Base building – not just for running

It’s a big thing to say I’m enjoying my practice time again. As someone very wise reminded me I can’t race through excerpts all of the time. Even they need a good foundation built slowly to get to the end product. Train slow to play fast. Hmm, that sounds awfully familiar. I’m pretty sure my running coach has said many times that I need to run slow to run fast. You don’t see professional runners racing every week do you? I was pushed so much to play fast that I never had time to set a good foundation for what I was playing.

So, this week has been about going through music, and figuring out what I need to do to play things consistently correct. That’s mundane things like working out shifts, stroke quality, intonation, and rhythm. It’s not the most exciting practicing, and it’s easy to overlook things, but I can already hear a difference after two days. Everything needs to be right at the slower tempo, and at the faster tempos as well. Consistent! The more I consistently get things the better I feel about the audition.

Every day is different, and I’m going to try to approach what’s happened each day with a level head, and solve the problem at hand. Today I’m a little tired, and not really motivated to practice, but I know it’s a good day to go through things slowly and work on the foundation. Today’s run was the same way. Was it the most wonderful run ever? No, me legs were a little heavy from my strength workout, and getting up at 4:30 for to get this in before an early morning appointment was rough. But I accomplished the goal of getting 9.5 base miles done. My coach reminded me that it’s important for my legs to know how to work when they’re tired too. Everything isn’t going to smell like a bed a roses all of the time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not getting somewhere. It’s know what I need to accomplish, and setting small attainable goals that will help get me where I want to go!

Fresh start

First, I think I should start by saying that I am no longer taking lessons from the person discussed in my last post. I got an e-mail that evening saying that he was no longer willing to teach me. I haven’t said a thing to him. I simply dropped a check in the mail. I was done. By Friday I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I thought I would take the weekend off of practicing, but getting ready for a concert Saturday evening got me motivated to get up early and practice. I probably would have even practiced on Sunday, but I fell while running Sunday morning, and ended up with bruised hands.

Monday brought me back to getting ready for the next audition. I’m going back to what helped me win auditions in the past. I know how I work, and I know what I need to do to win the audition. Maybe the fact that I’m not so stressed out all of the time will help.

Here’s a little work I did on the 1st page of the Mendelssohn violin concerto. Other than 2 spots where I apparently changed the rhythm slightly it’s not bad.


A lot has happened since my last post. I haven’t known what to write, or if I wanted to write. I’ve been a bit tired lately. My parents have needed more help, and I’ve been stressed out about auditions and finding enough work to pay my bills. Something happened this week that I really didn’t need.

Someone told me I would fail.

I didn’t really need that. I also didn’t need to be told that I needed audition materials banged into my head. When asked what I was thinking I then got in trouble for saying my feelings. I walked out. Perhaps not the best thing to do, but all I wanted in that moment was to go home. So, that’s what I did. I cried the entire way home, and for another hour after I got home.

You don’t tell students that they are going to fail no mater what level they are on!

I don’t understand why people continue to pick me apart. It doesn’t help me get anywhere. There is such a thing as constructive criticism. I don’t mind that. I frequently ask students for it to make sure I am being an effective teacher. It’s how you grow and improve, but lately I’ve felt like I’ve been picked apart to death. Nothing is ever right. I have no confidence when walking into an audition. I didn’t walk into my last feeling like I would play well even though I could. Because of the way things had gone leading up to it my head was hoping that nothing would go horribly wrong. I felt that I had been trained to assume the worst would happen. Believe it or not this has happened before with a violin teacher in college. She was upset that I had planned a recital while she was on leave, and that she wasn’t apart of the process. Instead of helping me I was punished for daring to do such a thing. I had another teacher at that same college use the old reverse psychology ploy, and told me I would never amount to much in an effort to get me to work harder, but not teach me much. I have been beaten down to the point where I don’t know where I want to go now. I thought I was a good violinist, and a good teacher. Now I feel tired, and frustrated. I will not be going back. Believe it or not I do know how to prepare myself for an audition. Maybe doing it on my own will be better in the end anyway. I don’t need things banged in my head, and if you think that’s what I need then you don’t really know me as well as you think.