Monday 30 May 2016

A Violinist's Dream

A professional violinist was excited because he remembered a dream. He said that is a rarity for him; he doesn’t usually remember anything upon awakening in the morning. Here it is:

The violinist’s dream
I am arriving at Vassar College. I am walking down a manicured, gently sloping lawn to the auditorium where I know I will be performing in the orchestra for a commencement service. I am not sure if I am on time. I am holding a borrowed violin bow which I will use to play. But I don’t have a violin, yet. I find my seat which is one of the auditorium seats—the typical kind that you fold down and which are fixed in place. All the rest of the violinists are in the row in front of me, but there is no room for me there. The seats are narrow, and there is not even enough room for me to sit straight. I wonder how I will be able to play, especially if I have a music stand. The conductor is on stage and is talking. He is using big words and making literary references, so I know I am at an elite institution of higher learning.

Initial overview
Even before we delve into the details, there are one or two themes which stand out. The first is the idea of a graduation ceremony. It implies a celebration to honor the completion of something. We won’t know exactly what is being celebrated until we do more analyzing.

The second theme is one that suggests a lack of readiness to participate. The player doesn’t have a violin, and even the bow in his possession is borrowed. Already we can see a setup for conflict. But unlike many dreams where the conflict is a warning about some destructive life direction or counterproductive decision, this dream seems to suggest that there is something congratulatory in store for the dreamer if he can prepare himself for it adequately.

Isolating the dream symbols
But this is all conjecture—possible directions to look in, and possible ideas to explore. We won’t really know what the dream is about until we go through the various steps of the interpretation process.

The first of those steps is to pick the symbols out of the dream as it is stated in the italicized paragraph above. A good way to approach this is to pretend that you are listening to someone tell you the dream out loud. Then start writing down all the important words as if you were taking dictation. You would probably have a list that looks something like this:  arriving, Vassar College, walking, manicured, gently sloping lawn, auditorium, performing, orchestra, commencement, on time (?), borrowed bow, no violin, auditorium seat, fold down, behind other violinists, no room, narrow seats, can’t sit straight, how can I play, music stand, conductor, on stage, talking, big words, literary references, elite institution.

On Wednesday, we’ll explore each of those words for their metaphoric meanings.

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