Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Practicing At The Top Of Your License

My son and daughter play violin.  I accompany them to every class and stand over them in our living room as they practice.  From the very beginning, the teachers required parental involvement.  They often spent more time talking to me than my children.  They instructed on posture and fingering. Eventually, I learned to read music.  I even rented a violin of my own.

As the years have passed, I still play an active role.  I know when my son's elbow rides too high or my daughter's wrist curves upward like when carrying a pizza.  My ear can tell when a note is a touch too sharp or completely wrong.  But as an adult, I find I have little time to practice the same hours as my offspring. 

I returned the rented violin after months because it sat unused in the corner. 

My children have far surpassed my abilities.  Although I have knowledge of the appropriate technique and have learned the series of notes, I am a victim of insufficient practice.  And indeed, one can look down the line from less to more experienced and realize the difference repetition makes.  Although the notes are the same, the depth and quality of the sound that reverberates through the violin can be very different. 

Only when one practices hour after hour, year after year, can the shadowy mirage of mastery shimmer in the distance.

There are no shortcuts.

Not in violin,

and not in medicine.

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