But wait…. there’s more.

The violin purchase process continues.  My Luthier is handing off several violins to my teacher tonight.  He and I are planning to meet tomorrow evening at the school where he teaches so that I can try them in a more responsive space than his studio.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something fits the bill.  In this price range, I should probably keep my expectations fairly low.

Part of me is apprehensive because I don’t consider myself a very good player.  My playing seems particularly poor now, because so many new techniques are being introduced at one time.  Plus, we have had to go back and revisit certain basics, like my bow hold.  You’d think, with all of the tools I have been given, that I could master them better.  But for some reason, when I focus on one aspect of things, something else gives way.  It’s pretty disheartening.  I trudge through an average of 10 hours of practice a week and don’t feel as if I’m getting any better.  I can do more tricks, but I do them less well than when I had fewer of them up my sleeve.  If only there were more hours in a day…..

This has happened to me several times in the course of my learning the violin.  Generally I get to a point where I’m really frustrated and ready to chuck in the towel, like now.  Then, without warning, something clicks and I’m moving forward again.  It’s too bad that the violin purchase opportunity hit me just now, when I hate the sound that I make.  That jump in ability can show up any time now.  Bueller?

I think another part of my frustration comes from a perception that my instructor doesn’t know what to do with me.  He’s doing everything he can to teach me technique and help me develop my skills.  However, without an end-goal – recital, competition, audition, etc. – he doesn’t know where to aim, so to speak.  If I were improving, he might have a direction to go in; but right now I’m not a good example of what his studio can produce.  He’s likely as aggravated with my plateau as I am.

What do you do with an adult beginner?  I’m never going to make this my profession.  The symphony is perpetually out of my league.  I’ve never played in a group, or in public.  The few friends I have played for have been polite, but let’s face it – I’m no Hilary Hahn, and there is zero potential for me to be so.  How long can you train someone with no goal to work towards?  If I were the instructor, I would be at odds with what to do with me too.

So buying a violin at this juncture seems superfluous.  However, I can’t presume to borrow the loaner much longer.  It has been over a year, which I feel has been extraordinarily generous of my instructor.  I only wish I were worthy of all this effort.


4 thoughts on “But wait…. there’s more.

  1. Is there not a civic Orchestra? (not the pro symphony…) For us wind players, there is a veritable cornucopia of community bands out there… (there are at least 8 in driving range for evening practice for me.) You could play at an SCA event. Dance musicians… afternoon concert… Maybe we need to have another Performer’s Symposium…. hm…..

    I know that all the towns around here and civic orchestras. Heck, play prelude/postlude for a church service…

  2. There is a community orchestra, but I don’t play well enough to join yet. Other than Ruby Joust and twice at fighter practice, I have never played in public, and I’m not sure practicing in camp counts. I’ve only been playing a year.

    And I think it’s hilarious that you are posting as your wife.

  3. Shortly after I started on the violin (well, a year or so) I joined up w/ Harp & Drum in Ponte Alto {this is all SCA stuff for those non-SCA people reading this}. It did give me something to do even if I did not feel like a good player. But I was also used to playing music just for myself, having taught myself Celtic harp while in college. But that also has to do with my performance anxiety …… Once I stopped playing with them I stopped playing the violin in general. Now I am badly out of technique and would sound like crap. Doesn’t help with my picking it up to play because I know I will sound bad. But I digress ….

    I know I am not being helpful here, but there is avenues for you to do this within the SCA. Harp & Drum started out of a class of recorder beginners. We were not the best, but we got better. There are other musicians out there, and you could work towards a similar goal. I even have copies of music (there were collections of specific arrangements done — mostly 4 part) that I can send to you. Sometimes you even tempt me to make more of an effort to be involved south-wise in the SCA as opposed to my group up here.

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