Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Wrong, Part 1

You’ve probably heard it said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” Some people even go so far as to qualify that statement with, “doing right the first time.” I think it’s pretty important to always try to do your best, but sometimes things happen and we can’t/don’t wan’t to.  Or, our best just isn’t good enough.   When it comes to playing the violin, I am (again!) indebted to FlyLady for bringing to my attention that “Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong!” (FlyLady is one of my online “mentors”, if you will.)

If you are already a perfect violin player, then you probably don’t need a teacher’s guidance or expertise.  In fact, I probably could use yours! If you’ve been studying for a while and are dissatisfied with your progress or you are totally bumfuzzled and perplexed when it comes to figuring out how to do a practice task or why you’re even bothering to try, then I (or another teacher) might be able to help. Most students fall into this category at one time or another, which is why music teachers stay in business.

As a society, we tend to look down on mistakes. We can’t help it. And not only that, but we rate mistakes in terms of how “bad” they are, and whether or not they were made on purpose. I can’t think of a single person, though, who actually likes to make mistakes, even little ones.  But imagine what a boring world we would live in if no one made mistakes, if everyone was perfect. We would be like gingerbread men, all cut with the same cookie cutter. There would be no need for any of us on this earth because we’re all perfect. Thank goodness we’re not like that. Even the people who are convinced that they make fewer mistakes than others can provide us with examples to look up to (but hopefully not emulate!) The world is full of mistakes that make our lives richer and more fun.Learning to play the violin is a challenge, partly because of the mistakes we make and learn from along the way. Warning: if you’re especially sensitive to the truth, you might want to click on one of your favorites. Now. OK, you’ve been warned. I’m terribly sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but nobody plays perfectly. Just doesn’t happen. Even the world’s top violinists have been quoted in interviews saying they wished they played better. (Hint: they continually get better because they know how to practice.) If no one made mistakes during lessons (or practicing), not only would I be bored stiff with teaching but I would also probably be out of a job, because there would be no need. My life would have much less purpose than it does now. How’s that for irony: a meaningful career built off of other people’s mistakes! But, I suppose, no more ironic than the careers of doctors, lawyers, judges, and home-improvement contractors. (I also realize that just because I see the humorous irony in it, doesn’t mean that anyone else does. So…my apologies if you are a doctor, lawyer, judge, handyman or musician, or married to one!)

Do you need some help? Are you tired of making the same mistakes over (and over and over, ad nauseum?) Do you know someone else who needs help? Mistakes are a fact of life, but a good teacher can show you how to make the violin-related ones work for you.

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