Two years ago today – October 14, 2013 – I began this blog and started down a new musical path as an adult. Of course it’s quite easy to start something like playing the violin or writing a blog, and it’s also quite easy to lose motivation just out of the gate. On that October Monday while sitting on the same couch I’m sitting on right now, some mysterious part of me birthed this project out of the ether– blog and violin. It came out of my head whole cloth right from the beginning; the two started as the same pursuit. I wanted the blog to hold me accountable to playing the violin, and vice-versa.
But on this second anniversary, it’s clear that the playing has undeniably become the priority for me. While I love to write, playing the violin has become a passion. If I had to stop blogging tomorrow I don’t think my psyche would be harmed, but if I had to stop playing the violin I would experience a severe sense of loss. The instrument has become a part of me.
I don’t really know how much talent I have on the violin. It’s a comparative question by its nature, so one approach to finding the answer is to look at others. During these two years, I’ve had one occasion to play with other strings players, and one occasion when I’ve played for others with my sister’s accompaniment. My sister is a lifelong dynamo on the piano and my Christmastime recital for the family was my first ever time playing outside of my living room: I performed quite terribly, though I had fun. At a chamber music festival back in July for adult students, I was more or less able to play my instrument the way I’m able to practice on a day to day basis. I also felt like I was able to hold my own with other adult student players. I know for sure that I’m no prodigy. But two years in now I have managed to get halfway through Suzuki Book Three with a teacher who definitely knows her stuff and seems to enjoy teaching me. Of course it doesn’t really matter how good I am, as long as I’m enjoying it.
As to the other half, this blog, I do know how much talent I have with words and writing – indeed I’ve been a huge consumer of writing throughout my life, so I’m well equipped to evaluate my own. I’m one of those writers for whom anything decent will generally have more to do with the content of the story versus how I’m telling it. Contrast that with true artists of prose who compose so brilliantly they can write about anything under the sun and I can only stand in awe. So I know I’m no prodigy in prose either. Unlike playing the violin, however, I would not be writing if I didn’t think I could competently string a sentence together from time to time.
With the blog, it was really about finding something to write about on a daily basis. So far I write for me. I write so I can remember. I write to write. I share the words publicly mostly for those I know who care about me, but they’re also a landmark, a testament to my pursuit. Though I’ve written some personal stories and editorialized a little bit here and there, I’m mostly into creating a chronicle of my musical journey. I enjoy encountering music as I move through my world and finding something to say about it. I enjoy looking for opportunities to read about music – I apply a little more thought than I do when I read about other things because I need to come up with something to say about what I’m learning as I read. My motive to record my journey makes me a better consumer of musical information.
Whatever I hoped for, this project has, without a doubt, opened my ears and my mind. Music is a language and a culture, and prior to undertaking this pursuit I simply didn’t speak the language, nor did I ever dip my toes in the culture. Just like a 40 year old immigrant to a new country struggling to appreciate her new culture through a new language, on some levels I will always be a beginner in this musical world. How lucky is that? We beginners get to experience so much wonder – we get to fall in love, we get to scrape our knees, and we get to tingle with anticipation. New discoveries exist at every turn. I’d have to be a fool to quit now.
Thanks for reading.