3 Life Lessons
What I've Learned in 15 Years of Playing the Violin
I didn’t expect that 15 years ago
15 years ago today, I got a violin, took my first lesson with a private teacher and started practicing. I had no experience whatsoever with learning an instrument.
I started with playing simple rhythms on one string. The first song that I learned to play was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I proceeded to learn many other songs after that.
At some point I started to hate my violin and quit it all together. I felt like I was never going to be „good enough“ at it.
Eventually, things got better. I found out that there’s more to music than being the best. I played in bands, orchestra’s, composed my own music and eventually started teaching.
Over the span of 15 years I picked up songs I still love to play, met hundreds of other musicians and learned some lessons that will stick with me during my whole life.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all dramatic and tell you there’s no happy life without music and that learning the violin is the only right thing to do.
Anything you do with your life has pro’s and con’s. And violin is definitely not the “easiest” hobby to spend your time on. It requires a lot of work and dedication.
But I will say: picking up the violin was one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. And I wouldn’t take it back.
Here are some of the unexpected lessons that I’ve learned and some of the ways I have grown.
1. Time + Patience = Results
We often want to improve our life, whether that’s getting fitter, learning to play an instrument better, getting more successful at our job.
And many times, we don’t want to wait for these results. We want results instantly.
Learning the violin teaches you the beauty of time and patience.
It teaches you that if you have to trust that results will come if you keep working on something and if you stay patient.
This helped me with many things: learning languages, going to the gym and building my violin teaching business Violinspiration.
Many of the most beautiful things in life, don’t come to you immediately. You have to work hard it at and trust it will come to you with time.
2. Seeing anything you do as practice
One of the most beautiful things of playing the violin is learning to really understand what it really means to practice.
No, I don’t mean to find better practice strategies to improve your playing.
I mean, to have the “practice attitude” in your life.
What is the practice attitude? Here’s an example:
Let’s take my job, teaching the violin.
I could have the following attitude
I’m a teacher at violin. I’m really good at playing and teaching violin. I’m giving really good lessons. I can’t make any mistakes. I feel ashamed if someone found out I made a mistake.
Firstly, that gives pressure, and secondly there’s not much room for improvement if I’m perfect already.
I could also have the practice attitude.
In that case, I would say to myself: “I’m practicing to be a teacher”
If you’re having this attitude, you don’t get as annoyed if things don’t work out perfectly. After all, it’s just practice. And now you can feel excited about improving the thing that didn’t went well.
If you don’t assume you’re perfect at it, you’re always looking for small things to improve. And that makes my job into a constant adventure for me, where I can learn, grow, and improve myself every single day.
This helps to see things more lightly and you even get a way better teacher.
I am currently practicing many things in my life, such as
- being a teacher
- running a business
- being in a relationship
- being a good friend
- taking care of my health
I’m getting better at it.
3. There is no success without failure
When we fail at something important to us, whether in relationships, at school, or at work, it can be very painful.
In our society, there are many unhealthy ways to deal with failure. We discount the importance of the thing we failed at (“oh, I didn’t care about it anyway”). We blame other people. We say we’re “never lucky”.
In the short time, these ways of dealing with failures may feel good, but probably we won’t learn from our mistakes in this way.
And even worse, we might avoid to do the things we could fail at.
… quitting your job to start your passion business
… moving to another country on your own
… starting a new fitness routine
because it’s so painful to try so hard and to fail.
Learning the violin helps you to see that there is no success without failure.
It teaches you that failure is the only way to get better.
You need to fail, in order to be successful at something.
It taught me, that if you fail, it means you are trying
And to be trying, is something to be proud upon.
This helps you to step outside of my comfort zone. And to do things you are (really) afraid of.
With every failure, you’re moving in the right direction.