Violin Tip of the Day
For Violin Students of All Ages
Practice and Rehearsal Tips.  Technique Pointers.  Violin Care Guidance. Exercises and Motivation for Violinists, Fiddlers or Anyone Interested in Stringed Instruments.
Today's Tip
Don't Give Up!

Don't Give Up!

Sometimes it is hard to keep practicing.  Sometimes it is hard to keep going to lessons.  Sometimes it is hard to even think of continuing to play when it seems that no matter what you do you are not making any progress at all.

It is like that in almost everything you do.  Athletes call it a slump.  Athletic trainers call it a plateau.  We all have different names for it, but it happens to us all in almost every area of our lives.

ALL YOU NEED IS ONE LITTLE BREAKTHROUGH.  And you never know when it is coming.  And you never know where it is coming from.  But keep working at it, and chances are that it will be there!

Let me tell you a story that has nothing to do with the violin, but it has everything to do with a breakthrough.

My wife and I lived in Mexico for a year.  I taught English at a private school.  My Spanish was not too good, but since my teaching was almost totally in English it didn't hurt that much.  Where it did hurt was in the markets and on the streets.  I was improving little by little, but it seemed that I was just plain stuck.  I could understand what people said, but I JUST COULD NOT SPEAK!

One day I was giving my junior high school age students a test.  In this class there was a great deal of cheating, but during one test a student went a little too far.  You won't believe this, but a boy picked up his jacket and draped it over his head and his desk.  Then he reached down and picked up his text book and started to go through the book.  RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

I got angry.  I got furious.  I stopped the test and told the students (in Spanish) how disappointed I was in their behavior.  I told them that I was angry that they would waste my time and theirs coming to the class if they were not going to take things seriously.  This had nothing to do with their regular classes, so it was not required.  Their parents were paying good money to send them to this school, and I invited them to leave my class and save everyone money, trouble and time.

There was silence in room until a boy said, "Teacher, your Spanish is getting much better."  I hadn't even realized that I was speaking in Spanish at the time.   I was emotionally involved in the situation.  All my practice hadn't paid off until just then, but when the breakthrough came it was dramatic.

We all laughed.  We talked about behavior in my class.  We postponed the test.  And I learned about breakthroughs.  The cheating student?  Well, the school's owner spoke with his mother, and his behavior improved.

It's that was with your violin, too.  Keep working.  Keep practicing.  Keep listening.  Is there a breakthrough right around the corner?  I can't promise that, but chances are good that there is one on the way!
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