This was a topic that came up a few times with our 16 mile run last Saturday, and as I have come to discover time and time again, it is applicable to my violin playing as well. Last night I had an audition for a local group in Atlanta. I had high hoped for my audition. I had a really good lesson Sunday morning despite being half asleep (let me tell you there is nothing like having someone who plays with one of the top major symphonies in the US tell you that you sound good!). My practicing the past couple of days had been really good and most importantly consistent! A couple of weeks ago I finally started to make a break through with my playing, which was making me feel really good. It seemed like things would finally turn around. I remembered to eat!! However, I still didn’t make it past the first round. To be honest, this was not surprising to me. I knew based on what I had done in the audition that it was not as good as what I could have, and have done getting ready for the audition. At least this time I don’t want to chuck the violin at a wall! I feel good because I know where I need to go and what I need to work on. So what is that? Well, I think it’s two things.
The first thing has started getting better over the past couple of weeks is my bow. I’m getting a more consistent and powerful sound. It’s all in how you move your arm, and what muscles you’re using. I’m getting there!! It’s a good start. I think part of the problem with the audition is that I’m still not confident that the new sound will come out when I play. I was listening to one of the girls that made it to the next round (it wouldn’t surprise me if she won, she sounded great), and wanted to sound like her so much. It was such a great, confident, powerful sound. And I knew that my goal was to get my bow under control and become good friends with it.
All of this leads into the second thing, consistency! It’s been a long road, and the past couple of days have been super encouraging (not just practicing, but also from great friends!). See, I got injured in high school and had to stop playing for a while. I had a series of teachers who got very frustrated with me, and were not encouraging. Most of the time was I told I shouldn’t be a violinist. All I have to say about all of that is that if you don’t actually teach me how to do something I’m not going to be able to do it. And as always assuming that someone else has taught it to me is a mistake! Fortunately, I’ve had some pretty great teachers over the past 8 years, and through process have completely relearned how to play the violin. See no one has ever stressed consistency. Now I’m learning how important it is, and what it can do for me in situations like auditions. I’m getting there!! So next time people better watch out! I’m throwing down the gloves to do some pretty serious work, and I’m not stopping until I get what I want!!