January 30, 2012
Any weekend golfer will tell you that golf has the potential to be one of the most frustrating games. Even though it seems like you are doing the exact same motion each time you drive, chip, or putt the ball, you get wildly different results. (The game is so frustrating sometimes that there's a joke about its name, "Why is it called 'golf'?" "Because ***k was taken.")
One of the motivating things that keeps weekend duffers coming back through all the frustrations is the once-in-a-while perfect shot. You step up to the ball and make the seemingly the same set of motions you always make and instead of the ball going off into the lake or trees it flies straight and long and true and lands perfectly where you wanted it. One good shot keeps you coming back for weeks.
Now, I'm not saying that leaning to play the cello is like playing golf. Yes there are frustrations, especially as an otherwise accomplished adult, but the rewards are greater. Visible and aural progress happens and things that used to be frustrating fade away. Some are replaced by new frustrations, but by and large you progress.
Still it is wonderful to get unexpected praise during your lesson. Two weeks ago I started in the Schröder étude book and I deliberately forced myself to use the metronome with each and every piece right from the start. Today in my lesson I played numbers 5 and 7 for David. After finishing number five, during which he wandered around the studio listening, he turned to me and said, "I'm shocked! I have absolutely nothing to say about that piece."
Music to my ears.