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The Eternal Student

We never stop learning.

Students will often ask me how many Suzuki books there are.  I'll tell them there are ten violin books.  And then they'll follow it up by asking something along the lines of what happens after book ten (like it's stopping point or something).  I tell them I've been playing for over twenty years and I still don't know every piece there is to know on the violin.

I think the fact that you can study it your whole life and still only scratch the surface is one of the coolest aspects of music.  You could even play a single piece your whole life and still find ways to perform it more beautifully.

Therein lies a difficult lesson.  There is a very thin but important line between being proud of your accomplishments yet always striving for more.  Perfection is both an unwanted and unreasonable goal.  It's impossible to play a piece perfectly.  Even if you were a robot and hit every note with mechanical accuracy, the piece would lack emotional depth.

But it is important to have the internal standard of always striving for more.  Wanting to make something better or wanting to push yourself to higher levels is completely different from demanding perfection.  We cannot grow if we do not demand more of ourselves.

Which means that we should always be proud of our accomplishments.  We cannot be where we are now without having accomplished certain things in the past.  Everyone needs to work through a Twinkle at some point.  And when we perform a piece, it's an accomplishment to know that we are performing that piece as best we can right now.

However, a performance is not a stopping point.  We don't just stop learning.  The desire to improve should always be there so that way the next performance will be even better.


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