Friday, February 6, 2015

time has come today

Practicing all evening, like I do every evening...tonight I am practicing for a lesson tomorrow, and it makes me sad. I love playing viola, and I put a lot of time and work into it, and these lessons are just not fun. It's hard to say something like that, because the obvious question to that answer is "who said it was supposed to be fun?" But even the rigor that I loved so much in lessons is beginning to look not like a means to an end (do this every day and in 50 years it will pay off) but rather the end, the way my teacher can just keep feeding me busywork and not have to teach me, or think of anything for me to do to address my many, many weaknesses. Like Dounis' Daily Dozen, only that's all there is - Kwo's Kountless Kranks, which only wind me up. No context, no application, no connection to music at all. There are no goals, no suggestions on how to improve, only critique, or in this case Kritique: that's not an E, that's not a note, that's not a tone, that's not a sound. Make it sing, no I can't tell you how, you're an adult, I can't teach adults, just do it, even though you're an adult and will never be able to do it. Do you have questions about how to apply any of this to pieces you're playing in orchestra or whatever? Sorry, you are SOL, figure it out yourself, like the kids do, they just "get it", they're brilliant. You, however, well...

At the last lesson, he agreed (it took some convincing) to let me try again with a piece he deemed unplayable (by me) last spring but which I worked on all summer with Mr Summer Teacher. All week, and especially tonight, I have cringed every time I tried to play it, imagining all the faults my teacher would find with it, and the not-so-nice way he has of expressing them. And what then? Will I cry, will I lose my temper and say something I'll regret? It finally dawned on me that while I really love playing the viola, these lessons suck every last bit of fun from it. Yeah, only for an hour a week, can't I handle that? But no, it's not just for an hour a week, it's every hour I spend practicing what he assigns, every hour I spend dreading the next beatdown  lesson, every hour I spend rehashing all the Kriticisms from each lesson. 

I spend a good bit of time every week absolutely hating myself, wondering what I did to earn this. Viola is the thing I love, and these lessons make me so unhappy.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Maybe it's time to say, Scroomall -- and go into seclusion with viola in the woodshed.

I notice when watching masterclass vids that the virtuoso doesn't give bowing tips or advise on shoulder pain. Instead there are a bunch of brilliant young musicians being told how to feel, being told to interpret a piece according to the virtuoso's preferences. They are technically proficient (one can drill that) but not, in the master's opinion, properly expressive. You and I can drill technique, but technique isn't the point.

I want to feel my way, instead of going once a week to fall short in front of someone who might not even be pretending to give a fuck. I'm tired of letting obstacles intervene -- I allowed it -- and I let it bother me. I let my satisfaction be taken hostage by unhelpful people.

Scroomall. It's what I think of my playing that matters.