Back when I started VB I considered announcing to the world my intentions (see Where I’m Headed). I thought it would be cool for those who know me to get excited about it all, even though almost all of my ~ transformation ~ there must be a better word for the process of shedding the extraneous to reveal the essence ~ has been internal so far.

So it comes across as a lot of yapping and no riding.

Thats fine for me ~ it’s my process and timeline, and I am absolutely sincere in everything I write. Some people seem to change overnight, some take a lifetime.

I learned that to share your intentions without discretion is like taking your cookies out of the oven after a couple minutes. Even though you have a fully ~ formed vision of where you’re headed, it will come off as half-baked, and you will too.

I’ve had time to think about a lot of things this past week. One of my revelations was that your most supportive and enthusiastic friends can become impatient and accusatory if you’re not moving as fast as they think you should be. No one wants to be put on the defensive by criticism and tearing down, even in the name of support. And of course you should never trust just anyone.

I’ve written about this in previous posts, how support comes from surprising places. So does negativity.

No one knows better than you, your process, and the last thing you want for your tender dreams is to get burned by well ~ meaning and enthusiastic friends pouring on too much weed killer.

So ~ I am going to keep posting  my mental dumps here, but not posting my progress so much on Facebook as I used to, until something concrete happens.

Imagine how cool it will be to jump onto the stage, fully formed. SHAZAAM!!! BAZINGA!!!

Practice – why I hate it!

Because I’d rather play beautiful and fun music that I excel at. Not hard stuff that constantly reminds me of my weaknesses.

I know! The most difficult thing for me and violin is walking into the room where I practice, facing music I can’t play well (or even at all) and making myself do it. It forces you to look at the ugliest or weakest part of yourself in the mirror – and fix it.

Once that’s patched up, you know there will be another, and another, and another after that. Is kinda like performing plastic surgery on yourself. All I can hope is to satisfy my worse critic (me) at the end.

My learning goals for this upcoming week:

The 4th and 5th lines of the Bruch concerto

Start working on the Helios Overture and Peer Gynt (luckily I’ve played this one before, but not the 2nd violin part)

Doesn’t seem so bad written out here.

Law of Attraction

Catching up on the last couple Strings mag issues. Is it because of where my mind is focused? Dunno – but the normally staid, conservative, traditional, stuffy mag devoted to classical music seems to be getting a shakeup.

Articles covering alternative styles. Shocking, right? 

Among the traditional articles about technique, auctions, notable recordings of old music, instrument care, are these:

Jazz violinist Sara Caswell on the art of being yourself. And:

How well do US conservatories prepare music students? Many are catching up to the 21st century, starting to teach students things like technology, running your music biz, the need to have more than one paying job after graduation, helping graduates have viable careers considering there are far more musicians than orchestra openings -, and alternative careers for musicians.

The new initiatives at conservatories come as the classical music industry is becoming tougher and students need to be fully prepared for what lies ahead.

Then there’s the San Francisco Conservatory of Music – beginning in the Fall of 2015, a new curriculum – new tech lab, courses in improv, MBA – based business studies, studies on the creation of music for film, games, video, and other multimedia.

The Frost School of Music in Miami is collaborating with record label Universal Music Classics to reinvigorate both. This joint effort covers:

concert programming, new recording paradigms, audience development, entrepreneurship, touring, stage presence, long-term career development, and business management

Wow – and up till recently, conservatories taught performance and theory. Which today is largely impractical if that’s all there is.

Then there’s the story about cellist Maya Beiser embracing classic rock:

People should be able to embrace who they are, and the classical world needs to get less uptight.

An article about California violinist Gabi Holzwarth. While a fantastic musician, she never wanted to play professionally because it just wasn’t cool. She graduated as a history major. Started playing her violin on the street to make money, better pay than any “real” jobs. She did it for two months. Popular tunes and improv. Played along to tracks she downloaded to her iPhone on Spotify.

She got the attention of a prominent Silicon Valley investor. Which lead her to gigs with Samsung, LinkedIn, Google, art museums, and private jets. Point is, she was first a “classical” violinist but branched way the heck out.

Her motto? Never ask permission. You just go, and then you ask forgiveness.

High school string player? There has never been a more exciting time to be one.

Tidal Pools

….describe my mind since starting VB. Where water is ideas and beliefs about my life.

Tides flow into the pools, empty out, flow in, out, day after day.

The water is different, but the pools remain the same.

First, my dream was to play in a kick-ass orchestra, be among peers (if only!), live the music that makes my heart sing.


How about playing in – or starting my own – kick ass rock/metal group/orchestra?

Improve my playing to widen options, yeah – but electric violin, in addition to acoustic

My peers? No longer want to hang with the post-mortem classical musicians; the cool, mind – blowing rock bands are where things are happening.

This tidal pool filling – emptying – filling cycle is gonna continue until everything feels just right.


The hour-long lesson with my teacher tonight was spent on learning the first two lines of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. That’s it.

Applying the techniques I’ve been working on the past month or so, all of fifty-seven notes – how to play each individual one to make it sound beautiful. Each note uses a different technique in right and left hand, as well as learning how to allow energy to flow through my body into the music.

Super advanced and detailed. There is so much to learn, things I never even conceived of. Up till recently I thought I played better than I actually do. Feeling rather deflated right now.

Regarding the video, what I worked on tonight is only up to 2:34. My goal is to make it sound like this! Two weeks to my next lesson. I can do this!

Out on a Limb

Didn’t write last night, as I updated my About page.

It has taken a lot of nerve accepting the position of principal 2nd violin, and returning to rehearsal every week.  I am the supposed section leader, yet I make so many mistakes during rehearsals, and feel very inadequate.

My main thing is to avoid making an ass of myself; after that, to play the damn music so well that the others wish they could play like me. A touch of a narcissist, I am. There are so many people I admire for many different things; being one of those to others feels kinda good.

Secondary to that, I need the conductor to have confidence in my ability, enough that he can depend on me to play extraordinarily well.

Third, I want to create a strong section; to do that I have to play pretty damned well. Which I work on every single day (practice, practice, and more practice, as well as having my own teacher).

Yet I show up there every week knowing all too well what I can’t yet do.

And it is frightening. Luckily, the universe often has more faith in us than we do.

Get It Over With

Continued with my commitment to practice at least an hour every day; today was the violin concerto, since we will be rehearsing that on Monday night………

Hasn’t been going so great. I’m not nuts about playing for concertos usually, as the orchestra is just backup, and I get SO distracted by the soloist, looking all gaga at them and forgetting to play. (Note: this is common, not just me!)

But back to practice. Slogged through the first two movements with Hillary Hahn on YouTube. My heart not into it today. Was like normal sex: just want it to be over.

But beneficial as I understand those entrances better.

Get a Grip, Girl!

Stop complaining about not having time to practice more. Do something about it.

You don’t schedule practice, do you? No.

So you allow your days to be filled with work and your to-do list. What do you expect? Uh-huh. Practice after I clear out my to-do list. 

And when was the last time you cleared out your to-dos? Once in 2013 I think.

Your plan isn’t realistic, is it? Apparently not. Then there are lessons and rehearsals almost every week night.

And how much do you feel like playing after all THAT shit is done at, say, 9pm? Don’t 

So you need to schedule practice before anything else every day, get it done. Yup.

Don’t give me bullshit! SAY IT if you mean it! Practice every morning 9:30 to 10:30


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