“Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” I don’t remember to whom the quote is attributed. If only we adult beginners had the luxury to practice enough. Each day it is a struggle to carve out the time to improve our playing. Do we focus on scales and arpeggios during this stolen 15 minutes, or work on that tricky passage in the Gavotte? When do we find the time to play things that thrill us outside of the lesson plan?
The other day I forgot to put on my shoulder rest and my instructor called me on it. I had to confess that I don’t bother with it half the time. In my active household, my violin is safest in its case with the lid fastened. Sometimes I simply don’t bother to put the shoulder rest on because I know it is going to take time away from practicing. “I don’t know how you can play without it” he grumbled, surprised that I would skip such a valuable tool.
But don’t you see – working so many hours, commuting 1.5 hours a day, raising a family, getting things done – it all takes time away from the violin. I think about practicing 50 times a day. I rarely get to work with instrument for more than an hour. Today I got 15 minutes. It takes me that long to warm up enough to play anything.
I think most people can relate. I don’t know anyone living off a trust fund. No solutions here. Just venting.