goldman, my teacher.