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.

Well, it’s something

So apparently, variation 1 is really hard.  I started it several months ago and got to the repeat, but passed on the rest of it.  That is, until now.  I’ve been in this mode recently (and for good reason – I have exactly four months left!) where I’m trying to learn as much new stuff as possible.  Here’s the rundown of the stuff I technically have memorized, not that I can actually play any of it very well:


Variation 1

Variation 2 sans grace notes

Variation 3

Variation 4

Variation 7

1/2 Variation 9

1/2 Finale

That’s roughly half the piece right there.  Of course, I’m now two-thirds the way through my year here, so you’d think I should be two-thirds the way through the piece, right?  Although I would rather report more progress, I’m not necessarily worried about it.  I’m learning things much faster these days and my goal is to have the entire piece “learned” in two months from now.  At that point I’ll hopefully begin playing in Danielle’s class much more and really try to sharpen things over the next two months before my, er, performance in late February.  Assuming everything stays on track.

As for now, though, I’ve been learning variation 1 for the last little while and it’s, what’s the word I’m looking for, really freaking difficult.  I know, I know, I say every variation is really difficult when I run across it, but this one is particularly tricky.  It has the trifecta of hardness:  it jumps all around the violin, it has these fast grace notes, and then it has the spiccato (yes it’s back; I’ve put off mentioning it again after I misspelled it a few months back, hoping you’d forget about that little mistake).  There’s actually a fourth difficult thing, and that’s transitioning from spiccato to regular playing.  I tend to bounce.

Wow.  So I have this little routine when I post something on here.  I’ll record what I want to record, take it off the SD card, load it on my computer, and then actually write the post while I’m waiting for it to load.  Right after I wrote the word “bounce” above, I actually watched the video of me playing the first variation.  I have to say, I’ve been pretty forthcoming with my violin playing, but this is the first real time I’m actually embarrassed.  It’s not good.  At all.  It’s really, painfully slow and not even good for being slow.  Wow.  Really depressing considering I haven’t posted for a week or so trying to get this to the point where I can actually play it.

Sad.  Just sad.  Anyway, I’m actually not going to post it.  Yuck.  I know this is uncharacteristic of me, as I’m usually underly-bashful about displaying myself and my screeching sounds, but even I have to have some standards.  And this doesn’t meet them.

Perhaps I can put something up involving the first variation soon.  Or I just may move on.  For now.


9 Comments on “Well, it’s something”

  1. JRV says:

    March on, RRV —

  2. Kirstin says:

    Young Jedi Vaughan, there is no try, only do or do not. I applaud you holding yourself to a standard. But you must refrain from succumbing to discouragement. I agree with JRV; march on. Because you will never forgive yourself if you don’t.

    Don’t be surprised when, after months of work, suddenly all begins to “gel”. It will happen.


  3. B.Rajkumar says:

    Just practise religiously. Donot think of the result. Just practise.You will be there.

  4. Cassia says:

    I would love to comfort you, because I know how hard it can be (although I´m am surely NOT practising Paganini!!!)—but I think you will go on anyway. You have a great teacher and you will be making progress, as you have been all months before. I still envy your vibrato and you string-crossing!

  5. Diana says:

    You should never feel embarrassed, even on the screechiest of days. What you’re doing is a very difficult thing, and even if you can’t “perform” the whole piece come the end of your “one year”, don’t worry about it.

    Your trying it (and achieving so much) is such a nice thing! I love to receive your updates on my inbox. It always lightens whatever day I’m having.

    I’m one of these adult beginners who began with Twinkle, Twinkle and not even a teacher. I know how impertinent and merciless a violin can be.

    You are doing great. You don’t sound good, it’s true, but you’re on your way. Nobody sounds good on the violin after such a short time (be it with Twinkle, Twinke, or Paganini 24!).

    You and your wife are inspiring and that’s a big, big thing. Congratulations to the two of you!


  6. Maia says:

    For the record: I’ve found that the more you learn, the more unbearable you sound to yourself. It’s a curse in the sense that your real progress (in itself a blessing) can be lost on you. But rest assured that the progress is there nonetheless! And @Kristin, above – I tell my students that Yoda quote constantly. 🙂

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