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December
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It's the Holiday Season again.  That is a time when one of two things happens with violinists.

One possibility is that the violinist is active, and decides that it is time to take a vacation from the instrument.  It is the holiday season, and it is time to set aside the old fiddle and rest.  This is dangerous for several reasons.

The first is that regression occurs very quickly.  I had a teacher who swore that a week without practice equaled two weeks regression.  If I didn't practice for one week, we would go back two weeks and start there.  The reason was twofold.  First, she believed that my skills had deteriorated that much.  Second, we needed to rebuild the foundation on which we had been building when I "slacked off." 

The second danger is that we will get out of the habit of practicing.  This is what "did me in" every time I stepped away from the instrument.  I enjoyed practice, and then I stepped away from the instrument.  I developed new habits.  I found new ways to spend my time.  I began to believe that maybe music was not the best way to spend my time, and took up other "productive" habits like watching more television.  When it came time to get back to practice, I was unwilling to step away from the new habits I had been developing.  A struggle ensued.  More times than not I went back to practicing, but I will admit that there were times when I stepped away for much longer than I ever anticipated. 

The second possibility is that a violinist who has not been active will be asked to pick up the instrument again to participate in a church service or community activity which requires a violin.  The result, in my experience, is that the violinist waits too long, and is extremely frustrated when he finally gets down to practice.  I know that when I stepped away from the instrument for several years, the frustration that came about when I was asked to play again was immense.  I was embarrassed at my performance.  As a result I got more frustrated with the instrument.  I was sorry that I had picked up my violin, and I was disappointed in myself.  Picking up my violin in those circumstances was, honestly, not a good thing.  I should have been wise enough to get an earlier start.  Then I would have been happier with myself, and my audience would have been even more appreciative. 

What I will suggest now is that you play the violin through the hoiday season in a way that you have a lot of fun with it.  My suggestion is that you work on maintaining the proficiency you already have if you are actively playing.  If you have not played for a while I would suggest that you play as much as you enjoy, and at a level that is compatible with your abilities.  Then resolve to get back into the routine of practice so that the next time you are asked to play you will jump at the chance.

Use your instrument during this season to bring yourself pleasure and to bring a little pleasure to those around you.  You see Psalm 150 on my home page, and I hope that your take its advice in the use of your violin. 

All in all, make December a fun-tastic month to play the violin.  And use it as an inspiration so that next December you will have even more fun with the instrument, make people a little happier, and bring a little bit more glory to Him that deserves it all.

Merry Christmas to you all!