Wednesday, August 22, 2012
20+ years of taking violin lessons, plus the years I’ve taught—hopefully I’ve learned a few things. There are times, though, when I hear myself saying something to a student and think: Did you HEAR that life metaphor? If I could better apply that I’d be some sort of genius at my life! But the middle of a lesson is not quite the right time to ponder things like that, and the moment passes quietly.
I love those moments, though, so I thought I’d put them together into a neat little list, gleaned from all sorts of people and places and situations:
• What you hear under your ear and what you project to your audience are not always the same thing.
• If you want to learn that new technique, you have to be willing to risk failing. A lot.
• All happy, all sad, all exciting, all tranquil, = boring. Tension and release, going to or moving away from—that’s what pulls us in.
• No matter how many times you’ve played it, there is always something new to discover.
• Sometimes you hate a piece and you have to play it anyway. Playing it like you hate it, though, doesn’t really improve the experience for anyone.
• Practice does not make perfect. But striving for perfection will make you better so you make it your goal—and figure out some way to get comfortable with falling short.
• When you add a new skill, expect everything else to fall apart. You will eventually piece it together again and it will all be stronger.
• It’s hard to communicate anything when you haven’t considered what you’re trying to say.
• Learning is messy.
• Learning is often slow. (Those once-in-a-while times when you get to make a breathtaking leap in what you can do are usually proceeded by a long, hard climb.)
Please feel free to add to my list in the comments below. What have you learned?
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