July 2009

Personal Hygiene and Invention

July 17, 2009 09:53

Greetings everyone:

I thought this would be a topic people would wonder about.  I was very impressed by a film of Nathan Milstein in which he said, "If you don't understand invention... you might as well quit the violin".  I believe I understood this in a naive way.  But I was curious what other people have found.  I believe it is all about conscience-raising and boredom management (to put it not so nicely).  This was so amusing to me in that I noticed few people on violinist.com talk about hygiene in regards to finger nails.  I actually have a semi-ritual about it and was wondering if others were as neurotic.  Or if you have found some “bizzarities” with other peoples hygiene habits?  

The odd thing is that when I feel my playing is off or I am struggling with a hither too undistinguished problem.  I often fall back on my rituals, so I cut my nails.  And clean down my violin meticulously assuring that I get all the rosin off the strings, placing special attention to all the build-up from below the strings (most of it seems to be on the back of the strings).  This is conscience raising to me and helps me, to some extent, break the “habit”. 

Any humorous ideas or stories that people have heard.  How do you re-invent your playing?  

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Mike F

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