How many times have you had someone tell you,"I could never do that; I don't have enough patience." ? It is probably meant to be a complement, but I think it's a tragic confession.
The other day I narrowed the definition of an artist to one word: patience. Not many Americans seem to have it. All artists *must* possess it. Yes, music is an art and a musician is an artist, too. I don't claim to have a talent, but I do claim to have determination and patience. If you want to get good at something, it usually takes time, hours of practice, and LOTS of patience (that is, for most of us). Some people tell me they get bored practicing the same thing over and over. I see it as an opportunity, another chance, and a privilege to be able to pick up my violin and 'play it again'. It fills me with excitement. Nothing can so lift me when I'm down as playing my violin. I can let all those pent-up feelings, whatever they may be, out through those strings and let the goodness of my music flow back in. It is so refreshing. Everyday I look forward to practicing an hour or hopefully more! and it is always hard to skip one day. Even just one.
But just think what the average person could do if they just had a little patience!
It was just last year a couple weeks from Christmas that one of my newest violin student's mom called me and said she wanted to get her daughter a violin for Christmas. She was wondering if I would help her. Sure! There are a lot of beginner's violins out there...! We looked though quite a few but she really wanted to get one from Ebay. I didn't think it was such a good idea. Finally she thought she had her mind made up and it seemed like a good choice. We had planned that it would be shipped to my home so it had no chance of being discovered before time. A day later she called me up and announced that she had changed her mind and, with some last minute bidding she had a $100 4/4 violin on its way! I wasn't sure what to expect, but I already had some misgivings. When it arrived, the package was alright, but looking at the instrument I pulled out of the beat up case, I was a bit disappointed. This violin had no chin rest and no bow. And, it felt strange. It just felt different. I went to tune it up and wouldn't you know it- I broke the first string. I couldn't even get close to the E! Now I really didn't know what to think! I hadn't broke a string in a long time and had never had any problem tuning. I went next to cleaning it up. It was pretty dirty. Looking on the inside, I saw it had two tags and then I made my discovery. She'd bought a 3/4 viola! lol. I called her up and we had a good laugh. Now, what to do with it? She wanted me to still try it out and she'd see if her daughter wanted a viola instead. I tried it out and was pleasantly surprised! I loved the feeling of the vibration under my chin and the low notes; it had a very pleasant sound. After playing just a few songs, my right arm was already tired... you try playing a viola with a violin bow and you'll know what I mean! It was enough, though, and I decided that if she didn't want it, I'd buy it from her. Christmas came and went and my student still wanted a violin. So this is how I ended up with a viola. I love playing it and have found it so much easier (for me) to play than the violin. That is, after I got a viola bow and a new chin rest. But playing is a different thing than reading alto clef... If I didn't love my violin so very much, I would be a violist today!
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