Stepping out of Comfort Zone…
As a classically trained violinist, there’s an endless list of repertoire to pursue as well as relentless desire to perfect one’s technique and craft. The excuse that classically trained musicians cannot improvise is glossed over by the fact that one’s practice sessions are targeted at diligently polishing our technical and musical facility with specific goals in mind.
I’ve spent many years practicing to be better at what I do, and indeed, deep practice does successfully translate to facility. However, there was some part of me that felt missing. I was furiously searching for repertoire I felt entirely captivated by and through those pieces expressed music and emotions. These pieces were a rarity as well, and they were mostly underperformed repertoire. Many pieces in the standard repertoire has been played to death and recorded by hundreds of concert violinists, performed by thousands and played by ten thousand violinists.
The violin had become such a huge part of my identity but I was not using it to express myself. After years of cultivating my technique, I felt like I needed to break out of my comfort zone of merely interpreting notes on the page written by another musician. Of course, through my journey as a musician I have made “baby” attempts to break out comfort zone, but there was never enough time (will there ever be?) to explore further. Now at the tail end of my DMA degree, I realised that if not now, then when? In school there’s still an aspect of learning and mistakes made may still be over-looked which gives me more reason to push myself to explore an alternative voice.
The first week of this exploration has been remarkably breathtaking. Although this task can seem overwhelming, setting boundaries and taking tiny steps has been fulfilling. At this point, I cannot conceive the journey I have started to take and its result, but I embark on this path full of anticipation.