Last week we talked about finding the fiddle of your dreams, and this week, we'll talk about bows. (BTW Thanks to V.com member Adam Clifford for the suggestion. I welcome everyone's suggestions for the weekend vote!)
This morning I was talking to someone who was not completely happy with his violin, but as an adult beginner, he's a bit daunted by the idea of looking for one that he likes better.
Yes, I'm going to go there: I'm going to ask you about your devotion to the violin.
I think that James Ehnes said it best: after talking about the incredible amount of time, effort, sweat, money, heartache, possibly even blood...(okay not really) that went into finding the instrument that he found, he said:
"Looking back, there was a lot of time and effort and struggle that went into the process of getting an instrument, but in a way that was the easy part. I mean, the practicing was much harder!"
The practicing was much harder -- those words stuck with me.
It's not easy for anyone. Practicing is the hardest part. Life does not simply set aside two or three hours for practice. It's not easy when you are young, and it's not easy when you are older. There is school, exercise, the basic fact that one must eat and also put bread on the table, there is work of all kinds. And there is procrastination, distractions, children, parties, holidays, falling in love...
But some people find the time, and it usually requires sacrifice: saying "no" to certain things, having discipline. You have to create the habit and then keep it alive.
How are you doing with your practice? How many hours a day are you devoting, these days?
I must confess, I never much liked etudes.
Nor did I dislike them; I just learned them with the same kind of interest I associate with multiplication tables and algebra. Interesting? Certainly, in that left-brained, analytical way. Rewarding, too, when you see the pattern and get it right.
Er. Often times, not so much. But I'm reminded of math again: if you can master your tables, you will be rewarded when you get to higher math. Etude mastery gives you the technical tools to apply when you get to the "real music."
If you had to pick one set of etudes, which are your favorite, and why? Which gave you the best foundation? Which best keep your chops going post-teacher? Which help your students best? Which are simply fun to play? Please share your thoughts on various etudes, which you feel are best, and why.
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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