If you’re seeking to create positive change in your violin playing, it’s almost certain you’ll feel discomfort during that process.
Want to improve your tone? Making changes in your bow hold or adding vibrato will certainly feel awkward in the short term. Hoping to play better in tune? Your developing pitch acuity will make you crazy until things settle in.
It’s feels better to simply learn a new tune, or jam with some friends.
Usually, when we’re ready to improve our technique, we think, “this is going to help me move ahead, and create more opportunities. I’m excited about it.”
That’s all well and good, but what’s a lot more difficult (and also more helpful) is to say all of the above plus, “and this is going to make me uncomfortable.”
By the end of 2016 a lot of unexpected things became clear about my violin playing. This was surprising, since I’m certainly not a newcomer to playing (and teaching) the violin.
Here are a few of the more useful surprises:
Are you kicking yourself for a lack of progress? Frustrated about all the wasted time, the lost opportunities and the negativity around playing the violin? Shouldn’t violin really be something wonderful and beautiful in your life?
Please, please learn from my mistakes! You can cut out the drudgery and replace the suffering with your own truly beautiful violin practice. You can move ahead in your playing as you move ahead in your life. That’s the idea behind InvincibleViolinist.com.
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Here’s to your most-beautiful-yet violin journey in 2017!
The Alpert Studio of Voice and Violin
Many teachers and families use games and activities to spur on the music practice cycle in their kids. If this works for you, great. But take heed:
Games, stickers and similar activities only motivate the student as far as the game itself. They won’t in themselves make students care about the music or the violin. Then, when the novelty of the game wears off, what is left?
On the other hand, when a kid really cares about music and the violin, meaningful progress will occur, even with a beat up instrument and uneven family support.
For older students and adults, it’s much the same. Your deep passion for the work will carry you through the inevitable bumps and dips.
Inspire, don’t entertain. It’s not your job to amuse those kids with an endless parade of practice bribes. So prepare to go deeper into the music as a family. Here are some suggestions:
Too busy or not interested in doing the above? Then you’ll get poor results at best. Be prepared for “I’m bored,” or “I don’t like violin lessons.” Novelty wears off quickly.
Seriously. If you don’t care, why should your kids?
My bottom line, speaking as a teacher to a student or to a family: “If you don’t care; I can’t help you.”
Don’t resist, instead embrace those days. They’re not a bad thing. Actually they are a good thing.
Now you can erase all your assumptions and once again approach your instrument with a sense of excitement, discovery and curiosity.
Isn’t this the place where your best work happens?
If you’re plagued by stage fright consider this: the performance isn’t about you; you only think it is.
When you realize that instead, it’s about the music, the composer and continual process of mastering your instrument, your thoughts will gravitate away from your insecurities and ego. And toward being prepared more deeply, far more deeply.
Are you afraid of the stage? Or are you afraid of really doing the work?