Day 21: Lessons From My Fiddle

I have been out of town half of this month but the days I’ve been in Austin, I’ve been practicing and enjoying the violin everyday. I’ve also played in groups three times this month so I would say this experiment is a success!

I mentioned on instagram that I struggled in the beginning trying to figure out the “right way” to learn how to play this instrument. I first went to a classical violin teacher who had me going through the Suzuki books and reading sheet music. She was a great teacher but I kept feeling like this method was not for me. I was not grooming myself to one day sit with my middle school orchestra. I’m 34 already! I wanted to fiddle around improvise with other musicians. A few months later I found a fiddle instructor who was more my speed and switched to a more improvisational and spontaneous way of learning. We still study scales and work on technique but it comes from a place of enhancing my goal of jamming with others, not brute discipline.

Growing up in Japan, discipline and structure ruled my early childhood. I was forced to go to piano lessons, ballet lessons, swim lessons, and after school tutoring. As grateful as I am to be able to swim as an adult and have some musical ability, I wasn’t happy being overly scheduled with all of my lessons. I am deep down a free spirit and wanted the space and freedom to play my way into learning.

I had a very big realization last week that as an adult, I vacillate back and forth between flowing through life and being a very intense tiger mom. It came up in my month of business when I was trying to figure out how to structure my marketing efforts. I realized that I’ve been so hard core into tiger mom mode in so many areas of my life that I sucked the fun out of so much in my life.

For the last year, I’ve learned how to fiddle in the most joyful, relaxed manner. I don’t force myself to do scales or set a timer to practice every day. I play when I want, I go to lessons because I love it, and when I have to cancel, I don’t make a big deal out of it. All of this ease has actually lead to a ton of progress in a short amount of time. I’m still a beginner for sure but I’m actually surprised by how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time without applying any pressure on myself. Makes me wonder what it would look like if I applied this method of being in every aspect of my life. Could life be that simple?