When an injury can be a good thing

Until Wednesday I hadn’t had a violin lesson in a week and a half. It has been completely frustrating. Never mind that I had not even touched my violin until this past Sunday. I played for a whole 5 minutes, and then put the violin down in pain. It was one of those “yay I played for 5 minutes!!!” wrapped into “holy crap does this hurt.” Why? Well it all goes back to the finger smashing that occurred two weeks ago. Even after taking a day off and feeling better the combination of smashed fingers and repetitive motion of pounding away on the violin was too much for my poor second finger. There have been a lot of tears, and frustration. For a whole week I did not touch the violin. All that hard work of the past several weeks went down the drain.

After a little experimenting I figured out that I could indeed play my violin again. It meant being super careful. I have to work super hard to make sure I wasn’t pressing too hard, something I needed to work on anyway. It’s forced me to be more aware of several things I needed to work on. So, with great trepidation I went my my violin lesson Wednesday night. In past experiences teachers have not always been very supportive the first lesson back after an injury. It’s always my fault for not practicing enough despite the pain. That didn’t happen Wednesday. If fact my teacher actually noticed that I was using the injury to my advantage by slowing down, and paying much more attention to what I was doing. Plus he encouraged me to continue doing the same thing as the injury healed. I felt like he was jumping up and down saying “yes, yes, yes, this is the right way.” And, to top it all off he actually said this was a very good lesson despite the fact that I had only really practiced for three days. Keep it slow, and then challenge yourself with a faster pace to see if the skills continue, then slow down and fix any form problems (sounds eerily like speed drills in running if you ask me). That’s how things would continue to go in the right direction. My biggest struggle has always been the balance between speed and technique. I often sacrifice the technique to have the speed I need in a piece. Once again my violin and running worlds are colliding with each other.

I will admit that my favorite part of my lesson was finding out that MY BOW WAS BACK FROM SPAIN!! All fixed and pretty after a forte night of traveling and repairs (it didn’t call, or write, or bring back a present). The bow maker is an absolute genius! He saved the gold winding (gold, by the way, is currently going for $1200 an ounce), and only charged me for the labor. Somehow he managed to rewind the gold backwards starting from the top of the winding, tuck it back under the leather which he didn’t touch and secure the top end. All of that is backwards from the way a winding is normally done (usually the metal is applied first starting at the bottom and tucked under at the top. Then the leather is applied on top of the bottom end of the metal winding to secure it). It cost half of what I had saved. Plus, he rehaired the bow, re-cambered the bow, and made it all shiney and pretty. God bless him! I would have paid more, but my violin teacher wouldn’t hear of it. Honestly, if anyone is looking for a really awesome bow at a good price I would be more than happy to pass his name along. If I ever win the lottery I’m going to buy 10 more of his bows. They are that good!

So, now it’s on to getting reacquainted with my bow and violin speed intervals. Oh, and lots of ice still…

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