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Debra Wade

Finally ! I'm On My Way.

April 2, 2008 at 5:08 PM

I left my lesson last night convinced it was the worst I’d ever had. Rhythm? Intonation? Mozart? Not a clue – I must’ve walked into the wrong place. But later, sometime during a late night re-run of CSI and while indulging in my favorite comfort food – popcorn, my musical perspective started coming back.

It’s been very interesting living in my current musical ‘plane of existence’. One on hand I’m a fairly accomplished symphonic musician and freelance artist, but on the other hand a ‘rank’ beginner. It was just over two months ago that I walked into my first private lesson and was only semi-successful in demonstrating an accurate two octave scale for my teacher. And yes! It was very embarrassing that my initial presentation consisted of a C major scale and selections from the Franck Symphony I was currently working on. That this was what I had to show for 24 years of playing made me cringe.

So late last night (or early this morning) I grabbed my music to figure out if any progress has actually been made…? Was it just two months ago that merely looking at the first page of Flesch caused a knot in my stomach the size of a cantaloupe? There’s no way I can play these Kreutzer etudes that fast! Double-stops? I can’t make more than one finger work at a time.

But one by one, wonderful memories began flooding my mind. Like sailing through my first Kreutzer etude and suddenly getting lost because I realized that “I was doing it – correctly!” Forgetting to watch the music because my eyes were riveted watching my fingers accurately fly around the fingerboard like that. The glow of pleasure when I finally got a “Very Good!” out of my teacher as I muddled my way through my first official double-stops with a fairly decent sound.

Then it hit me – it’s okay that I’m a beginner again. For years, playing my music has been like a house of cards; I had no foundation. For every time I walked out on the stage was akin to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Deep down, I knew I didn’t know what I was doing no matter how good I sounded. The uncertainty of playing like that was horrible.

But now, with 24 years of experience behind me, I can rediscover my violin in a whole new way. Each skill I learn will bring me closer to the musical world between the lines. I will no longer just be playing notes, but I’ll be able to share myself and my passion for this thing called music with any and all who listen. Finally, I’m on my way…

From Tom Holzman
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 7:52 PM
Keep going. The way gets better and better as you go along it.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 9:30 AM
I'm glad you said what you did about being a beginning student again. I sometimes get calls or emails from people who had played the violin years ago and want to restart. They think that one or two lessons are all they'll need. I tell them that we need to work on building a strong foundation first and build on it later. The usual result is that I never hear from them again.
From Ray Randall
Posted on April 4, 2008 at 5:28 PM
The concert violinists and higher up major symphony violinists I know all
say they frequently play very very
basic exercises. Some every day to start practice. They say the very basic exercises keep the base secure that the higher skills are built on. A major CM told me that nothing screws up your intonation and playing abilities like orchestra playing, even at that top level so don't feel bad, you're in the same boat.
My superb teacher says if you find something that you're doing wrong consider it a gift from the Gods, you can now work on fixing it. If you play something well, again be happy, you fixed it for now.

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