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Kelsey Z.

definetly not the opera

September 11, 2006 at 5:23 AM

"Driving is like playing the violin, the more you practice the better you get at it."
"You can't kill people [last time i checked] playing violin though."
That was part of the conversation my Dad and I had when he gave me my first driving lesson in a school parking lot well over a year ago. Today, 15 months after that first lesson I sat behind the wheel of a car for my 4th outing. This year I am going to learn how to drive and get rid of my big, red "L"oser sign that brands me differently from all the other veichles on the road. I want to get rid of the "L" and upgrade from loser to novice with a much prettier "N" sign. At least with the "N" I can drive independently about and be a little bit more "spontaneous" with my plans as opposed to having to worry about organizing my life around the bus or when one of my parents is able to drive. They'll be happy when I get my N. I'll be happy when I get my N. Unfortunately there's a lot of work to do yet to get there. Today I proved that I have a long ways to go to become a competent driver (no, I didn't run into anything, kill any animals or veer off the road or give anyone whiplash) and to be comfortable on my own. So what does driving and violin have to do with one another? Well my argument for them not being alike is that with driving you have to try to not kill someone where as with violin you have to try to kill someone but they both take a lot of practice to do well and to be comfortable with and no matter how much you practice you're never guarenteed that things will go as you want them to or plan them to. With the violin I've played it for so long that I am comfortable with many aspects of it but the longer I play it the more I realize just how uncomfortable I really am in some of these things that I think I'm comfortable with. I've done them so long in a certain way that I've gone into auto-matic pilot and it's not until someone points it out to me that I realize that yeah, I should be paying more attention, I can get more comfortable with that and yeah, at that concert last month something didn't quite work as well as I had hoped because something unforseen jumped into the road in front of me and I couldn't react quickly or effectively enough. The other tricky thing with driving and playing violin is that once you realize something isn't working as effectively as it could, like an addiction, you really have to want to change and work hard to change in order to change what has become natural. For me, the weakest point in my playing for a very long time has been my vibrato. I realized that and recognized that some time ago and I tried to change it but I never really put my heart into it. I'd practice it every day for about a week for maybe 10-15 minutes a day and then it would start to get further apart in days when I would practice it and I'd start to make excuses to myself about how I really was improving when in reality I was just about to turn the corner but chickened out at the last minute and kept on straight ahead because I wasn't comfortable making the right turn. I procrastinated on turning, sticking to the easier route so that I wouldn't have to face scary new obstacles. At least in violin, those obstacles don't typically prove fatal but they are scary none the less and sometimes the frustration level and feeling of burn out can make a person chicken out and go back to the smooth paved, straight roads again. So, I've admitted it. I've had a problem and I know it's been a problem for a long time now but I haven't REALLY tried to fix the problem. Until now. Yes! It's been 3 weeks ladies and gentleman and I've done vibrato for 15-30 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. I've concentrated. I've been committed. I've not let my mind wander. I've been frustrated. I've complained to people. Has it been worth it? Well, you know sometimes it really feels like you are in a bottomless abyss and that no amount of work will fix something. These past three weeks I've also been doing a minimum of 45 minutes a day, more typically an hour a day of just scales and within a few days I already noticed an improvment but with vibrato yesterday was the first day where I could honestly say I noticed a change. Not a big change but a change and a change for the positive! If I do nothing else for the rest of this year it will be vibrato and then scales that dominate and control my day. I will not got to bed each night without having tackled some form of a scale and more importantly that dreaded, dying siren/complaining cat sound that is vibrato. I will triumph and I will gain full control of my left hand and learn how to make the right turn.

And with that, I bid you goodnight.

From bill Pratt
Posted on September 11, 2006 at 11:40 AM
LOL "L"oser.

My violin playing is most definitely more hazardous to live than my driving. I have been nearly maimed by frying pans and tomatoes on numerous occasions;-)

On the other hand driving and playing the violn at the same time is very hazardous.

From Kelsey Z.
Posted on September 11, 2006 at 2:53 PM
What I didn't mention, bill is that after I get rid of my "L"oser sign, the upgrade is only to a "N"erd sign. But an independent nerd is what I'll be!

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