I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

Kicking it into high gear

Another title I could have used for this post is “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  More to come on that in a second.

I just passed the 6 month mark.  Ouch.  In some ways I feel good, like when I think I’ve come from zero to where I am now in six months is actually a little bit remarkable.  In other, and let’s be honest here most, ways I feel extremely uneasy as I still haven’t learned the majority of the piece and of the stuff I know, there is precious little of it that I’m actually proud to play.  So I need to kick it into high gear.

Easier said than done, especially since school eats an extremely large amount of my time.  Ugh – 2 hours of driving round trip per day down to Orange County and back, five days a week.  I feel like a giant carbon monster leaving huge black footprints on poor mother earth.  I would take the train, but my personal convenience would take a hit.  Is that hypocritical?  Probably, but either way I can easily see why many adults don’t take up an instrument – you have to sacrifice something and it’s usually that thing called personal time.  Of course, I don’t want to discourage anyone from taking up an instrument (you don’t have to start with Paganini) but let’s just be honest here:  it’s hard.  But I have a feeling I’ll sink into my schedule soon enough.

Why should I have called this the squeaky wheel title?  Three days ago, I whined, yes I’ll admit it–it was a bit whiny, to Danielle about how she wasn’t paying me enough attention and that if she didn’t give me more lessons, I simply wasn’t going to do this thing.  Period.  Whiny?  Perhaps, but I did have a point.  I’m sort of flittering around right now and if Paganini’s going to be tamed, or tamed enough so that when I get thrown off I don’t break anything too important, I’m going to have to get much more focused.  She actually agreed and promised to work with me quite a bit, not only on my technique but also to help me learn all of the new stuff.  So there’s that.

We’ve been working on learning the new stuff in the fourth variation, but I wanted to take a quick detour last night into the third variation–the one with the octaves.  So I played the third variation for her and she ended up helping me with phrasing, something I hadn’t really worked on too much.  This was last night:

At the end there, right after I cut it out, I completely played the wrong note and stopped playing, prompting Danielle to yell at me not to stop, and then we had a little spat.  I wanted to spare you there, so sorry for the sudden cutoff.

We also worked on the fourth variation last night, but I haven’t edited the video yet, so I’ll get that up soon.  I don’t  know why I’m on this editing kick instead of just shooting something specific, but a little bit of the lesson seems more interesting.  And for me, it’s always interesting to go back and watch a lesson again, and it’s probably fairly helpful too.

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One Comment on “Kicking it into high gear”

  1. B.Rajkumar says:

    Good work Ryan. I think you hit correct notes while shifting. Keep it up. Keep it up.


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