Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Gift of Music, with Barbara Kyle


December marks six years since I took my very first violin lesson. 

An interesting session. It went something like this:


Luckily, my teacher was, and remains, the super-talented and incredibly patient pro violinist, Anna Hughes.

At first, I merely dipped my toe in: I rented a violin. After all, I might hate it or be impossible to teach; in either case, I could just give up.

Wondrously, neither happened. Novice though I was, every time I picked up the violin to practice, I felt a lovely, sweet shiver of connection to centuries of great composers and musicians. 


I was dipping my toe into a mighty river of art. 


So I committed to the learning and the practicing. The rental agreement was basically a lease; after twelve monthly payments, I owned the instrument.


Result? Instant humility. When I arrived for my lessons, the student before me was ten years old; the one after me was seven. And they were really good. (Anna teaches the Suzuki Method which starts students young – often as young as four – on small violins.)


A happy bonus has been my new, deep appreciation of professional violinists. I had always enjoyed their playing - whether virtuosi of classical works, spirited fiddlers of toe-tapping jigs, or cool individualists of jazz - but only by learning each baby step of technique myself have I come to be in awe of their artistry. 


That, in turn, has made concert-going thrilling. I’ve watched enthralling live performances by Itzhak Perlman, Natalie McMaster, Joshua Bell, Luri Lee, Sally Fields, and Timothy Chooi.

And I have come to love the works of brilliant composers who were new to me, like Florence Price. Listen to her String QuartetNo 2. (Note the ravishing second movement.)

So, that funny picture I showed you at the top of this post? That was after my first lessons. Now, six years later, I’m daring to dream like this:



Barbara Kyle is the author of the bestselling Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of acclaimed thrillers. Her latest novel of suspense is The Man from Spirit Creek. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold. Barbara has taught hundreds of writers in her online masterclasses and many have become award-winning authors. Visit Barbara at  




  1. Amazing how persistence, love or passion for the art, and taking baby steps get you from picture one to the final one ... much like writing from the first to the last word.

    1. So true, Debra, re: writing. It's all about embracing the process.

  2. Lovely! I watched the youtube video of Florence Price's composition. What a tribute to a pioneer composer. Inspiring blog. BTW, you're not the only author who loves violin. Check on Incendio, Author Tess Gerritsen's pice on Youtube.

  3. Brava, Barbara! You are the paragon of a lifelong learner. It's never to late, and I can tell those dendrites in your brain are blazing.


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