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Your Impatience Is Keeping You Stuck

Today we are talking about the one thing that might be your downfall when it comes to learning the violin: impatience. I am going to share with you how impatience can show up in your violin-learning, why it can be a major obstacle, and how to shift your mindset so that you can truly start seeing progress!



Picture this: You hear a tune for the first time, and fall in love with it. The melody, the rhythm, the way the musician plays so effortlessly... you just have to learn it yourself! So, you run to grab your instrument, you practice for a bit, and, to your dismay, the result doesn't sound anything close to the recording.


All too often, this is the case among adult learners. Students will try to rush through fundamental technique to get to the “fun stuff”, only to end up frustrated and disappointed when they don’t sound like they’d imagined. They are often so eager to produce an exceptional result in the shortest amount of time, that they set themselves up for failure by placing the bar for themselves impossibly high.


Before we continue, I want you to really ponder these statements based on who you know yourself to be. If you are someone who insists on rushing through the process of learning an instrument, perhaps the violin isn't for you.


But if you're ready to commit to practicing better and more efficiently, please read the following advice carefully, and with an open mind.


So, why is it so hard to slow down and build good technique habits? Students rationalize that the quicker they can learn a tune, the faster they will sound “good”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some iteration of “Never mind all of those scales, left hand and bow hand technique… I just want to get to playing!” 


The truth is, the violin simply doesn't work this way. You can't simply learn the notes to a tune and call it a day. You can't skip steps. If you've spent any amount of time learning the violin, you likely already know this.


AND, the irony is… students who think in these terms and approach the violin in this hurried way are the ones who end up spending more time fixing their mistakes and undoing bad habits than they would’ve if they had slowed down and worked on technique in the first place! They might be able to "get by" with the notes of the tune, but chances are they are unhappy with their timing, sloppy sound, poor intonation, having to rely on sheet music, or something else.


What if you saw a picture of a gorgeous three-tiered cake, and decided to attempt to bake it while having no baking experience or knowledge of the ingredients and tools necessary to bake a cake? My guess is, it probably wouldn’t turn out like the picture, and you’d probably spend a lot of extra time cleaning up your mess. 


Learning a new instrument is no different. The reason your favorite musicians sound the way they do and make their playing seem effortless is because they spent thousands of hours perfecting their bow hold, tone, pitch, and left hand technique. 


So, the next time you find yourself disappointed and wondering why you can’t sound the way you want, slow down! Have a slow and steady approach to learning. Remember, if you do something quickly and carelessly thinking you're saving time, you're really only hurting yourself in the long run when you can't retain the information you've learned.


Figure out the source of your problems, and start there. Is your bow sounding scratchy? Look at your bow hold. Are you playing out of tune? Address your left hand set up. All of these things will help to give you a comprehensive look at how you can improve, and that’s when progress can really start to be made. 



For more on this topic, watch the video below!



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2 Comments


N.
N.
Mar 05

This advice can actually be applied to many things in life. It really made me put things in my life into perspective. Great article!

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Replying to

Very true! Glad you found it helpful. :)

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