Sunday, May 17, 2015

oh, suck it up, positive.

Yesterday I
  • did not play well, for the 3rd day in a row
  • forgot how to lock my car (disclaimer: I never lock my car), only succeeded in setting off the alarm
  • missed a turn driving home
  • did not remember to "shut" the iPad properly when I stopped reading and went to sleep
ugh, what is wrong with me? and can anyone tell?

Last week's optimism about playing is gone and I fear I will never be more than an enthusiastic but incompetent player. I hear every off note, every wobble in tone (there are many), every variation in vibrato. In my practice it's like the teacher is sitting there, arms crossed, looking at the clock, bullet point thoughts forming in his head: out of tune, out of time, doesn't sound nice, wrong note entirely, no vibrato, ugly vibrato, too slow, do I have to teach this to you line by line, sigh. 

For the umpteenth time, I want to go back to the beginning.


Lee said...

String instruments aren't easy. Adults have expectations. I've spent the last year undoing all my bad habits of trying. There was no point in even thinking about the Grade 5 exam yet. Trying doesn't work and my teacher was no help. I have to feel my way toward doing it right. My practice habits sucked. Death grip in the left hand was so bad that I couldn't even hope for nuanced bowing and simple dynamics, much less vibrato. I've been working for months with the sole objective of playing without pain, and it's working because I've let it take as long as it takes. While playing more comfortably, I am observing other problems sorting themselves out, starting with the chronic neck and shoulder pain that i knew was the obstacle between me and faster tempi, and moving through the stages of clunky lame trills to good smooth fluttery ones, to more ease higher on the G and D strings, and into tone in 3rd position that doesn't sound like small animals being tortured. Get free of that teacher and own your practice, fellow musician. Get free of him even if you keep taking lessons from him. He acts like that because he doesn't believe he can teach you. He acts pissy about recitals because he's worried about his own prestige. Get free of his baggage. You can do this, you can improve, you can get wherever you want to go. Just not quickly.

I still stink most days but there is improvement.

You don't have to be in an orchestra yet. Just hang out with the viola until you make friends with it. Make small moves, they add up.

More unsolicited advice from yer bud... Lee.

PS: is it puppy time yet? or maybe a rescue.

Elaine Fine said...

I feel the same way every day. What helps me is to play music with other people and to except the abstract idea that as my playing improves, so do the demands I make on myself. So,eriments I concentrate exclusively on one specific aspect of technique for a whole cycle of scales. Or I try to.