Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Change of Plans :: Balance, Peace

Hello everyone,

When I started my graduate studies at Rice this fall, 
I was super excited to completely lose myself in my studies and focus solely on violin.
I had never done this before, as I have always been the one to be interested in everything,
and someone who wanted to try and do everything.

So, in my opinion, I had a very enjoyable and 'enriching' high school and undergraduate years,
but it was definitely not as 'focused' as it could have been on violin.
In fact, compared to many of my fellow students, 
I felt that the time I had put into my violin (practicing) was quite deficient.
And since they had already put in so much more time into their instruments,
in order to be 'competitive' in this field, I thought that something had to change,
and that I should put in that many more hours starting now.

So with that mindset,
I cut everything off from my life (with the exception of dance) that didn't have anything to do with music.
It was going to be a violin boot camp for 2 years.

And I was miserable.

I was putting in more hours in the practice room than I have ever done in my life,
yet I didn't feel like I was improving.
Everyday, I would wake up and go to the practice room,
and before I even started practicing, I was tired even though I had gotten plenty of sleep.
My practicing lacked the imaginative energy because,
 I mean, how inspiring is it to be staring at the same white walls day after day, hour after hour?
I felt like I was losing myself as a player as I kept getting the feedback during lessons that
my playing lacked energy and conviction;
this was a big red flag for me as I had always been able to bank on the fact that my playing would be energetic!  After all, I'm a very energetic person!

But my playing was obviously reflecting how I was feeling, as music always seems to do,
and I was definitely feeling confused, tired, and,, lifeless.
I mean, what did I expect when I was trying so hard to be someone I obviously am not? right?

I have never been, and will never be, someone who can ONLY do music.

Yes, that brings up the worry,
'how will I compete with others who are completely content to ONLY do music?'
after all, the time spent getting acquainted with the instrument is a vital part of 'success' in this field.

The thing is, in the past 2 or so weeks that I've changed my mindset,
stopped trying so hard to cut out non-music related things from my life,
I have noticed an incredible change.

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, I am much happier.
It's not even like I've gone seeking for non-music related things,
but just the fact that I no longer feel obligated to NOT do them is such a liberating feeling!

And of course, this switch in my frame of mind has freed up time for me to attend a variety of different seminars and lectures here at Rice.
In some of these lectures, I had difficulty following along because I don't know much about the subject,
but all of them have been so interesting and stimulating!
(especially Justice John Roberts!  I can't believe they got him to come here! 
So awesome, and what an intelligent man!)
And I might as well take advantage of being here at Rice where there are so many opportunities to learn and listen to incredible people they keep bringing in to speak to us!
For example, they are bringing in Thomas Friedman next Monday, and I can't wait to go hear this 3 time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist!

I have also noticed that having this outside stimulus really freshens up my practicing regime as well.
No, I don't try to practice as many hours as before-though sometimes, I end up practicing just as much on accident haha-but the sessions seem to be more of an 'inspired' sort in which I get more done while enjoying the process.
output > effort.
efficiency at its finest. 

It makes sense to me that I would be more productive when my life is balanced,
and when I am happy and at peace with myself.

It's kind of sad that I have only recently figured this out,
and now I feel like I've kind of wasted the first 2 months of this semester,
but there's no use crying over spilled milk, right?
I'll just try to be that much happier and more productive for this last month of the semester!

Here's to mastering inner peace!  ;)   haha

Happy Wednesday!

No comments: