"The trick to playing second fiddle is to play it like second Stradivarius." ~ Robert Brault
My friend shared a clip yesterday. The diminutive violinist seen here is Soo-Been Lee, competing in the final round of the Menuhin Competition. The ten-day music festival was held last week in Beijing and features 42 outstanding violinists from around the world. These competitors are all under the age of 22.
The amazing thing about this performance is not that Soo-Been Lee is 11 years old; it’s that she came in 2nd place. I think she’s incomparable. I wonder what she thinks?
A dramatic example chosen to prove a point. About comparing. It’s easy to see what you’re not. Can you turn down the volume on your inner critic and take comfort in knowing that you’re perfect right where you are?
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could show our kids how to comfort themselves in a positive way? If there is pain let's treat it rather than hide it. How about making a first aid kit of healthy comforts? With music we all have the best way to soothe our sorrow.
With my recent marriage and the stress of combining our households I found myself cooking a lot more comfort food. The change in routines had us all weary and on edge at the same time. The plans, the excitement, the anticipation gave way to deadlines and disruptions. I felt fussy and out of sorts. Let down and lost. Not sure what to do next I turned to mushy foods. Did I forget that I can comfort myself?
I think about the warm pulse of my newborn child against my skin. After the overwhelming emotions of childbirth he comforted me as I sang to him. My mother remembered my grandmother playing the piano in the evenings so long ago. She and her sister whirled around the living room, little girls awash in the music. A turntable and a pair of headphones eased the lonely childhood of my first husband. These comforting rituals all rely on the vibrations of music.
The vibrations of the world embrace us before we're born. We're all tuned to a living vibration. We respond to pulse, rhythm and breath because it's our life force. It's no mistake that the instruments we play correspond to our bodies--strings vibrate with living energy, winds are the breath of life and percussion is the beating of our hearts. What better way to comfort ourselves than with music?
A blues recording played again and again, a childhood lullaby or a plaintive melody you perform for yourself can all be a salve in heartsick times. As a teacher it's fascinating to me how many students respond to music written in a minor key. The sad music helps us reach the unspoken feelings that are deep inside. It can give a voice to our sorrows. And it can offer comfort.
I have fewer gloomy days now. My new husband and I are talking about the tough stuff instead of hiding it. I'm choosing more hot baths and lavender and less macaroni and cheese. And I'm turning to music. Alone in my studio I pick up my viola, play a simple melody and feel the soothing vibrations of the universe.