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Attitude Matters
Things I have Learned on Forums
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Oliver
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June 27, 2014 - 10:30 am
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I am at a cross roads in my violin "career" and have been thinking about the future.  So, what does the past tell me?  (I was member #32 on FM but this post is not specifically about this forum.)

I have learned to gracefully accept the fact that I'm about an average amateur.  Half the amateurs are better and half are worse.  Then too, there are the genetic wonders on YouTube.  Good for them.  What is my charter?  To play and to progress even if me and my dogs are the only audience.  Then too, I might sneak in a gig at church which gets me a few extra chocolate chip cookies. 

I have to think of the sports saying "personal best" which is as good as I expect and hope to be.

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I am often amazed at the frequently useless violin debates that go on.  One of my favorites is about the "best rosin" but that is mild compared to other topics.  Actually the culprit is vanity which says "I do/have ________ and you're wrong!". 

There is also the notion of "league" like in baseball.  How good I am depends on what league I'm playing in.  

In this arena I have the perfect mindset ..... good is as good posts (a video).

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Incidentally, I also recognize the very valuable dialogue that happens on FM and the internet in general.  Particularly where people are isolated geographically.

My task now is to define a new commitment while leaving the old scenarios behind.  (I might even have to practice!)

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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June 27, 2014 - 11:51 am
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Comparing notes on things like rosin is just a kind of natural thing for musicians to do, I think. What folks use and why can be interesting to hear about. 

I would agree that heated debates over which one is "best" are pretty ridiculous, though.  The "quest for the best" whether it relates to instruments, strings, or whatever, is probably most often a case of musicians taking out their frustrations by either trying all kinds of different products in hopes of one miraculously making them sound better or arguing with someone who prefers a different kind in a desperate attempt to feel like they are right about at least *something*..

I hear what you are saying with the "What is my charter" concept, though, Oliver.  I've been doing a bit of that sort of introspection myself.

I don't know if it will help you, but my own current answer is being "solvitur ambulando".  Roughly "The question is solved by walking", meaning at the moment I keep working even though I don't see a precise goal, because I recognize that the goals I need may not be visible from where I am at the moment.  They may be something I have to figure out while continuing on the journey. 

So I think about "What am I doing, where am I going with this?"  But I don't stop moving because it would take more energy to get inertia up all over again. LOL

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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June 27, 2014 - 12:13 pm
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100% agree. 

The violin has surprised me many times and I'm sure it has more in store! 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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coolpinkone
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June 27, 2014 - 2:14 pm
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I believe that attitude is everything.

i don't mind the "useless" debates.  I don't feel uncomfortable watching people get behind their theory, or belief.  I have learned to listen in.. Add a few questions and a bit of my two cents.  But I don't mind some of the age old discussions.  

Each time I hear conversations at different points in my progress as a violinist, I glean new points.  So something six months ago I may have believed differently or understood differently.  

I like violin discussion... And I don't mind repetition.  

For me it is all good.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Oliver
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June 27, 2014 - 2:49 pm
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Cool

RE: 6 months ago

A great way to judge your progress.  I have music with written comments about difficult passages but I can't read my scribbles and whatever was hard then isn't hard now but all the new stuff on my stand is.  I should have the sense to stop when I am ahead.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 27, 2014 - 3:25 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Let's face it. Conversation is all about what you call "useless debates".
How often do people talk about the weather? The weather is just the weather but you can't actually do much about it can you????
Nice weather we're having. Wow, the weather sucks. How is your weather????
Anyway, I realize both what you are saying and what you are getting at Oliver, I'm just having fun with it. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MrYikes
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June 27, 2014 - 4:09 pm
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My most passionate debates were with my brothers:  did to, did not, did to, did not, ow, ow, ow. okay you win.

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Oliver
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June 27, 2014 - 4:34 pm
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@FM

I'm just suffering a mid-violin crisis. 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
June 27, 2014 - 7:43 pm
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I hear what you're saying, Oliver. It reminds me of my golf "career." When I first took it up, I'd get really frustrated that I didn't seem to getting much better.

Then, I finally let go of the idea that I'll ever get really good at the sport. Now, I just enjoy a nice day outdoors with my husband and/or friends, seeing pretty scenery and feeling satisfaction when I do occasionally hit a good shot.

I've tried to adopt the same attitude with fiddle playing. I do get frustrated at times when it seems like I'll never get any better. I've accepted that I'll never be a great fiddler but I believe that I'll improve over time if I stick with it.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 28, 2014 - 6:32 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Great attitude KS :)
Not surprised Oliver. devil-violin That stuff happens. exactly
LOL MrYikes

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
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June 28, 2014 - 8:47 am
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KS

Once upon a time in my out-of-control youth I practiced (too) many hours a day and other interests fell by the wayside.

One of those interests were ..... my WIFE................who also was ass't manager at an upscale country club and had free access to the course every Monday.  That included me and other family members.  But my hysteria for the violin went unabated.  I NEVER once played the course or any other!  (Talk about "dumb"!)

So now I'm neither a great musician or a great golfer.  Woe is me!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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MrYikes
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June 28, 2014 - 11:03 am
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Oliver, you are welcome to come over to my house.  I just killed a milk snake and skinned it.  We could share a snake steak and reminisce about the old days. Might perk you up.

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pky
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June 28, 2014 - 12:13 pm
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I have had several bottle necks since I picked up violin. So far what really keeps me going on is "I want to be able to play one instrument well" and keep challenging myself by adding new element each time - e.g., learn to make violin, rehair bow (if you are throwing away your used cheap bow, like cecilio bows and fiddlerman cf bow, think about me), learning a favorite piece of music but challenging, learning vibrato, shifting, etc. I knew I will never be a professional, but if I could be where Oliver is - an average amateur, I would be thrilled but I am sure I will be experience another challenge then (like the one you are going through right now)! As for now, I'd say go with my heart and don't take more than I could.

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Oliver
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June 28, 2014 - 12:34 pm
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Regardless of what I say, I am basically an optimist.  Not that I know I can tough it out but partly because I know the violin has its own agenda and sometimes I am surprised at what progress can come about.

To think of it, I do not remember ever solving a problem by taking a marathon approach.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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June 29, 2014 - 4:56 am
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I don't really agree with the logic of approaching music as something where one has a goal to "be a professional".  Unless you're actually looking for a career or a new career and maybe have the background already to make it a reasonable choice, it is too far in the possible future for a beginner or relative beginner to focus on. 

Play for the love of it at first. Because you enjoy the playing, the learning.. Relax with it and have fun. 

If you do get good enough at it to do more, then great!   If not, then you are enjoying your time, which is also great!

I recently was doing a bit of soul-searching about music in general and instruments like violin in particular, to answer the questions for myself like "Why am I doing this.. Where (if anywhere) am I going with this?"

I had to think back to when I first started, as a teen.  I wasn't thinking of being a "star" or anything.. All I wanted was to be a musician.  You know, one of the cool kids with the nifty toys that know how to do stuff.  That was all I was after.

After I had put some work into it, my idea of a musician grew a bit.  I wanted to be one of the people who can pick up an instrument at a party and entertain, or be in a band in a club or on a stage, playing for an audience..

And on and on.. But the essence still is the same.  Why am I dong this?  Where am I going with this?  What is my goal?

To be a musician.   Nothing more or less than that.

The really cool thing about having that as a goal, is I can reach that goal every single day.  If I practice, play, learn, perform, write, record.. talk about music, even listening to music with an ear to learning or absorbing some influences.. If I do any or all of that, I am being a musician.  That's the stuff musicians do.

Any opportunities that come open, if I am doing the work of being a musician, I'll be as ready for them as I can be.  I won't have to let them pass by on that account anyway. That's about the best anyone can do.

What if I never get "good" on violin (or whatever)?  LOL  So what?  I'm just being a musician and enjoying the instrument.  I am making music happen.  "Good" will come with time and work, if the fates allow.  If not, then I still have enjoyed the time, it wasn't "wasted".  

"To be a musician".  That is "why" and "goal" enough for me.  I can work with that.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
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June 29, 2014 - 7:17 am
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I think one's attitude has much to do with how well we play. If our attitude at the time is positive then we tend to sound incredibly good. If we have a negative attitude at the time then we sound not so good.

There are time's during the day I pick up my violin and begin to play, if the sounds coming from it don't meet my expectation's then I'll put it away and try later. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for playing at the time and I think that affect's my attitude and the sound produced.

Some day's we aren't in the mood for working and hate our job, other day's we're in the mood and love it.

I used to be a musician, now I "aren't" one.  dunno

 

Ken.

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Oliver
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June 29, 2014 - 8:14 am
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I usually pick music to practice that is over my head so I am always grumpy.  But then I go back to the"easy" stuff of a few months ago and I'm doing better.  I guess I need breaks like that.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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coolpinkone
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June 29, 2014 - 10:19 pm
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Oliver..I have picked a few tunes over my head too.  I think it is good in a way...but I feel a bit picky in my tastes... when I hear myself played back.. I just hate it.  Even my best has never made me that happy. I mean I can appreciate that it is not two years ago..and I can appreciate the progress...but ... it can make me grumpy... Not in a "I want to quit way.." but a frustration.  I think I know the answer and the answer is lessons..consistent and strict. I am too easy on myself. I know I need discipline.  And I know I need to read, watch and practice technique.

yea...ask me if I got out the metronome yet???

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Oliver
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June 29, 2014 - 11:03 pm
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Tell me, what is it you don't like about your playing?

Unfortunately, you have to know the problem(s) to choose the right fix.

I am very good with solutions because I have made every teacherless mistake and I'm always inventing new ones.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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coolpinkone
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June 29, 2014 - 11:45 pm
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Oliver...when I am playing.. I like it.. when I hear it back.

1. it doesn't flow.. I hear the individual notes instead of flow. That is the number one reason.

there is more after that.... but that is the number one reason.

 

I used voice memo on my iphone to record and critique my Thaxted tonight.. I wish I could upload ...the new sound cloud wouldn't let me record.. grrrrrh... anyway... (my tempo is fubar also)...

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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