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Monday, February 02, 2004

Upset, upset, upset! ... A definite "case of the Mondays."

Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Barber, Wieniawski, Bach... it's all too much.

My first lesson of the semester was a few weeks ago, and my teacher calmly laid out goals for me -- which just so happened to seem immensely unreachable. Oh, and he knew it was more than had ever been expected of me before... later he laughed about it... "sweetie, you looked shocked!" So after that, I spent the two weeks until my next lesson practicing the most I'd ever practiced, and hopefully the best I'd ever practiced, too. I'm really trying to practice intelligently... but sometimes I think I'm just not smart enough or focused enough to cut it as a violinist. Wait, sometimes I think that? No, all the time I think that. *sigh*

In the midst of my burst of diligence, I got yelled at and humiliated in front of everyone at our string sectional rehearsal a week ago Thursday.

And then, after orchestra rehearsal last Tuesday, as my teacher was shaking my hand and complimenting me on my work and my progress, his wife (part-time orchestra conductor, leader of sectionals, cellist, chamber music coach, etc.) interrupted by telling him that his compliments weren't accurate and explaining all my faults and shortcomings. With me standing right there. Already painfully aware that I'm apparently not doing anything right, or at least not right enough for Ms. Woman-of-the-year-Summa-Cum-Laude-Yale-graduate.

I could have cried.

Oh wait... I did cry. I even called my parents later that evening and bawled.

And then my lesson the next day... it was a giant disappointment. Or perhaps I am just a giant disappointment. Anyway. I don't think my teacher even noticed that I'd put in almost twice as much work as I'd ever done before. I'd learned the third mvt. of the Barber (that piece is insane!) and memorized most of it and actually gotten it to a reasonably decent tempo. I'd learned the Wieniawski Scherzo-Tarantella in two weeks, memorized most of it, and gotten it to a decent tempo as well. And of course, I'd also been working on Stravinsky a bit (L'Histoire du Soldat... I am the stupidest creature in the world. WHY did I agree to play that piece?! I can't do it! It's too hard!), and the Prokofiev duo I'm supposed to be doing with Melissa, and I'd been starting the Bach g minor, etc. All that work, and still my lesson was a giant disappointment.

Go back to the beginning. Start over. Intonation - inconsistent and not up to standard. Spiccato - too short and pecky, not enough bow or enough bow speed, and too forced instead of natural. Left hand - too square. Etc.

I am a big fat loser.

And now, this past week, I just haven't felt the same kind of motivation. Sure, I've put in the required hours, but come on... two to three hours a day is pretty wussy, and I should be doing a lot more.

I know... I am being childish. This kind of thing shouldn't affect me this much. I know they're pushing me because they think I can do it. Somehow it just crossed the line from being motivating to being really depressing during this past week.

Of course, I need to figure out who I'm doing this for. My teacher? Myself? God? All of the above? I don't know. And who should I be doing it for?

Story says I seem unhappy about music. Trying too hard to please people, taking myself too seriously, stressing out too much. But I do love the violin. Oh, sometimes I hate it. Jen says we just have to make sure that we love our instruments more than we hate them. I know I do... but the sparkle is not quite in my life right now. I'm just tired. Not fascinated or intrigued or inspired or curious or alert or really alive. Well... sometimes I am all those things. I guess life comes down to working hard even when you don't feel that way, which is probably most of the time.

And now I have a lesson again on Wednesday, and I am woefully unprepared. The discouragement and depression and "It-doesn't-even-make-a-difference-if-I-practice-or-not" mood has been replaced with terror. The Stravinsky is terrible! I'll be ripped apart in chamber music class! Wieniawski and Barber are no better than they were at my last lesson! And when on earth am I supposed to learn this Beethoven sonata?


So tonight I cried while I was trying to practice. Not just a few little tears, but really crying, the sort of crying that I usually only do once or twice a semester.

I'm a loser... I miss being a kid and having the security of being special even if I never did anything to merit it... My sister is more diligent and successful and intelligent... my brothers are also both more diligent and successful and intelligent... I wanted to do this one thing well, but I am terrible... I'll never be able to make a career in music... It's too hard, too hard, too hard... I'm letting everyone down, and most of all myself... I'm stupid... I'm lazy... my intonation is terrible, my left hand hasn't improved at all, my fourth finger is being wretchedly horrid...

Anyway, hurray for Julianne and Laura... they're the best! I'm still overwhelmed and feeling loserly, but at least I feel relaxed about it now, instead of high-strung and uptight. hehe.

Also hurray for Hanne... someone who reads my blog from all the way over in Belgium! And she's a fellow violinist... so I really appreciate our emails back and forth.

It's bedtime. Goodnight.

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