I had no lesson last week – Teacher canceled due to an early morning rehearsal schedule in the suburbs. The cancel actually worked out quite well for me, unfortunately, since a week ago this past Sunday I threw out my back something fierce, and I’ve been on a slow road to recovery ever since. Most people probably don’t think about the impact of back pain on playing the violin, but most of us know enough about back pain to know that standing still is not a good position to be in when your back is hurting. Walking, sitting, laying down in various positions – there are ways to get comfortable, usually, but standing for long periods is not one of them!
So I had to give it a rest – I probably went 5 or 6 days without practicing, the longest period ever since picking back up the violin last November, including our Christmas vacation. To my surprise, when I picked it back up this past Saturday, I feel like I was more relaxed. Especially in my bow hand, it seems my brain kept practicing during my break though the rest of my body obviously did not. I also believe that my ear for being in tune and appreciating the resonance of the instrument improved during this break.
I have had this type of experience in my karate practice as well. It’s counter-intuitive, but I’ve discussed this learning in absentia concept with others, and there seems to be some merit to it. In other words, the working theory goes, after a break of a week or two in a practice that typically requires near-daily, concentrated effort, people often feel they made some progress without practicing at all.
I’ve been redoubling my efforts to get Gavotte into shape for tomorrow’s lesson; I was interested to find that after returning to practice for a little more than an hour on Saturday I woke up Sunday morning with sore arms, as if I’d done a killer workout! I guess I already knew that the violin exercises all sorts of things, one of the many qualities I love about it.
Thanks for reading.
[…] do think this longer-than-ever break helped me experience some of that learning in absentia that I’ve written about before. My memory didn’t stumble much, and my tone was fine – I even think I felt a little looser […]