June 2013

It's the journey, not the destination.

June 10, 2013 10:19

When asked to quantify where I am in my study of the violin, I invariably categorize myself as a beginner. On hearing that, my teacher corrected me and stated that I was an intermediate student. I disagree. Having just begun the first song in Suzuki book 3, not yet shifting, no vibrato, and still having to go through the mnemonics I learned to remember the written notes back from when I was six years old and playing the piano, I definitely feel as if I have much more to learn before I can play at what I consider the intermediate level.

I know it is a matter of semantics. It doesn’t matter what I call myself because I can only play as well as I do at this moment. If I were to stay frozen at this level of education forever, there are so many more pieces that I would never be able to attempt than the ones that I can. That is why I feel as if I can only say I am a beginner. It doesn’t bother me to be a beginner. Truly it doesn’t. Why that would cause concern in anyone else is a mystery.

Here’s the thing – I don’t know where music is going to take me yet. Very few people at this juncture do. I won’t be able to quit my day job to play professionally. That simply isn’t economically sensible for my situation. And why would I when there are scores of extraordinarily talented young people for whom that is their passion? I think I might like to play in an ensemble someday. For that, I need to be good enough to play the music without dragging down the group. Hopefully I will figure out what “good enough” means when I get there. In the meantime, I will enjoy the journey, regardless of where I am along the way.

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