Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 1 : Do not think !

17 Sep

After learning some basic notes on the staves I was told to know it by heart. I had to memorize it, and then tell when I see a note. I used to count, say memorizing only the first not in space , the “F” on Treble clef. From there on I would count and then reach the desired note. So if it was the B on E string, it could take some time, but by practice I know I would know it by heart. There are some mnemonics such as “FACE” notes in space. This could come in handy. The objective is to t\know the not when it is written immediately, without counting. This needed some practice. I would stare for sometime and then tell the note. Especially the notes above and below the staves took more time. My violin master asked “ What is this note” pointing at one such note. I stared, may be I was thinking too long deciding whether it is a B or C on E string. And suddenly the master raised his voice and exclaimed “ Don’t think!” I was surprised knowing what he thought I was thinking. I told him I was counting up the notes. And then he said “ You have to know the notes, if you start counting there is no end to it. You may keep counting but never read the note.” So the saga of memorizing, which was a long lost talent was pushed up to priority. I took the book out when I got time. Started knowing the notes as pictures, and where each picture was to be. What the picture denoted, and I could grasp it with little seriousness. Later , after a week, for the next class my master put a test for me. He would draw some notes, I as supposed to tell it. It turned out to be easy. Next, I was told some notes and I had to draw them. This time, it was more fun, I knew exactly where all the pictures were placed. This continued till the master was satisfied with my performance.

After the class I was stunned at my own performance. A little bit of memorizing could make life easier. If I could bring back my talents of memorizing into some more aspects of life, then things will turn out to be simple. I decided to make a small start. Beginning with the IRCTC ticket booking, that I had to do 3 months in advance. I had to keep track of when the advance reservation period(ARP) would start, when all I had holidays, the dates for journey and the date for opening of ARP. Initially I used to check daily to know the ARP status, sometimes I had missed booking and had to travel in general. The distance of travel not being too healthy, the exercise to know the ARP turned advantageous. It is like the ARP is 60 days, but IRCTC would show some extra number of days beyond that in the calendar. This was the point of confusion which was duly resolved. Later came keeping track of money, where what went. Reiterating the point of purchase and arriving at a balance, would never tally with what was left in hand. With some effort, to remember, not to calculate later, I could fairly arrive at a close to hand value.

If life is made simpler by a simple act of remembering faces, numbers, names and places, then thinking is made redundant.

Thinking, also takes some time. This requirement is done away with the advent of remembering. But be assured thinking has its own advantages in certain contexts. But, mostly we need to think twice for decisions, think spontaneously for emotions and need not think at all in most other situations. This saves time, if you are a thinker. You can think about more pressing matters of the universe, rather than ponder over where you left that 1 rupee coin.

Read more from this series here :-

  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 1 : Do not think ! - After learning some basic notes on the staves I was told to know it by heart. I had to memorize it, and then tell when I see a note. I used to count, say memorizing only the first not in space , the “F” on Treble clef. From there on I would count and then […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 2 : Don’t work hard - The power of doing work is a single most important criteria that distinguishes a human as a social animal compared to others. The collective and individual efforts towards a work makes one understand the minute and the big picture at the same time. All work is not easy. It is also possible that some workaholics […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 3 : Emphasize on Quality of Practice - I read “ Debunking the 10,000 hours rule “  after my previous lesson learned. My previous lesson learned said about not working hard. The working hard part is broken into small steps taken one at a time to overcome the hardness of the work. This works for people who are ready to be steady and […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 4 : Don’t tap your foot out loud. Focus on what you play. - In violin class I have been taught to keep the rhythm of the song by tapping with the foot. The human metronome works parallel to the song being played. Often we  have to shift attention from the song and listen to see if the rhythm and beat is correct per bar. This shift in attention […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 5 : Practice till perfection - Practice, practice, practice. Quantity and Quality all matters. Playing any musical instrument is all about practice. It is all the more true for the violin. As a student I have to practice. I know I can. I know I will. But how much ? Till my hands ache ? Till I feel it is enough […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 6: Health conscious practicing - If there is one thing in life,that is more dearer than the life itself, it is health. Life without good health is a misery. And life is maintained through good health. Longevity of life, if one wishes it, is not very pleasant without an accompanying good health. A good marriage between health and life makes […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 7: Start slowly grasp quickly - The v.v. age old saying goes an umpteenth time to say ” Slow and Steady wins the race” . This is because it is true. But the beauty of the truth lies in experiencing it in action. As with violin or any musical instrument, the beginning is really very slow. It is expected to be […]
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Lesson, Series


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