Printer-friendly version
Mendy Smith

For the Love of Music!

February 14, 2013 at 4:29 AM

Lessons were becoming a source of frustration for awhile as I struggled to understand, internalize and execute some basic musical concepts. No matter how hard I tried or how much I practiced, I wasn't making any progress. In fact I was losing ground. The progress I made in intonation and rhythm over the past few years was deteriorating at the speed of water going down a drain. It was time for change. I dropped Schubert and picked up York Bowen. Within a few weeks, my musical life took a turn for the better.

I finally let my inner violist come out of the closet. I love classical music, but not just any classical music. Specifically I love modern/romantic classical music.

I'm not certain why it is, but this very narrow era of music resonates with me. I understand where the phrases are coming from and heading towards. I understand where the changes of "moods" occur. I understand it musically at a very intuitive level. Instead of spinning my wheels trying to put disparate pieces of technique and theory together in hopes of making something musical of it, often with disastrous effects, everything is now clicking into place. I am discovering the freedom that comes with this understanding. The freedom of being able to focus my practice efforts honing specific techniques, putting together a complete musical "package", and not being a slave to endless repetitions technical studies with no purpose.

For the love of music, why did it have to take 30 years to figure this one out?

Better late than never to realize my true musical love.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on February 14, 2013 at 4:14 PM
I think that people underestimate the frustration caused by having to learn a piece you don't particularly like or "get." When you're a kid you are expected to just slog through whatever your teacher assigns you.

And I understand that there is some merit in that approach: a student's not liking a piece may be just due to ignorance, and he or she might grow into it as they get to know it better. But for advanced adult amateurs, that's one of the pleasures of being an advanced adult amateur: you can really play what you love. There's nothing better than that!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on February 14, 2013 at 7:11 PM
I know what you mean...

I recently inscribed myself in a group because everyone told me "there's nothing like group playing" and I wanted to try this experience. I took a classical orchestra that was a good one with fun people in it.

I received the scores... notes and notes and notes, very fast and challenging. It was nice altogether but practicing just a part was not very nice and not fun (to be honnest). I am use to solo peices with nice melodies and beeing a sound/music lover, that is what always motivated me to get up and practice... In addition, it took all my violin time, so I would have had to give up my other student concerts that I love very much.

After two days of beeing unhappy and unsatisfied with the practicing of the orchestra rep., feeling like a robot and though I would become crazy. I had to admit to myself that it was not that type of music that I enjoyed practicing. I love to hear orchestras and the social aspect of meeting musical friends but the practicing was getting on my nerves very much.

I had to quit before the first rehearshal... They are an amazing group and everything. I love to go to their concerts! I felt bad but I am much more happy everyday practicing some music that sounds like music in the practice room.

Next time, I'll consider this before inscribing in a group.

But you're right. As amateurs, we have a word to tell in what we want to practice. We need studies and scales to become better but for the repertoire, it's more fun to practice something we love very much... to stay motivated in our wonderful instrument!

Good luck Mendy and better realize things 30 years after than never! Some do not realize this and quit...


From Terez Mertes
Posted on February 14, 2013 at 8:37 PM
Very cool blog, Mendy, and I'm very happy for you.

Karen and Anne-Marie, I enjoyed your responses, as well.

From marjory lange
Posted on February 15, 2013 at 2:48 AM
You're right. There are certain periods/composers/styles that are natural for each of us.

I've learned, too, that as I get more experienced, my taste has expanded to embrace eras I 'had no time for' when younger.

It's a rich, wonder-full, delight-full world out there if we let it be.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Metronaut Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine