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Learning Surprise


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I have played the violin for a few years strictly on a recreatonal basis.  But a time came when I felt I had to step back and try to decide on how far I've come and what I might expect for the future.  I became my own critic.

Well, I decided that I did not like what I was hearing and the key word was "sloppy".  I've had some successes along the way playing for other people or in a group so I hoped some work on basic techniques would help a lot.


I adopted a policy of "zero defects".  Whenever I hit a snag while playing/practicing a piece, I made it a big deal to understand the problem and work it out during practice.  I may have spent a few practice sessions just focussing on minor details. 


I practically came to a halt from dealing with all my flaws.  By being so fussy I found that I really couldn't play anything anymore!  This went on for several weeks and I seriously wondered if I would ever survive as a violin player?

About the 3rd week I started a usual practice session and somehow, all my issues seemed to come together.  I had definitely hit the "next level" almost like a lightning bolt. 


I know that I have never sounded better but even that leaves me as an "average" player who is now better to listen to.

Actually, I am mostly impressed at what was achieved when I "raised the bar" and stuck to it.


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^^^ what he said! ^^^


Seriously, teachers and (successful) students know that progress does not happen in a straight line, and usually not overnight either.  (In fact I have a cartoon somewhere on my hard drive that exactly illustrates the point, but I have no idea how to display it here for you).

You didn't ask for advice, but just because I'm "one of those kind of guys" I'll give it to you anyway: 

1) Remember that playing a string instrument well is very difficult, and requires years and years of dedicated practice, and

2) Keep in mind that you do it for pleasure.  If it sometimes seems more like work, at least your livelihood doesn't depend on it (and if it did, you wouldn't necessarily enjoy it all the time!)

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I indeed have been a student of "step function" learning back to the time when text books called that "incubation" and that understanding has been almost more important than the violin itself.

My recent progress has only been the result of several learning curves (steps) happening at about the same time.


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