Yesterday, my sum achievement from the two weeks I have spent trying to learn Beethoven’s violin sonata movement one… amounted to a small seed. Think a sunflower seed, the kind that pierces your gum and mostly causes a nuisance while you are trying to enjoy some trail mix. Today, that tiny seed of progress has grown – it’s now beginning to think, somewhere in its subconscious seed brain, about potentially becoming a bigger seed. Like maybe the size of a pumpkin seed, or a cashew half, even.
As I wipe down my violin after watering that seed with a practice session, a familiar voice creeps into my head: “Why do you even waste your time practicing? You’ll never be a virtuoso. You should just quit.”
I smile and say back, “I will never be a virtuoso. But I will always be me, and there is only one of those in all of time and space.” I decide to myself that the best anyone can do is to open the floodgates of their rich character and let it channel into their instrument – be it a violin, a tennis racket, a computer, or something totally different. No one can be the best, only the best self that they can be. That self will always be worse than someone else’s self – until it is able to appear on the universe’s stage, concept of ranking coded into a foreign language it no longer comprehends. That will be the day.
I might take small steps most days. I imagine that the step I took today with my music-seed is a very small one, in Beethoven’s shoe size. But it is a giant leap in my personal journey, with what I was born with, what I have been given all my life, and what I want to give back.
This is also why I usually sing while I clean my violin.