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Rue

When have you 'arrived'?

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I just read a little bio from a poster...who called himself an 'adult beginner' and his two children an '11-year old pianist' and a '9-year old violinist'.

 

Which has me wondering about labels again (if labels matter...and if they don't...don't worry about it! :D).  This is just taking the discussion a bit further than the poll I posted last week...

 

I tell people I play the violin...but I'm not a violinist.  My daughter has her Grade 10 RCM piano...but she's not what I'd consider a pianist.  In both instances - neither one of us is what I consider fluent enough, at a high-enough level, to qualify.

 

I don't know that children as young as 9 or 11, no matter how talented...have arrived either ...

 

So?  What exactly are we all? :blink:

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One of those questions that may never be answered to everyone's agreement.  Kinda fun to contemplate, though.

If I do a little plumbing, I would not call myself a plumber unless that is how I make my living.  But I don't see the same standard used for playing musical instruments.  I don't see anything wrong with that.  A kid that can barely play, or a happy amateur, can call himself a violinist.  

Years ago I used to qualify myself this way:  "I am a professional, classical violinist."  That seemed to be complete and accurate enough.  If I said less, it led to "chit-chat":  "Oh, do you play professionally?"  Or, "Can you play 'Orange Blossom Special'?"

One thing I learned—which maybe "Skiing Fiddler" can attest to:  Never get on the longest ski lift and answer your fellow rider's question, "What do you do?" by telling that you are a violinist!!!  NEVER!  Otherwise, immediately you'll have to hear about his brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, concubine, Dr., lawyer, or next door neighbor playing the guitar, writing songs, meeting Elvis; or be asked if you like Jethro Tull's latest.  Or that HE USED TO PLAY the violin, viola, trombone, didgeridoo.  If you're lucky, he'll say, "Hey man, I can barely play the radio, how 'bout them Giants?!"  A ride up the slopes can be delightful or hell.   :)

 

 

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IMO you never really 'arrive' at anything, you are always a student. There is this well known Heifetz quote: "There is no top. There are always further heights to reach."

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There's always going to be someone 'better' than you out there - that's a given, even they are only better than you in one area...so I agree that there are always further heights to reach...

 

...but at some point we should have enough expertise/experience under our belt to have arrived, no?

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On 10/5/2014 at 6:12 AM, vathek said:

IMO you never really 'arrive' at anything, you are always a student. There is this well known Heifetz quote: "There is no top. There are always further heights to reach."

I think Rue was using "arrive" to answer a more limited question: When can you say you are a violinist?  

But how right you are!  One of my best teachers, Manuel Compinsky, used to say, "Being an artist is to never be satisfied."  I can never think of a time when I was perfectly content with ANYTHING regarding my profession.  Perfection, for me, has always been a mirage in the distance, and it never gets closer than the horizon.  Some people deal with this better than others, IMO. 

I've always thought that the worst position for our well-being is when we are too hard on ourselves for not being perfect.  "Arrival" as it applies to our personal goals of technical and artistic perfection presents a problem, IMO.  Maybe needing to feel we "have arrived" is a detriment to our beings, but is it not built into the human?  Do we have a choice?  Since we can never really fulfill that need, dealing with it might be a worthwhile ability to develop.

Certainly a person getting a check for playing is a violinist; certainly someone performing before any level of audience is a violinist.  But maybe a better, more healthy attitude for a player who is not yet past third position would be:  "Some day, I'm GOING TO BE a violinist."  

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There's always going to someone 'better' than you out there - that's a given, even they are only better than you in one area...so I agree that there are always further heights to reach...

 

...but at some point we should have enough expertise/experience under our belt to have arrived, no?

When your work is sufficiently esteemed and rewarded that "they" come to you, and you can afford to be picky about which offers you accept, I'd say that you've probably arrived. 

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Well...I don't know about that.  Our quartet has had a couple of 'job' offers...and we're not very good, lol.

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I've been far happier with my playing since I stopped thinking in terms of "arriving". We will all spend our entire musical lives at whatever standard we are currently at. So the thing to do is to get as much pleasure and satisfaction out of that as you can, right now, and simply stop worrying about whether you have "arrived" or whether you will "arrive".

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I've been far happier with my playing since I stopped thinking in terms of "arriving". We will all spend our entire musical lives at whatever standard we are currently at. So the thing to do is to get as much pleasure and satisfaction out of that as you can, right now, and simply stop worrying about whether you have "arrived" or whether you will "arrive".

I agree with this totally - I just wish I could do it!

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...but then there's the difference between being happy with where you're at (and that's perfectly fine)...but striving to improve (even if you never get 'there')...

 

I suppose if you're totally happy with where you are at...you've 'arrived' from a personal point of view...but maybe not from a general 'outside' point of view. (Geez...I hate when my vocabulary deserts me :angry:)...

 

I'm not contradicting myself...just fishing for opinions! :D

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...but then there's the difference between being happy with where you're at (and that's perfectly fine)...but striving to improve (even if you never get 'there')...

 

 

Because I am happy with where I am at I enjoy my playing much more and want to do it more, and because of that I find I am improving without striving.

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Because I am happy with where I am at I enjoy my playing much more and want to do it more, and because of that I find I am improving without striving.

 

Totally agree. In my case "happy with where I'm at" doesn't mean "satisfied, no need to go any further" but more like "ok with where I am in the process".

With that said, I might feel I'd "arrived" if the thought of an audition no longer struck terror into my heart... :)

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It might be that there are two types of "arrival."  arrival and ARRIVAL.  The latter is the one probably very few feel they have achieved.  And even if they do, with the violin daily work is STILL required just for maintenance, if nothing else.  That's quite different from arriving at a state which would remain permanent, even without maintenance:  such as a Zen enlightenment, or being an ex-President.

I remember going to "All-State Orchestra" the last two years in high school:

The first year, I was on the 12th stand of a 16-stand 1st violin section.  For the seating, in front of everyone, we played and played until the judges decided our order in the section.  I thought the chosen first 6 violinists played PERFECTLY.  I didn't use the term "arrive," but I thought how content I would be if I could play like them.

The next year, with the help of a new teacher and lots of practice, I ended up as assistant concertmaster, passing 3 violinists who had been in that top 6 the year before. I could not understand how this could be,  because I KNEW I didn't play perfectly.  In a way it certainly was a major achievement, yet I still felt like I was totally inadequate, still a "bumpkin out of left field."  The "arrival" was felt in a very fleeting joy which lasted only a few days.  

But it certainly WAS an "arrival." So was getting into a major orchestra later on.  These arrivals with a "little a" are wonderful and keep us going.  In fact, I think they are more important than the big ARRIVAL.  But once achieved, they never seem satisfactory enough, so I suspect ARRVAL might not be enough, either.  On the violin, I'll never find out. 

On Maestronet, I keep hoping for an ARRIVAL, where I start a thread and every last poster agrees with me 100%!!!  That will be the day!   :)  

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I like your post, Will!

 

I think I "arrived" the day it became about the music and not about me. That's a pretty big deal.

 

I had played in pro groups in high school, including our symphony (So Cal). But my "arrival" was, at age 17, being hired to play in Bach's B Minor Mass with a first-rate chorus, conductor, and orchestra. The music was beyond anything I could have imagined, and it resonated within me after I left rehearsal and for the next several years--maybe my whole life. I am still humming the "Agnus Dei."

 

It seemed like the first time in my life that I was not thinking about myself as separate from the music or the ensemble or even the era whence the music came.--A truly organic experience.

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I know this thread is older but didn't want to start a new one.

I was lectured to the other day (non-violin)...by someone younger than me and with less experience - in an area I am knowledgeable in. They weren't "wrong" - but they weren't quite correct either.

They were very confident and not open to be corrected (even in a nice way).

What do you guys do in this instance? Just don't bother?

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12 minutes ago, Rue said:

I know this thread is older but didn't want to start a new one.

I was lectured to the other day (non-violin)...by someone younger than me and with less experience - in an area I am knowledgeable in. They weren't "wrong" - but they weren't quite correct either.

They were very confident and not open to be corrected (even in a nice way).

What do you guys do in this instance? Just don't bother?

You can not add to a cup that is already full. In both of my previous careers young people coming into the field were certain they knew what was right. If they were lucky it only took them a couple years to realize how little they actually know, despite being highly educated. I am not knocking formal education, I am saying I believe it is a normal part of maturing is to learn that we are not as experienced as people with more experience - sounds silly when you put that way doesn't it? 

So, to cut a long answer short, I would smile and unless they were jeopardizing my project, I would ask them if they were sure, and leave it at that. Luckily, in Software development we had periodic design reviews and normally by the end of a particularly intense review of their work they would start to realize they didn't know as much as they thought they knew.
 

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6 hours ago, Rue said:

I know this thread is older but didn't want to start a new one.

I was lectured to the other day (non-violin)...by someone younger than me and with less experience - in an area I am knowledgeable in. They weren't "wrong" - but they weren't quite correct either.

They were very confident and not open to be corrected (even in a nice way).

What do you guys do in this instance? Just don't bother?

Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens ...Schiller

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Wise words!

Thanks for your responses! I will continue to figure out how to purport myself with confidence when this happens! :ph34r:

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On 8/15/2017 at 6:18 PM, Rue said:

What do you guys do in this instance? Just don't bother?

It all depends upon the desired outcome,,

If it’s trivial and just a matter of me right you wrong,, and it’s obvious that there will be no meaningful exchange, be big enough to keep quiet and enthusiastically give them your respect, we were all there once, and  we have all thought we were right about something and proclaimed it with enthusiasm, all the while of being terribly misinformed. Being confidant in one’s self entails believing in one’s self, and the assurance that I’m right. This view changes throughout everyone’s life, we all start somewhere.

One of the things, besides our ego, that makes communication difficult is when they have an unhealthy attitude toward us because of their knowledge, their shutters are closed, and there will not be any free engaging two way exchange of information. Just smile and be polite. Another option is to pray about it and watch as both feet are placed into their mouth with not as much time to wash them.

God does work in mysterious ways, but he does have to be asked.

If the information is of a serious nature, and they really need to be corrected and you are well versed in the subject,,

ask leading questions till they are put in a position of contradicting themselves, this can be quite useful, just use questions, don’t try to tell them anything. If they have a brain cell one they might come around.

If  all of this fails to produce results,,,,

Try a swift karate chop to the throat.:ph34r:

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 5:18 PM, Rue said:

I know this thread is older but didn't want to start a new one.

I was lectured to the other day (non-violin)...by someone younger than me and with less experience - in an area I am knowledgeable in. They weren't "wrong" - but they weren't quite correct either.

They were very confident and not open to be corrected (even in a nice way).

What do you guys do in this instance? Just don't bother?

Reminds me of the famous quip: "I am not young enough to know everything."

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A big cliché, but (unless you are a professional...) is it not about the journey more than the destination?

I know I play horribly, but still I enjoy it and I am happy when I see a tiny bit a progress...

 

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My friends and I have been talking about this.

What we've figured out is that it's not just making enough money to support yourself, rather, it's important to play the music you want to play with the people you want to play with for the audiences you want to play for.  Being able to say "No" to mediocre gigs is huge.

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