Random Thoughts: Is Today Your VIOLINDEPENDENCE Day?

[Note 1: This is not intended to be a political commentary. ‘Nuf said?]

[Note 2:  I had to “shout” the title because lower case L and upper case I look the same when written in a normal tone of voice. Heh.)

Imagine what might have happened had our Founding Fathers had given up on July 3, 1776.   “I say, dear Mr. Jefferson, ’tis not worth the effort to complaine against the Crowne.  Let us be content therewith, take leave of Philadelphia and return to our families.”   hey had high expectations, high enough that the last line of the text of the Declaration of Independence states that they were, as a group, willing to pledge their lives, fortunes and honor.

No one is asking the Violin Students of the Universe to lay down their lives or fortunes for the violin.  But I wonder sometimes if the concept of honor — having high expectations and upholding them without regard to personal consequences — has become so foreign, so antiquated, to our modern sensibilities (both socially and politically) that its demise has irreparably damaged our system.  The Founding Fathers were not willing (thankfully!) to stop at “good enough”.  Should we expect any less of ourselves today as citizens, parents, musicians and humans?

In keeping with my penchant for making lists, here’s another list of random thoughts based on the following quotes.  As you read and think about them, notice that all three are simply different slants on the same basic idea:  honor.

“Ten thousand times breeds ability.” Shinichi Suzuki

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” John Wooden

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein

My Random Thoughts:

  • New pieces are not an indicator of ability.
  • Ignoring a problem with technique or intonation will not make it go away.
  • There is no magical solution. The closest thing to magic is learning to hear yourself as your teacher hears you.
  • “Are you insane?” is a legitimate question for a violin teacher to ask.  With a smile and a wink, of course.
  • One hundred times builds a habit.  One thousand times builds security.  Ten thousand times builds ability.  This process can make you either an excellent violinist or an excellent mistake-maker.  You get to choose which path to follow.
  • A mistake means you’re one step closer to getting it right.
  • Mistakes become normal if allowed to go unchecked and uncorrected.
  • Mistakes are tools for developing excellence.
  • What do you expect from yourself?
  • Do you expect to sound good?
  • Do you like how you sound?
  • Do you expect yourself to play in tune?
  • Do you sound better than you did a year ago? Six months ago?
  • Are your expectations at least as high as your teacher’s?


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