Jennifer woke up early with a start. The train whistle sounding in her ears was very loud and she also kept hearing a clickety, clack sound. It was a nice rhythm, but it bothered her. She had never heard it before. Then she realized that she was moving. “WHERE WAS SHE?” she thought. “WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
She was scared! Slowly she opened her eyes and looked around. She saw that she was actually on a train, in the baggage car. Then she remembered that she was being sent to a famous music school in the eastern part of the country where the best musicians went to study. She was proud that she was chosen to be the violin sent to that school. She began to relax and enjoy the rhythm of the train wheels on the track.
The Junction Musical Instrument Factory quite often would take some of their finest instruments and send them to a school like that to be tested. They were especially likely to do this if there was something different or unusual about the instrument. After Jennifer had taken up residence in the violin that day, it had been considered one of the finest instruments ever made in recent times. It was even compared to a famous violin made in the past. Therefore, the Junction Musical Instrument Factory wanted this violin tested and tried and heard by musicians at one of the most famous schools in the country, so they sent it on a trial basis for approval. They hoped the school would like it and order more of that model. Of course, what they didn’t realize was that there was only one Jennifer and she was what made the violin special.
The train was slowing down! “WE’RE HERE!” Jennifer thought. “WE’RE ALREADY IN THE CITY WHERE THE SCHOOL IS LOCATED.” She was so excited. How she longed to get out of the case that was protecting her on the ride and be able to look around and to smell the air in this new city. “HOW MUCH FUN IT WILL BE,” she thought, “TO BE GOING TO A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE MAKE MUSIC ALL DAY LONG AND PART OF THE NIGHT TOO.” She would have every chance to express herself through the many different musicians who would try the violin out.
She was taken out of the baggage car, loaded on a cart and taken inside the station where it was very noisy. She could hear people walking all around her and calling to each other. She heard the trains being announced as they arrived and departed and began to get scared again. Maybe she wasn’t where she was supposed to be yet. Maybe she had to get on another train and continue her journey. It sure was hard not knowing what was going on!
“Hey Marcel,” Susan said. “Let’s get her off the cart.”
“Yeah and we need to wipe the dirt off of her,” Marcel answered.
After wiping her off, they went over to some chairs, sat down and opened the case. This was Jennifer’s first view and smell of her future home and she liked what she saw. She also liked the man and woman who were looking at her to be sure she hadn’t been damaged on the trip.
“I guess everything’s okay,” said Susan. “We’d better hurry and get back to school. I can’t wait try her out.”
She closed the case as Marcel went over to the counter to sign the papers. Soon they were in a car on their way to the school. When they arrived at the school they took the violin to the practice room, opened it up and tuned it.
“Gee, it really isn’t very far out of tune,” Susan said as she began to play the violin.
Jennifer was very glad to at last be fulfilling her purpose of making beautiful music. The tones that came out of her were absolutely heavenly.
“Hey, it’s my turn now,” said Marcel.
The violin responded the same way to his playing. It sounded so beautiful they were amazed. Other students and teachers going by in the hall heard the sound of the violin and came into the room to listen to the gorgeous music.
“What kind of violin is that?” asked Ben.
“Can I play it?” Donna asked.
Finally, after several others had taken a turn playing the violin, Marcel and Susan put it back in the case, but they were so excited they forgot to put the bow in with it. They also left the lid of the case open so the violin would become used to the temperature inside the room.
Later that same day while Jennifer was taking a nap, she was awakened by the sound of an argument. Two other violins in the room were fighting over her bow that had been accidentally left out of the case.
“Give me that!” Aaron yelled.
“No, it’s mine! I saw it first!” Peter cried as he pulled the bow out of Aaron’s hand.
“It’s a magic bow,” Peter said.
“I know it’s a magic bow,” answered Aaron. “That’s why I want it. Give it here!”
These two violins had been in the room when everyone was playing the new violin and they thought that the secret of the beautiful music coming out of it was due to the bow. Now they were fighting bitterly over it.
They each wanted it because they thought it would make them sound better. They were older and had been used for many years by students who couldn’t play well and didn’t know how to care for an instrument. Because of this they were afraid that the school was going to ship them off to the old violin’s home where they would never be used for making music again.
Jennifer watched as the fight became more intense. Finally she couldn’t stand it any longer. She went over to where the fight was going on and took the bow from Aaron and Peter.
She broke the bow in many pieces, divided the pieces into two piles and gave one pile to each of other two violins.
“There, now you can share the bow,” she said. The other violins looked at her inamazement. They couldn’t believe what she had done to the “magic” bow.
Jennifer said, “Now you two might as well be friends again because there’s nothing left to fight over any more. Isn’t it better to have a good friend and no “magic” bow, than to have no friend and no “magic” bow either? It isn’t the bow that makes the better sounds. It’s nothing used on the outside of the violin that makes it beautiful. The beauty comes from what is inside the violin”
Aaron and Peter were curious as to how she knew so much. Jennifer proceeded to tell them the story of the great organ, ALL which fascinated them.
She explained to them that the violins were very important to the total sound that ALL would have been able to make if lightning hadn’t hit him. She also told them about the VibraKids, the shattered parts of ALL’S mind. They immediately wanted to know how they could attract one of the VibraKids.
Jennifer said, “You guys were too quick to fight each other over what you think is a “magic” bow. You need to know that things used on the outside of the violin like the bow might make some difference, but not a big difference in the quality of sound. In order to improve your sound the work you need to do will have to be done on the inside. You will have to change the way you think about things and the way you treat other instruments instead of fighting with them.”
She also told them they would have to set goals for themselves. A certain amount of work on the body of their instruments would help. For instance a new finish would seal up any cracks in the wood that might be present and a new bridge to hold up the strings would also help.
“Your sound could also be helped by new strings and tuning pegs. But the best thing you can do will be to work on your attitudes of jealousy and one-upmanship. You both have a bad habit of always trying to be better than others; also you think you know more than thenext guy.”
When Marcel and Susan came into the practice room the next day, they couldn’t understand how the bow they had left lying on a table had been broken up.
“It was probably just vandalism by some of the younger students,” said Marcel.
“Maybe some visitors did it,” responded Susan. “Let’s go to the storeroom and get another bow so we can practice again on the new violin.”
The violin still made the same mellow, smooth tones that it had before. When Aaron and Peter who had been fighting over the bow heard them practicing they were amazed. They really had thought it was the bow that had made the “magical” sounds. By the demonstration of her “voice” (tonal quality), they knew now that everything Jennifer had told them was true. They were ready to listen and believe her when she talked about the great organ ALL. She told them of the potential he had and would have again for making beautiful harmony all within himself.
Peter and Aaron worked and worked on getting along with all the other violins. They even told a lot of the others about their new goal, which was to have a VibraKid take up residence in them so they could someday be a part of the great, glorious organ ALL.
Jennifer was always an example for the other violins who wanted to get the beautiful tones that she was capable of. The violin section of the school orchestra began to have a much better sound to it than the other sections. The conductor mentioned this several times to the rest of the group, daring them to improve themselves as much as the violin section had. Of course the violins had some help because Jennifer had made Marcel and Susan realize that the other instruments needed to be kept in as good a shape as possible. After Aaron and Peter, the two violins that had been fighting, had been all fixed up and made like new, they did have VibraKids enter them. By this time their attitudes had improved and they had raised their vibration enough that the Kids could reside in them.
When the school held its spring concert, these two violins, Aaron and Peter, were featured in a violin trio along with Jennifer. The audience was amazed at the absolutely beautiful sound the trio made. They played unaccompanied by any other instruments because there were no others who could blend with these three. These three had a heavenly sound to them. In contrast, there was always a totally different sound from the other instruments. The three soloists received a standing ovation and had to play an encore.
The teachers and students from other music schools in the area went backstage after the concert. They wanted to ask the conductor where these instruments had come from. He told them that Jennifer had been built by the Junction Musical Instrument Factory and that they had also fixed up the other two violins.
The sweet harmony of the violin section of the college orchestra began to win prizes and soon became famous throughout the musical world, as also did the Junction Musical Instrument Factory.
More and more of the violins learned about ALL. They started digging into their background; into the history of how violins came into being and they learned about the most famous violin itself, the Stradivarius. They debated a lot about what the secret of it’s powerful, but beautiful, mellow tones had been. Had it indeed been the finish that was used on it, as some people thought? Was it the aging of the wood it was made of or, perhaps, its shape, or the shape of its sound holes? Was the secret in the strings themselves?
Actually, it was all of these things and more. Jennifer, of course, knew the answer all along. She just waited for the others to figure it out for themselves. They finally came to realize that it was the spirit of the violin, the thoughts of the violin that allowed the beautiful voice to come out of that instrument. It was a beautiful coming together of all parts that made up the Stradivarius that enabled it to express such beauty.