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.

What do you expect…perfection?

Because you’re certainly not going to get it.  But at least I have another variation memorized, albeit slowly.  As in, I play it slowly, but hey–I’m not exactly going for perfection here.

I’m sort of in a box-checking mode right now.  I need to get these variations down and in the books.  It’s kind of like Iron Chef.  Have you seen this show?  Two chefs compete over 1 hour to create 5 dishes of a meal that all focus on a central ingredient that’s exposed right before the match.  The chefs have to plate each dish during the hour, so as you can imagine, you can’t plate the dishes soon enough.  That’s how I feel – I can’t plate these variations soon enough.  If they’re not great, I can always go back, but let’s get them learned!

With that spirit, here’s the entire variation 7:

I slow down a bit at the end, but it’s getting better.  Hopefully I’ll have this one faster and a little bit of variation 8 down.

So it’s 12:43am right now as I write this on Sunday morning.  All day Saturday was spent grading my students’ 74 pre-calculus exams and I’m pretty exhausted.  It’s funny; grading tests like this can be so frustrating when they mess up stuff we specifically talked about.  I can tell so easily which students studied and which didn’t.  On that note though, as some may disappoint me, others make me proud.  This is, of course, the same as many of Danielle’s students and the way they make her feel at times.  As I progress with this little project, I’m trying harder and harder to make her proud.

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3 Comments on “What do you expect…perfection?”

  1. JRV says:

    RRV — That’s how it is with my students as well — with time you will recognize the active students as opposed to the passive students — on the first day of class! But it really shows up on exams or papers or in violin pieces played in lessons — and you’re right about it being incredulous in that certain students don’t give a diddly-do-wa — how could they ever be that way in the classes we teach and in the areas we really focus on? It happens though, and happens often for a variety of reasons that we’ll never know anything about. But you’re right again about that feeling of pride for the students who are really applying themselves. Case in point: One day I went by the department to pick up my mail, and one of my students was there at the front desk — filling out the paperwork to change her major to English — I was blown away — she said it was because of the class she had taken with me — I thought: WOW. A couple years later she came back and asked me for a recommendation for a Master’s program at Chapman U. Utterly amazing. She’s probably working on a PhD by now. We fly because of some students — and are truly blessed because of them — and then with others we’re forever grounded — but we persevere anyway — because it’s worth it in the long run — 🙂 — When we can be the one to be the active and focused learner in any given area, we are able to imagine what our teachers and professors must be experiencing, which in my mind equals the fuel we need to succeed, excel, and to lift off toward the heavens!

    You are doing such an awesomely wonderful job at becoming a musician —

    • rrvaughn says:

      Thanks for sharing that story, you should definiely be proud of inspiring someone in that way! Being both a teacher and a student at the same time right now, I’m getting a very complete and well-rounded immersion in the whole cycle of the learning process, as frustrating as it is on both ends sometimes….

  2. Bart Meijer says:

    Yes, perfection. What else?


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