on “ding” letters and failure

I just received my “ding” letter in the mail concerning my violin audition in February, which I have to admit, was depressing.

I mean, I knew it was coming- my audition felt like completing a maze blindfolded. In other words, I messed up and my audition was a nightmare right from my 3-octave scale. Continue reading “on “ding” letters and failure”

Am I even good enough to keep playing?

This past week, I bravely decided to take on a challenge and sign up for a violin audition in February, which was a difficult decision to make… Let me elaborate:

In case you don’t know, I have a long and complicated history with the violin that dates back to when I was 4 and 3/4.

my first violin recital! I got to demonstrate my bow hold.

When I was 4 and 3/4, I felt like violin was my calling, so I begged my parents for lessons. I was determined to sound awesome and play the violin forever.

holding up my bow

The thing was, violin was more difficult than I thought it would be. All the people who played the violin on television made it seem so easy! I wanted to sound like them, but when I practiced, I sounded much, much worse.

The thing was, violin was more difficult than I thought it would be.

By the time I was six, I was determined to be that good. And being good requires a fair number of practice hours. Needless to say, getting small child Alex to practice for more than an hour a day was extremely difficult, if not diabolical.

My last time playing before I quit- in a Suzuki festival at Carnegie hall

I quit at age eight, and vowed never to pick up the violin again.

I had decided that I wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t willing to put in the practice time anyhow. But secretly, even though I wouldn’t admit it to myself, I still wanted to play.

But secretly, even though I wouldn’t admit it to myself, I still wanted to play.

And so one day in middle school, I decided to join the orchestra, where I discovered that I wasn’t half as bad as I thought I was. In fact, I got to play at Disneyland with my orchestra and got an A on all of my three-octave scale tests (even F major… eek!) in eighth grade.

But even throughout high school, I still felt like I wasn’t good enough to continue playing and practicing. Even when the 2nd violin section leader complimented me on my playing my freshman year, even when I finally stopped working out of the stupid Suzuki books and started working on more difficult pieces like Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro my sophomore year, and even when I got a solo part at the winter concert in my senior year, I felt wholly inadequate.

But even throughout high school, I still felt like I wasn’t good enough to continue playing and practicing.

I won’t lie. I still feel that I am a mediocre violin student. I still feel like I will never be that good. And I definitely still prefer to evade the camera man whenever possible at church for the fear that he’ll catch me messing up when I play.

A small piece of me is still that 4-year-old though- a small piece of me still wants to be that good. By signing up and preparing for this violin audition, I feel that I am challenging myself to be better at violin than I think I am.

Secretly, even if I can’t admit it to myself yet, maybe I am beginning to accept that I am good enough to keep playing.