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Eloise Garland

My Eight-Year Journey

January 24, 2011 at 5:25 PM

 This year is my eighth year of me being involved in music of some sort. That's half my life. The thought struck me whilst I was sitting on the bus this morning on the way to school, reading some discussions on on my mobile phone. And in a rather strange way, that thought is scary, provoking both good and bad memories in my mind, but most of all, scary because I realise that half of my life has been dedicated to music. 

  I have decided to write some of my thoughts on my eight year journey so far. I am aware that some people reading this will be thinking 'Eight years is nothing, I've been involved in music twice as long as she's LIVED,' but please have patience - this is the longest (and best) 'journey' I have taken in my life. 

  First and foremost, I must say that when I first started music (through singing in a church choir), the feeling of belonging to a new community, a community of talented and dedicated people, of special people, was overwhelming. I have always had a great sense of being a small part of the bigger picture, and as we all work together, we are doing something fantastic. It is and always has been an utterly overwhelming sense that has made me feel proud and content around other people who are like me, and it makes me ready to learn and be hungry to gain more knowledge. 

  Secondly, when I was young and first starting out, I attempted to write music multiple times. I was always aware that 4/4 time meant 4 crotchet beats in a bar etc. but at my then younger age, when I wasn't as experienced, it was extremely frustrating when my attempts at writing music just failed completely. That resulted in piles of screwed up manuscript on the floor during my frustration and yearning to know how to write music. The day I acquired that skill was the day a whole new world opened up to my eyes. It was brilliant! Composition remains one of my favourite activities and it still makes me feel content when I watch a piece of my own work unfurl on a page in front of me, waiting to be tweaked and improved here and there, and finally, getting to play them. 

  It was an extremely proud moment the day I was accepted into a youth orchestra. I LOVED it! Over the time that I was involved, we played some amazing pieces of all genres, including Holst's 'Mars' from 'The Planets' and a string arranged 'Hey Jude' by the Beatles. It was great fun to go through all of the stress before a concert and then pull off all of our hard work in front of an audience. The feeling of being on stage, knowing that so many eyes are watching you and your friends is scary, but very, very fun! 

  Finally, I have shown myself and everyone around me that I can get through thick and thin. Whatever the problem or challenge, I'll get through it no matter what. Maybe it is dedication and love, or maybe pure stubbornness, but whatever happens I can and will get through it. 

  Looking back on the past eight years has shown me that although to an outsider it would not be the most perfect or easy time, but it has been absolutely perfect for me. And, I'm one to believe that everything that happens shapes who someone is. These positive things listed above don't mean that negative things haven't happened, but what can I say? I have learnt that life isn't all fine and dandy and if I really want to achieve something, I can, no matter what obstacles are put in the way.

  I hope everyone else's musical lives have been as productive as mine. I also hope the next eight years bring even more love and joy to my life than the last. 

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 24, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Hi, that's great!  Congratulations to stick with it!   I agree with many things you told and think we should be introspective (even for amateurs).  



-What did I did up to now (good and bad) 

- where am I now

-where do I want to go with music in the futur (dreams, projects etc) 



Yes, it's scary for many things... : ) and fells so good about some of the numerous memories it brings.  And in the end, it makes our lives full and makes us a better person.  Allows us to do something we choose and not that the society imposed somehow on us! 

Good luck!


From Janis Cortese
Posted on January 24, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I'm more than old enough to be your mom, and this quote:

... frustration and yearning to know how to write music. The day I acquired that skill was the day a whole new world opened up to my eyes. It was brilliant!

is something I can completely relate to, and recently.  I felt like I had been knocked clean off the rails when the click happened.  It completely changed how I looked at everything, not just music.  Everything.

From Tanaeya McCoy
Posted on January 25, 2011 at 5:27 AM

I'm still working on year 4.


From Mendy Smith
Posted on January 25, 2011 at 6:46 AM

You go girl! 

I had a 7 year run in the '70's - '80's then a 20-something year-long break before starting again.  I'm now on my 8th year (2nd round) and having many of the same types of feelings & experience at the age of 40!

BTW - it is passion.  Hold on to it and keep it alive. 

From Lisa Fogler
Posted on January 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I really loved what you wrote. It brought me back to when I was your age. And I would never fault you for the idea that came to you about it being half your life and only being eight years. To me, you are at the beginning of a lifelong voyage. I have been playing the violin for 45 years. I don't know what it's like to not play, nor to live the life of someone who doesn't play the violin. If you could project yourself into the future, I imagine that is what will happen to you too. I don't know what a "normal" (as in someone who doesn't play the violin) person feels. I don't mean that in a snobby way at all. It's just been such a part of my life. I've had a career in high tech, and done plenty of other things in life. But, the violin is the one constant. I can't imagine my life without one in my hands, the feel of it, the odors, the sound of it, the vibrations. I've never not had a violin. I don't even really know how to put it into terms, this relationship I have with this....Piece of wood. You are going to have so much fun, you will have such wonderful experiences. I envy you because I'd like to do it all over again!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 25, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Lisa what a nice post too!  Did you remember your life before the violin?

I started as a late teen and am not that old now (22...) so I certainly can remember very well what is life with "no volin at all". 

I don't know if I will remeber this with as much details when it will make 50 years or so that I play violin...  so mind as well write now what i can remember very well


Differences between life with and with no violin (at least what I experienced...)


With no violin:

I had PLENTY of free time.

I played alot

Went alot outdoors 

Fool around on summer vacations

Had more time for "social"

Was by far LESS disciplined (but never on the crazy way and still quite obedient overall)

Often didn't have anything to do

I didn't know what I missed so I was happy until the highschool period (where some bitches were quite mean with me because I was somehow different... more mature in my thinking than my age group)  That's when I took violin and it was my life saver... 


With Violin:

Found my place and "activity" (fell in love with the instrument)

Felt that I had engaged in my first long term contract of my life (normally we start and end things but not with violin!)  

Always had something to do (so I no longer had any free time and had to reduce everything to make place for this time consuming wodden thing!)

Became way more disciplined (in violin of course but also in all the other things)

Became very reliable (side effect of that discipline.  In 2010, much people promiss things or tell things but their plans never work out.  They forget to do what they told, they change plans last minute etc...  Violin taught me to not do this and curiously, it spred on the rest of my life.  Not telling I'm perfect but it helped a lot.)

Was "immuned" against any pressure on me (either for school or peer pressure etc) because I felt stronger with my violin to assume myself and do what I want (not what society wants me to do...)

Became more confident (not just in music but in my life in general)

Fixed my posture problems (everybody noticed I looked healthier.  Before, I didn't have a straight back even though I had a normal spine but violin fixed all of this.  It balanced the front and back muscles and no physio could have done that!)

Became to depress at school but I never gave up my non musical studies (for survival reasons only) even today   School is soooo boring and suffering compare to violin!

In fact, I started to find many many things "boring" compared with violin.  (I think that's because violin is not just mental, it's also physical so one feels the need to moove and not just do static things)  Unfourtunately, except for sports many things and activities are static and intellectual only in 2010...

Became even more of an alien! (because classical music is not what is most "in style")

The most important thing is that it learned me to be true to myself.  With violin, you can't lie to yourself or pretend to play well.  You must humbly correct your mistakes and try again...  Also, if you try to play something in a way that doesn't match your personality it will show... One can hide for a moment but the true personality of the player (from beginners to pros) will always come back and show in the playing.  (these are all skills that one can make use of in the rest of their lives as well)


In short, my freedom of time droped but it worthed it and I couldn't imagine my life with no violin!

It was a good thing! 


From Lisa Fogler
Posted on January 26, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Anne, many of us can relate to your history!

I do not remember life before the violin since I was 7 when I started and it was 45 years ago. I had plenty of other interests, including two horses whom I rode and took care of 24/7. I also was/am an expert skier and raced. There was always an hour or two every day for the violin. The three things I had to do every day (my own goals) were care for the horses, practice, and do my homework. But, I still had a great social life and did lots of other things (an over achiever for sure). It wasn't mutually exclusive. Being well rounded was just as important as being a violinist. Maybe I would have been a better violinist if I hadn't divided my time as much as I did, but then I wouldn't have been who I am today!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Lisa that's great!  Some people can do it all! 

I am not able to do many things at the same time... I have always been quite exclusive (if I do something, I want to become a specialist and dump almost everything else ; )

But it must be nice to be able to do much things at the same time too!

As you, I love horses and when I'm on vacation and can devote plenty of time to my violin, I do go at a horse farm to do some! 


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