Hello to my one reader and me,
How did all those days pass so quickly? There are now two weeks to go until the performance. I’m feeling confident but that does not mean that I will be able to play 100% of the notes. We’ve had our sectional rehearsal and I had so much fun playing. I was seated next to someone who tried to help me – e.g. pointed out I had my shoulder rest clipped on the wrong way, put in markings to help me, and didn’t seem too put out by having to sit next to someone who can’t play every note.
Even though I couldn’t play every note at the speed required, nor in tune, I was proud of the fact that I could participate. I still remember how to read music and I am getting better. If I didn’t have to limit my practice (the physio told me to stop when I killed my arms/hands with computer work) and I had picked up the violin a few months earlier, I’d feel more confident. However, it didn’t turn out that way. It was a whim and I’m glad I went through with it.
It’s also helped me re-interpret the behaviour of my teenage/younger self, and why there was no joy to be had when I could play the notes and for hours without injury. It’s because it all came too easily and without effort. I didn’t know that being able to do something after not being able to do it, feels great. Educationists call it, “the zone of proximal development”. I had perhaps only elongated tendrils touching the outer limits of the zone for this activity, but it was satisfying nonetheless.
So I have 16 more days but will have to pace myself.
I also really enjoyed playing next to someone who I could copy/mimic and learn from. In the bars that I could play I thought, hey, all that training was pretty good because I’ve got the technique even though I can’t keep up. That and I felt very privileged to have been able to just decide I wanted to do this and do it.
I am also playing on my own terms in a very supportive environment.
So here are some life lessons from this activity:
- Being mediocre at something can motivate you to practice, disciplined and do better.
- Low-stakes environments produce better results because you’re not crippled by the fear of failure.
- You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
- Music is important. I know you have to sell music these days because everything is a utility that must be quantified, and it’s hard when you’ve got bills to pay to take the time out to play music.
I have a million and one things to do today, but I will have to make some time to practice a few bars so that I can at least look as if I’m playing.
I spent this morning just printing out my thesis draft. There’s so much rewriting to do but it seems manageable now that I’ve printed it all out. I know I’m going to have to just bite the bullet, not work for a semester and finish this. I can apply my research to my work and I’ve enjoyed the process, but unless I focus on writing this up I’m going to feel this weight over me. I’m also going to be quite hellish to live with and that’s not fair on my family. If I lived next door to work, where I do my research and the kid’s school, I could do it, but I don’t.
And just like that, I’ve run out of time!