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Shame - Joy

April 8, 2011 at 9:13 PM

 Right now, my violin journey is on cross roads. Plans I had have tumbled down and the passion I had  for my violin has faded away. It´s not easy to face my violin as it is. I prefer to keep it locked away for the time being while I figure things out. There are many things I have to sort through and decisions I have to make.

One of the difficult things about this experience is the sense of shame I have felt. I feel shamed that despite all my hard work and perseverance, my violin playing is still a tough process. I feel shame that I failed the plans I had and have been working on since early fall. I feel shame when I play, because there are so many things wrong with how I handle the instrument. I feel shame because I´m surrounded by brilliant violinists at my conservatory and I´m nowhere near as good as them. I feel shame over everything connected to my violin playing.

Music has always been a huge part of my life and I know it´ll continue to be, no matter what happens. I´ll always play and I´ll always love my violin. But right now, the feeling of shame I have is too much to handle. I was in lesson today and I could barely play, the feeling of shame was so strong. Shame over everything I have been doing as a musician. I need to let go of my violin while I sort through this feeling and figure out my next steps.

I know playing violin is a very rewarding but also intensely difficult journey, filled with highs and lows. Right now I´m at a serious low and it´ll take a while to get back up on my feet and get back the passion I had and the intense joy I got from playing. Right now, all I feel is shame. I´m hoping I´ll be able to sort through this shame and emerge soon, wiser and ready to continue playing, feeling no shame that plans have failed or that things have changed. Only joy, knowing that I have the wonderful blessing of being able to play violin.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on April 8, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Hi, I don't know in which life stage you are?  Probably trying to figure out a career or in beginning of adulthood?  

Anyway, if it's that, I can just understand!!  I am lucky that my passion never failed but many other things have failed...  My plans of becomming a professionnal musician were the biggest failure (tough it was irrealistical to have a good music job in my case)

Well, that was my journey and yours will be different!  I just wanted to tell that many young people pass through a very tough period (anywhere between 16 and 30 yo) 

Perhaps it's just a big violin down and has nothing to do with life stage stress!  (if so sorry for the begining of my post!)

If it's not to become a professionnal musician, one shouldn't compare with others and feel bad. 

Compare for pedagogical purposes, compare to learn...yes  Especially comparing good players together (though do not tell it publically to not get rocks throwned at you...) can be very very instructive.  But comparing yourself directly to them is maybe a ticket to play even worst!!

Good luck!  Hope you find a solution but any option will be the good one... because you know yourself more than anyone thus will surely make your decisions for a reason no?  (even if you don't see that reason now)


From Mendy Smith
Posted on April 9, 2011 at 2:35 AM

One step backwards = one giant leap forwards. 

I see from your profile that you aspire to teach.  Maybe this is the time to reflect on what it takes to teach vs. perform.  The struggles that you are going through are ones every student of the instrument do at one time or another.  Persevere, and you can teach others how to do the same.

From janet griffiths
Posted on April 9, 2011 at 5:39 AM

What are you feeling ashamed about? Lack of tone or poor intonation? Find out what is bothering you.Work on open strings and go back to studies and pieces that you can play in a way which gives you pleasure.When you have found that level it may show you where your stumbling bolck is and you can work up from there.

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