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(Soundbite of Regina Carter's "Little Brown Jug")

ED GORDON, host:

Here's a little encouragement for any child trying to learn the violin.

(Soundbite of song "Little Brown Jug")

GORDON: Little Brown Jug is one of the songs that's been resurrected by jazz Violinist Regina Carter on her new CD.

Ms. REGINA CARTER (Jazz Violinist): You know, it's funny, that's one of the first pieces that I learned as a child playing violin in one of my violin books. Brought back some fun memories recording it now.

(Soundbite of song "Little Brown Jug")

GORDON: As you can imagine, Regina Carter plays the song with a little bit more finesse today. She's one of the world's most critically acclaimed jazz violinists. And for any child learning that instrument, Regina serves as a great example of the kind of achievement that's possible.

Regina says during her formative years, she spent hours practicing. But the rewards are great, that is, if you can weather the short period of time when you're called a geek.

(Soundbite of song "Little Brown Jug")

Ms. CARTER: When I first started playing, I was 4. So, you know, at 4, you don't know what's hip or not hip and you don't really care, you know, which is a great thing. But by the time I was in junior high, it was not a hip thing. And certain instruments just got that label.

But, you know, at the time, you know, my mother actually - she just wanted my brothers and I to be exposed to some things that maybe she didn't have the opportunity to be exposed to. And so we all took music lessons. But then, when I was 4, this method - Suzuki was offered in Detroit for the first time, so my mom said, okay, well, it was only for strings and she signed me up.

And I just happened to really love it and take to it and I did well at that. So I just stuck with it. It was just something to do then, you know, but I loved being on stage and performing, even at an early age.

(Soundbite of song from album "I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey")

Ms. CARTER: When kids start that young, like, between the age - like say 2 and maybe 6, they get how to play certain instruments, you know, and they pick things up faster. So I really didn't scratch on the instrument. My brothers, they would tell the truth, because they had to practice in the basement, I didn't - the dog didn't howl when I played, so…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CARTER: We used to laugh because sometimes I'd go to my lessons and my teacher would say you didn't practice this week. And my mother would say, yes, she did, she practiced every day. Now whether she was doing it right or not, I can't tell you, but she did practice.

(Soundbite of song from album "I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey")

Ms. CARTER: But I got a lot of encouragement from not only my family, but the teacher, because she saw that I was gifted. She really encouraged me and pushed. You know, I got to do some TV appearances at a very young age, but I loved the stage. I just loved the applause and getting dressed up. All that went in to being a performer, I really loved it and craved it. I knew like I have to have this, I have to do this, from a pretty early age.

(Soundbite of song from album "I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey")

GORDON: Jazz Violinist Regina Carter. Her new CD is a tribute to her late mother, who got her started on the violin. The disc is called, I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey.

Ms. CARTER: Yeah, and it's fun. You know, you get in the cab and a cab driver sees you with your violin and says, well, young lady, keep practicing. One day, maybe you'll play at Carnegie Hall. And I just say, thank you and keep on going.

(Soundbite of song from album "I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey")

GORDON: That's our program for today. Thanks for joining us. To listen to the show, visit npr.org. And if you'd like to give us a comment, call 202-408-3330. NEWS AND NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

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