Keep Moving Forward

Lost in a sea of black and white ink, the melodious tone of the violin echoes throughout the music hall. My fingers dance across the fingerboard as I focus intently on the piece in front of me. One slip of my fingers and it feels as if the whole flow of the music is disrupted. Music has taught me that despite many mistakes, one must keep moving forward, otherwise progress is impossible.

As an eight year old, I was swinging my legs back and forth because they didn't quite reach the floor while I sat and waited to go into my first violin lesson. The teacher called my name and I jumped up enthusiastically. Although the lesson was hard and I made many mistakes, my teacher explained to me that when one falters, he or she must continue moving forward in order to advance. I nodded, smiled, packed up my things and left, eager to come back the following week, not fully understanding the significance of what she had said.

At a mere ten years old, I had the privilege to go watch world renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, in action when my parents surprised me with tickets. He was fantastic. Although I thought the night could not have gotten any better, somehow it did. After the show, I waited in line with my dad to get Bell's autograph and he signed my CD. I asked him how much he practiced at my age and he said about 40 minutes to an hour a day. He also told me not to get discouraged and to keep going even if playing gets tough. From that day forward, I became even more focused and driven to succeed.

Despite being focused and determined, I had a major set back at around age 15, while I was preparing a piece for a big audition. The music was above my playing level at the time and I did not enjoy myself at all while playing it, so I just decided not to practice at all. The frustration was just too much for me to handle. I gave up. It wasn't until a week or two later when I heard a song by Joshua Bell and the memories of that night came flooding back. In my head, I heard the voices of Joshua Bell and my first violin teacher telling me to keep moving forward, so I picked up my violin and tried again. This time I worked hard and got it prepared for the audition.

I have found that life parallels music in the sense that if I make a mistake, whether it be in life or music, I must keep moving forward in hopes of improvement. I learned this lesson at eight years old with my first violin teacher and I see evidence of its truth throughout my life. Music is a big part of my life and has taught me lessons that will last a lifetime.





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