Disclaimer: English as a second language article! :) Some letters, words, and punctuation might not be in the right place. :) I apologize for any inconvenience.
This article is dedicated to my University professor: Serban Nichifor
Here I go...
Looking at a violin we see the beautiful shape, the craftsmanship, and the mystery which lies in it. And although the instrument might scream: “I can be anything! I can play in any hands, I can be what you want me to be!”, we often associate it with classical music and with the strict rules and elite audiences. And that is why some people want to stay away. “Away from what?” you might ask. Away from the violin world in general. Make sure you dress well when you go to a concert. Don’t dare to cough, they will look weird at you, close your eyes and follow the music. Did you like the first movement of Beethoven the 5th symphony? Don’t even dare to clap! It would mean you don’t even know the music and you are being rude. But look at the musicians on the stage! They all wear black. Are they at a funeral? Well, no, they just follow some old type rules where the musician himself/herself is not important. Important is the music. So, as a musician, do not dare to put a spark of color and distract the audience from listening to the amazing melodies of Schoenberg. No, no!
Well, we are not built the same. Some of us crave more freedom in expressing ourselves when playing or listening.
My first teacher almost made me give up. He would hurt my left hand with a pencil because I was not keeping it in the right position. He did not understand... Pressure and physical pain are not on the same page with dreams, hopes, and passions. Needless to say, I moved to another teacher. She was nice and I fell in love with the violin. But she did not insist on creating excellent habits. When I grew and I decided to become a professional violinist, I had to move to a more experienced teacher. Again, this particular teacher was acting in a way that I could not handle. He was screaming, swearing, and putting me down. He even broke his violin in front of one of my colleagues in a moment of anger. She left the music school and she changed her profession because of this teacher. Instead of giving up, I chose to move again. But my new teacher was not inspiring enough. and I did not grow too much. I lost a little bit of the spark I had. But I continued to practice my skill and follow the violin path. And I am glad I did.
The way classical music is taught is very strict. You have to follow the style of the era, the subtle nuances, and all the technical details. Rules on top of rules. I felt lost and trapped. I felt that although I had an amazing opportunity in my hands, I could not dream anymore. I was in a cage.
The University years were very interesting. My chamber-music professor changed the way I play and understand music. He was very knowledgeable but very free. He taught me that music is a bird that flies in the sky, not a parrot in a golden cage. I learned that music doesn’t have to be strict, full of rules, and golden wires that keep you from becoming your highest self. He made me believe in myself, I fell in love with violin again and I grew wings to fly. I graduated and became a professional violinist. A free one that doesn’t believe in boundaries. This article is dedicated to him.
I am myself in my playing and I want my students to be the same. I will teach them the “rules” but I will not cut their wings. I will enforce building good habits, but I will not put them down. My goal is not to create robots, but to inspire human beings.
And even if I wear black when I am on the concert stage, my eyes spark with all the colors of the rainbow. Because THE SECRET lies deep inside of me. And honestly? I always wish that someone will clap after the first movement of a concerto or a symphony. I do! Because that person came to the music hall with all the joy in their heart.
As a professional violinist, I beg you: Please come! Even if you wear jeans and you have no idea about the program. Just come! Clap and let them look weird at you. Sitting on the stage, I will smile. And you will be my favorite person in the audience that evening! Because you came with a pure heart and because you know the secret. That music has no rules, no boundaries, and no weirdness in it. It just is. And it is for everybody!!!
***Paint your life with music***