I'm quite the music history buff- always have been. My first inkling as a college student was to explore turning this into a career. So I found a music museum, wrote an impassioned essay, and somehow landed the 12-week internship.
When I got there, I met the curator, a woman named Rhonda. Like me, she had grown up enjoying music and always wanting to know more. Thanks to grants and donors' generosity, she had helped continue the museum's legacy of showcasing what might otherwise be lost to history.
The tradition of the museum had always been to let the interns work in the orchestral wing. My assignment in particular was the string section.
Now I didn't know a whole lot about the string family, but I saw some really fine specimens and decided we could perhaps tell a broader story about the progression of the instruments. And so I began studying.
After about a week of studying, I went to Rhonda and asked if we could do something different here. She was very receptive to the idea and introduced me to her assistant, Dr. Will. His PhD was in history, natch, but he still relished having everyone call him Doctor. It was funny.
Dr. Will helped me learn so much about how the family of instruments developed over time, their overall cultural footprint, etc.
Did you know a fiddle and a violin are the same thing? Did you know the viola family dates back to the 16th C.? Vivaldi wrote 25 cello concertos!
I dazzled visitors with tales of the Stradivarius, Amati and Guarneri families. I noted the increase in neck length over time. I reassured them that despite the name catgut, no cat intestines were used in the creation of these instruments—but it sure might be sheep or goat.
Sadly, 12 weeks goes by quickly when you're having fun, and I got enthusiastic letters of recommendation from Rhonda and Dr. Will, and I do miss them. Hello, you two.
I figured I could waltz (sorry) right in to more museum jobs later, but boy, was I mistaken.
I kept interviewing for the job, but after about the 10th cold shoulder, I had to find out what I was doing wrong. I had done such a good job, after all, right??????
So I fucking called the museum
got the guy who interviewed me on the line—and he wasn't thrilled to even talk to me. But I asked him, sir, why didn't I even get a call back? Weren't my qualifications good?
He said, yes, BUT.......
"...we simply can't hire someone who has exhibited a history of violins."