My dearest disciples, I have to start by saying that the world of music is more academic than you think. You cannot just play your favorite songs after one lesson, you have to study and commit for some time. Practicing and studying will make you unenthusiastic about music after a while. Not because you are a bad artist or have no talent, but because that’s what happen when you do something for a living or for a long time. Routine kills novelty.
I see some of you come for the first time to my studio with radiant eyes, eager to rock at the violin. Three weeks later I notice a difference, and two months later I feel you would have rather stayed home watching movies and playing video games.
But because I know how it will all go; I am ready to tackle “the problem” according to your own needs. Each of you gives me a different challenge. But despite any individual work, my main challenge is to help you realize the joy of being an artist. There is something that makes what we do magical; and you’ll discover it if you stick with it.
Now, I will tell you a little secret: I, too, have to sometimes motivate myself in order to motivate you; yes, I am human. Yes, even teachers feel like not working. Some days I would like to stay home and work on my personal projects, workout and plan my future—I still have goals, by the way. But no! I cannot do that! Life is not about me or my feelings. My life is not the only one orbiting the sun, there is yours also and my other students, and as a team (like the first and second violin section of an orchestra) we must think as one, we must move, breathe and behave for the well being of the ensemble—not individually.
As the leader of our small empire, I am in command, but I cannot do it all. You need to practice and support me and your teammates. When you don’t practice, we have to practice in the lesson, we cannot grow (as fast), and everything I had prepared will have to wait for next week. In other words, I stole your money or your parents’ money for doing something you could’ve done alone. On top of that I lose motivation. I don’t want to practice in your lesson; I want to teach you new things. When I teach you, I remind myself of details I will use later in my own practice time. It’s amazing, I learn too. But when you don’t do your work, I’m only there for the money not for the art. The sooner you understand that we are a team and not each an individual entity, the faster will be our progress as artists.
Look, I’m willing to motivate myself to motivate you—no problem with that. I will get ready for YOUR individual needs. I will study you. I will analyze your views of life and music and then I will prepare a dynamic lesson to convince you that every effort is worth taking. When you come unmotivated for normal reasons of life, I will cheer you up with understanding and support. I will take an interest in your life so that you consider me a friend; a friend who teaches you the abstract ambit of being alive.
Many things will get in the way, but remember, I am present. I said yes to the challenge and I showed up. For years I burned my eyelashes working hard to reach my personal goals in this amazing field of music. And now I want to promote it and teach others, like you, the benefits of my profession—of making art. And because I learned that doing the things you don’t feel like NOW, pays off sooner than later, I may push you to work harder. But you are not alone; I’m also working hard now, after two professional degrees.
I cannot control you, and I don’t intent to, but I can inspire you to take a road of fulfillment. The one road I discovered with my mentors, those who guided me the same way I’m trying to guide you. All I am asking is for you to commit to your art and work every day. As a young musician you cannot do more than that. Time will give you some very valuable gifts in the years to come, only if you believe and trust your mentors.
This letter took time and effort, but will you read it? I don’t know. What I know is that I showed up. And if you do the same, it is my experience that great things are waiting for you. Let’s join forces for the well being of our team and we will succeed as individuals.