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Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 7: Start slowly grasp quickly

27 May

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 and it will be. Sometimes, it turns frustrating and sometimes it melancholic; because slow music is mostly applicable to monotonous and sad moments in audio-visual industry. Once you hear the melody and the density of musical oscillations that a really slow and patient player would bring to one’s ear the best of devotional and classical , esp. hindustani classical music, which may make one feel that the music is depressing than soporific, sad rather than boring. While the musician knows in its true essence what the music brings with its slowness, a meditative stance , crystallizing the tranquility of the mind and making everything around you at standstill. This is an art that occurs in a peaceful flow of music, just like Messi plays with the football, a movement that is so painless and untiring, for the player , for the musician but may not be for the unaccustomed ear. But it is true that the baby steps that we took as an emerging human being were much much smaller than what a grown up adult does. It goes in the same way for music and in life.

An age old Sanskrit saying goes like this

||जलबिन्दुनिपातेन क्रमश: पूर्यते घट:

रीतिरेषा हि विद्यानां धनस्य च धर्मस्य च ||

Translation:

“As the pot fills with tiny droplets of water

So does education (vidya) , money and virtues(dharma)”

The slow rate with which these accumulate sometime tests one’s patience. That is yet another learning curve. This acts as a self test and helps to ratify one’s decisions and path of growth. As in music , esp. and instrument like violin, the beginner would be playing the same song again and again, till it becomes a good stepping stone for further playing. And a true newbie would be playing just the open strings till the world’s end for weeks. And this basis is so important that my violin teacher would tell me to practice just open string everyday, even though I am aiming for the Grade 5 of Trinity.  Also for the tone to be perfect the singing practice just focused on sustaining the few notes esp. the open string notes, at the correct note. This was tough. But with practice it grows patience. With patience and longer bowing time, very very slow playing, enable playing two bars of slurred notes at a stretch that together would constitute  a fast folk song’s critical portion. This helps in quick grasping of the key notes. Since the mind is free from the more time consuming – fingering of notes and bowing the right way.

In the end, the slow practice pays off whereby the focus is on maintaining the rhythm or momentum and reducing the fidgeting with fingers on the bow and forget about the trialing notes.Life becomes easy so fast. But it takes time. I have seen this happen when you practice driving bike slowly in city traffic. The traffic around you is on any day capable of making you crazy and angry. The technique of being slow, helps one take swift turns and right decisions at right moments that you see , in fact you are in fact going ahead of the vehicles which were parking their money behind speed than tactics on city roads.

I have also experience this in my academics where the professor would go very slowly over the basic of math, physics even analog IC layout at the very start and later put  a sharp climb on the learning path, whose slope is just enough so that the momentum generated by the slow learning is able to grasp what is coming on and adjust and push us through the end goal of the posed steep learning.

This is one important lesson that I found applicable in widely different areas of study be it music, math, engineering or internet. Therefore this post.

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 May 27, 2016 in Lesson, Series

 

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