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Karen Allendoerfer

I'd rather be skiing

January 23, 2007 at 12:42 PM

I just came back from a skiing weekend to which I didn't take my instrument. But I thought a lot about music. Skiing is pretty contemplative, at least on the rides up the lift. And when the kids are in their lesson.

I used to be a good skier, and I have fond memories of skiing with my dad as a kid, but as with violin and viola, I took some time off skiing when I had children of my own. First I married a guy who didn't ski, then I was pregnant, then I had a baby, then I was pregnant again, then I had a baby . . . and before I knew it, 10 years had gone by.

So last year my husband agreed to try skiing, and he was really good. I was proud of him. And our daughter took lessons and made progress. So we tried it again this year, and also took our 3-yo son. He had a lesson too, and seemed to like it.

For me the analogy with violin and viola seems to be holding: an extended period of time off doesn't seem to have hurt that much. It's like coming back to an old friend that I never really left. And it's so gratifying to occasionally do something that comes easily, something that I can do without struggle, rather than always pushing and swimming upstream and fighting to do something difficult. There are so few things in life that are like that, that come easily, for me.

I feel like that's important for me as an adult violinist or violist, too. Yes, I will work toward something hard and challenging in the long run. I'm performing in church again in March, hopefully one of my audition pieces. I'll keep struggling. But I also just need to take the time to play things that are comfortable, that I really can play, that feel like skiing down the mountain and enjoying the view.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on January 23, 2007 at 4:38 PM
>I feel like that's important for me as an adult violinist or violist, too. Yes, I will work toward something hard and challenging in the long run. I'm performing in church again in March, hopefully one of my audition pieces. I'll keep struggling. But I also just need to take the time to play things that are comfortable, that I really can play, that feel like skiing down the mountain and enjoying the view.

Well-put, Karen! Sometimes the never-ending struggle and the "beginner" feeling of it all gets a bit much for me. I should go take a ballet class just to remind myself what it feels like to be one of the accomplished ones again. Not that you ever master it, just like on the violin, but the years and years I put into it always kick in. Guess that's why I do the choir thing, as well. But in the end, the thing that fits my daily schedule and life is this irresistable, exasperating fiddle.

Glad you enjoyed your time off.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 24, 2007 at 2:29 AM
I like the part of your blog that Terez quoted, too. I feel the same way. A while ago, Karin Lin wrote that she enjoyed working towards a goal with her violin, but she also felt that it was important to enjoy the journey. That's just the way I feel. Sometimes I wonder whether I should include in my practice log things that I've played for the sheer joy of playing, not for upgrading my skills. The answer is "yes." That is very important.

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