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Practice and Perfectionism: September

Esther  Tran

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Published: September 24, 2015 at 1:27 AM [UTC]

Lately, I've been gravitating towards re-reading my old practice journals from last semester to find out more about my "ticks" and really expose them to learn more about my progress. After all:

"The position of the artist is humble, he is essentially a channel." -Piet Mondrian

...so I didn't want to repress my fears of what I would learn. A lot of what I wrote in my older practice journals was quite daring and bold enough to make me walk into the practice room with humility- every single time. Among them was that musicians are perfectionists, which is the truth but apparently is damaging in the form of having standards as a purpose instead of goals to direct our practice sessions, the refusal to let ourselves continue ahead, ending up in a loop, obsessing, being in a closed system, never feeling satisfied knowing there is always room for improvement.

The reason why I still have conflicts with what I wrote is because I can't let go of never feeling satisfied knowing there is always room for improvement. In fact, that is the essence of why I'm pursuing violin so fervently and what makes music so desirable to me. Because a musician can never be better than the music, is that not appealing? In the end, it is better to "write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self." -Cyril Connolly.

The journal went on to advise that I must attempt to try to avoid perfectionist tendencies because where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking. Shame is the birth place of perfectionism. Perfectionism is not the same principle as striving to be your best. It derives from a deep fear of failing. Truth be told, when one of the Professors at UNT gave me this resource to look through I was appalled by how evident these words were no matter how I looked at it. It's the reason why I've always admired sharks; they will stop breathing if they stop swimming- the notion of perpetually moving forward…I discovered that I base my worthiness as a violinist on my level of productivity.

While I recognize all of the things I have read, I still want to move forward with my initial thoughts on progress and productivity, but it was intriguing to learn where those initial thoughts came from which helped me move forward.

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