Practice Logged: 231 hours + 35 minutes
A less-than-obvious challenge has been mounting over the last few months of my musical education and yet it was something I could not wholly articulate until a few days ago.
In fact, it was another project and the effort to create a backing track for my running video that drew attention to the notion in my mind.
I recorded ten minutes of footage of my run, and edited it into a first-person “let’s run” video.
I recorded a ten minute narration track and overdubbed that into the video, creating a let’s run “vlog” video.
And then it occurred to me to record ten minutes of gentle violin music and to layer that at about 20% volume into the background of my let’s run vlog video.
The running footage was solid. The narration turned it into something (I think) interesting. The violin made it unwatchable.
It’s not that I played wrong (or as the title of these posts implies, scratchy) but just putting the notes in the right order does not good music make.
I didn’t think much more of it until my recent lesson when, having nailed the fingering for a Bach Musette to about 95% consistent perfection, my teacher basically said: “you’ve got the notes down, now you just need to make it sound good.”
There is a science of making music, and it comes down to chords and timing and harmony. But there is also an art to making music, and it comes down to drawing the emotion and feeling from the technical pieces. As Karin put it, it’s why listening to a middle school band drives you crazy: they may get most of the notes, but the music is largely functional.
Thus, the not-so-obvious (or maybe it is completely obvious) challenge that I start to face in this process of learning to play this instrument. I can read music. And I can turn all the lines and splots of ink on my sheet music into sounds by holding the right strings on my violin. But is it actually music? More vitally, is it good music? And how do I take all those sounds and make it into good music if it isn’t already?
Maybe the challenge is obvious. The solution probably isn’t.