The article first appeared in the Jakarta Post, 2 June 2014.
There is more to string instruments than just classical pieces. To those who regularly frequent Suropati Park on typical Sundays, Johann Sebastian Bach or Beethoven are just symbols of aspiration on their foreheads.
It is their minds that give inspirations to a variety of compositions which come from the modification of folk songs or those songs from their childhood, short and memorable ones.
On Sunday morning, kids attended an open course at the park. They formed a group of musical ensemble playing some children songs, conducted by their teacher.
A perfect place to share his knowledge after he could tolerate the traffic noise around the park, the teacher presented a unique mixture of public loudness and a well-orchestrated string ensemble that could reach the entire block.
After repeated pauses for corrections, they could finally carry out a short piece correctly into a harmony.
Play it solo
As the simple tunes from amateur ensemble constituted by young learners still echoed, solo violists across the park staged their own shows for unattentive visitors, and mostly, for themselves only. One of them, sitting under lush trees, showed his skill in playing American-style country song. Although the people around him did not seem to pay attention, his play was a head-turning one.
It showed that the casually-dressed violist has what it takes to play such fast tune, rapid and accurate fingers, excellent memory and improvisation. Apparently he spent his holiday quite seriously.
Across him, another person impressed a visitor who listened with a certain degree of joy a long composition of his. Its melody seemed to be resemble that of Javanese traditional music. At the other corner, a man showed his friend how to make pop songs applicable to violin play.