Monday, May 17, 2010
Sometimes moving forward isn't always comfortable. It means going outside of that box that we've gotten so comfortable in. To get somewhere new it often requires us to stretch ourselves, and put ourselves in a situation that isn't always comfortable. For years I've struggled with playing in tune and getting a good sound out of my violin. While teachers have pointed out what was wrong, they didn't always explain how to fix it. So, I did what i thought was right. Instead of playing in tune I focused more on making sure my hand was in the right spot and comfortable and then tried to get everything in tune. The more I work with my current teacher, the more I discover I was wrong. In all fairness to my past teachers, many of them came from teachers who expected them to figure things out on their own. They teach the same way they were taught. Things have changed a great deal not only in violin playing, but also teaching in the last 20 years. There have been many times when I have felt slightly dumb for saying that I don't know something. I have two music degrees and there are basic techniques that I struggle with. And then something just clicked...
A couple of weeks ago I had an audition. In the two weeks leading up to the audition I was starting to get "it." It's not about being comfortable all of the time. It's about doing things right and really focusing on doing them right every time. So, I'm a bit sore at the moment, but you wouldn't believe the sound coming out of my violin. My teacher says I had my "break through" moment. I wasn't even sure how to respond to all of the nice things he said about my violin playing. The majority of my lessons through college were the exact opposite. At one point I was almost in tears after being told that my sound was beautiful. Then he told me it would feel uncomfortable and to go memorize my piece. Sure no big woop. It's only 14 pages long... I'm not a great memorizer, but if I can figure out how to make a beautiful sound, then darn it I'm going to figure out how to memorize this piece (for the record I LOVE the piece!!).
It's been four days of being a little sore (I need to relax more) and uncomfortable (goodbye old box), but I think I'm going into my next lesson with an even better sound, and 1 page memorized. Maybe he'll ask for the other piece... :-)