Got One Thing Right

It’s tempting to write only good things in a blog. We all want people to think we are wonderful. I am fortunate in that I have many people who think I am wonderful without having to edit myself that much. My husband is supportive of me no matter what I do. If I want to pig out on ice cream and cookies, that’s OK. If I want to lose (mumblety-x) pounds, that’s just peachy too. It’s nice to have that kind of amazing support.

I’m happy to report that for the first time (try number 4, actually) I am nearly to the end of the first cycle of the 17 day diet without having all that scary ED business start to crop back up. I have lost a total of 10 pounds. That’s pretty miraculous, if you ask me. Cycle 2 makes me nervous because I’m adding complex carbs back in, making my daily intake a bit higher. That should slow down the weight loss, which needs to happen because losing this much weight this fast is a bit terrifying. But a slower weight loss means it will take longer to get to my goal weight. *sigh* At least I’m going in the right direction for a change.

Ten pounds down means I’m also down a dress size. I don’t much like my old clothes, but at least I have plenty to wear while I try to get down to a healthy BMI. I will miss some of my nice new work clothes though. They were cute.

At least one thing is going well.

Playing the violin used to seem so easy. I caught on to new concepts quickly, and advanced at a fairly steady rate. However, for the last year I have been stuck, and I seem to be playing worse than I was this time last year. Simple concepts are difficult to master, and everything falls apart when I try to play anything supposedly at my level. To me, this means I’m really playing things that are beyond me. It’s like trying to jump up and down on a pogo stick while writing in calligraphy and singing a song in a language I don’t know well. I’ve put too much effort into this to quit, but I can’t seem to get better no matter what I practice. This is so frustrating. Most of the time I want to cry after I try to play anything. It sucks so badly to feel like a failure. There has to be a way to get past this, but nothing I’ve nailed stays in my head and fingers long enough. It’s there, and as soon as I start fixing the next problem, it’s gone again. I’m tired of making stupid mistakes because I can’t remember shit.

Playing for this long and not having one single piece that I can play to any reasonable standard makes me wish I had never started. At least then I would never know exactly what a rotten idea this would turn out to be. Guess I’d better go practice. I have a lesson in four days. I swear if it goes as badly as today’s lesson, I’m just going to burst out into tears in front of the teacher; and that would be more embarrassing than playing badly.

Maybe I can only do one thing right at a time.

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3 thoughts on “Got One Thing Right

  1. Go back, and run through the repetoire of songs you’ve already learned. Try to remember how hard you worked on each one of those, honestly. Look for the marks and notes to help you remember that one note you always forgot to sharp or vibrato. Then take your new piece slowly. Very slowly. A single measure at a time. If you can do it at 1/10 speed, then you can do it at 1/5 speed. Then you can get it up to full speed. Speaking as someone who was a concert pianist once upon a time. 😉 You’ll get over the hump.

  2. There’s always a point (usually many of them!), particularly in relatively early stages of learning an instrument, where you seem to plateau and get stuck; and where nothing seems to move you forward. Music just isn’t as uniform a process as learning something like advanced mathematics! It’s important to rediscover why and how it was fun – unless you really plan to make music for a living, and perhaps just as much if you do, if you don’t enjoy it there’s no point. I agree with everything Britni says but when you go back through stuff you know, focus on ones you really enjoyed playing the first time round. Be prepared to do new pieces that you find fun even if it’s not as hard as your ‘standard’ – it never hurts to learn new music and it doesn’t have to be all about getting better! Maybe see if you can find an amateur orchestra or group to play with – much more fun for most people than practising by yourself all the time and if you make some mistakes from somewhere in the middle of the second violins it usually won’t be noticed anyway! Finally, and most controversially but I think it works, give yourself licence to play something badly, at least to start off with it. Bash through the whole of something you’d like to play, maybe out of tune and with slips and hesitations and slowing down in the hard bits, but give yourself the satisfaction of hearing it recognisably. Then you can start polishing it up with an overview, rather than just a set of technical problems with no coherent, aesthetic whole. And remember there’s no such thing as a perfect performance, never mind a perfect performer. Whatever you’ve already learned you got right and are still getting right, so don’t write yourself off with negative generalisations!

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