I haven't written about my violin studies lately, but I've been coming along. Yesterday, I had a sort of "test" to pass from Book 1 to Book 2, and I passed. I gather in the old days, a student wanting to pass had to make a recording and send it to Dr. Suzuki to get his approval to move on. And even today, I think little kids often have to do a recital of some stuff.
I had none of that. Instead, my teacher (Strings) had me do the final song in Book 1, plus a song of my choosing from Book 1, and a song she chose from Book 1. And I also had gotten to start on the first song of Book 2, which is from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus. I practiced and practiced them for a couple of weeks (while Strings was out of town on vacation), and yesterday, I played them pretty darned well (for me).
During my last lesson, I was so nervous that I was shaking. Really. I was playing the last piece from Book 1, and I wanted it to be good, and for some reason I was just nervous as all get out. And, of course, that made my playing way worse.
So we talked a bit about nerves and playing, and some strategies.
I asked her if I am progressing okay, and Strings assured me that I'm doing really well.
I hadn't quite believed her, but I just looked over the posts I made earlier this year about learning violin, and I really have learned a whole lot and improved tons. Just playing the notes was really hard. It's still hard, but now the hardness is trying to sound right, and to play in tune, and to be musical.
About the nerves: I talked to my niece, who is heading off to college to study [kazoo] (remember Terminal Degree used to blog about being a kazoo prof?), and who's played a fair number of recitals, concerts, and even a solo concerto with her high school orchestra. And she was able to offer me some helpful advice, which I can't repeat, quite, but along the lines of you prepare, and it's going to happen, so you prepare to make it happen the way you want it to happen. It was nice to get her advice.
So, I'd been preparing (except for the camping trip), and I played my program, and Strings congratulated me, and got me started on the next piece! So that's exciting!
I started playing AD&D in college, and have played various games since, so the idea of leveling in violin amuses me a bit. So now I'm a level 2 violinist!