February 2011

"Giving up doesn't always mean that you're weak, sometimes it means you're strong enough to let go"

February 20, 2011 10:52

I hate the word weak, especially when it comes to discussing people and character. I hate it when people are called weak, because of the things they do or the decisions they make. Often weakness has nothing to do with the personal choices we make, like letting things go and giving up. It takes a great deal strength to let go of things. Hence the quote in the title. It´s one of my personal favorites. 

Last Friday I let go. I have been playing De Bériot 9th concerto since November. It´s been a fun piece to study but I´ve never been able to truly  "get it". And I have been working hard, very hard to get it right. After playing for my teacher in my lesson and it sounded like an absolute train wreck. I felt so bad after I had played it, there were so many things that were just so wrong. It seemed that all my hard work had been for nothing. I was in a mild shock afterwards. After having my teacher pointing all the things I needed to fix and looking pretty ruffled I gave up. I told him:"Shouldn´t I just skip this piece and work on Tchaikovsky Canzonetta instead".               I told him I had felt more secure with Tchaikovsky and I had gotten better into that piece that into De Bériot. When playing Bériot I was always worried about messing up and couldn´t enjoy playing it. With Tchaikovsky I really got into the piece. 

My teacher told me it was my decision to make but he agreed with me that I had been more secure when playing Tchaikovsky and I had already performed it two times and performed it during a masterclass. I made the decision there and then. It simply seemed right to let go of Bériot and I did. I hid the sheetmusic in my bag and dug out Tchaikovsky instead. 

And to be honest, I´m glad I let go of Bériot. Some would definitely call it giving up and that I wasn´t pushing myself enough but the truth is I´m pushing myself a lot. Juggling music conservatory, youth orchestra, friends, mentoring, full time university studies I got my hands full. I learned Tchaikovsky in less than two months and got it up to a satisfactory level. I love Tchaikovsky and I play it well. So I´m letting go of Bériot in order to explore Tchaikovsky more deeply and perform it to a higher standard than I did before. 

Giving up doesn't always mean that you're weak, sometimes it means you're strong enough to let go.

And this is the message of the day

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When showing off it isnĀ“t worth it

February 8, 2011 07:13

Throughout my violin career I have been surrounded by all types of violinists, virtuosos, terrible players, snobby violinists, silly violinists and every other type of violinists there is under the planet. I find most violinist I play with to be great people, fun, serious about their playing, dedicated but at the same time relaxed and know how to enjoy music. But occasionally I encounter the type of violinists I like to refer to as "show-off"

I think every violinist knows the type. It´s the person that sits in the front in orchestra, always and hates sitting in the back brags endlessly about the difficulty of the piece they´re playing,  when not playing they sit and scribble endlessly into their notes and appear to be in deep musical thought. and the worst thing; when it´s time for break at rehearsal they sit behind and start practising their notes, really loudly and exuberantly, meanwhile they look over their shoulder with a knowing glance, checking whether people are listening and admiring their amazing violin ability. I´d like to point out that obviously I´m generalizing.

I was once in rehearsal in my youth orchestra and it was break. While most of the musicians stood up, stretched and took the chance to relax and eat, the violin sitting in front in the first violin decided it was time to practise. She sat down, whipped up her violin and started technique exercises. She played really fast and with a loud tone. And of course she started looking around, checking whether people were admiring her. And indeed few of the younger violinists were listening to her shyly. I watched the violinist continue her exuberant playing and then I realized something. Her super flashy technique was in fact a Schradieck exercise, in the 1st position. It´s an exercise I use almost everytime I play and consider it finger bootcamp. It´s a great finger strengthening exercise and good to warm up with but it´s very basic. The flashy, awesome technique the girl wanted everyone to admire her for was in fact a very basic exercise but it sounds really flashy if played fast enough. 

I couldn´t help but laugh when I noticed this. The great show off was in fact a very simple exercise played in a flashy manner. I suppose in that manner we can show offs but I have no interest in that. Showing off just isn´t worth it.

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