A little to the left

Playing the violin is a lot like building a house with cards. It’s about balance. Move one things here, and it affects something over there. Just one small tweak can fix a problem, or create a problem. It’s almost like walking on a tight rope all of the time. The number of things you have to pay attention to as you play are too many to count sometimes. Paying too much attention to one thing can cause something else to go out of whack. It’s a constant struggle to find balance. Balance in the way you hold a violin, in the way you move the bow, how much speed versus weight, and so on. It’s so easy to lose sight of small things that can make a big difference.

The past week has proven that I’ve been off balanced for a while. Something about the question “so, who taught you to hold the bow that way,” sent off all sorts of alarm bells in my head. Apparently I’ve been holding the bow wrong for 24 years now. Did that get me an “oh you’re still getting use to it,” response when mentioning that practicing was a challenge last week, and ice had become my friend. Oh no. I found out my shoulder were out of alignment. Yes, never a dull moment! But it goes to show just how fleeting the idea of balance is. It’s here one minute, and gone the next. One day life is out of whack, and the next is just peachy. Balance is ever elusive.

The same is true for running. For a while I struggled with a sore left quad muscle leading up to my last marathon. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and then I had someone take a look at my form and alignment. Want to guess what was wrong? You can probably guess what it is. Yep, balance. I was landing ever so slightly different on my right leg, which over time was throwing everything off on the left side. So, it’s back to working on form on a regular basis, not just every once in a while. Balance and form are things that have to be constantly monitored, and adjusted. As we get older they change. I can’t play the violin the same way that I did when I was 10. My body is different, and I have to work on things with the way my body moves now. Little warning bells go off in my head when I start to feel like I’m getting comfortable. Am I getting use to the new technique, or did I go back to the old habit that is causing the problem? In the middle of a run while talking to someone I’m still concentrating on how I’m landing, and my form. Staying focused on what I’m working on is the only way to fix the problem.

So here’s to another week of new bow holds, and making sure my head isn’t stick out too much (interpretation don’t slouch)


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