Sunday Musings

Sundays are often one of my favorite days of the week. It’s a time to review the previous week and measure where I am on my goals.

Like every violinist, I always promise to practice more. But the exciting part is that I’ve developed rapidly with very targeted practice.

The 2 international tours have certainly motivated me. They’ve given me a focus. The big story this year has been the lessons I’ve learned teaching and performing. I am grateful that I have had one mentor step forth in each area: solo violin (my violin teacher), teaching (a fellow fiddler and tenured teacher) and orchestral violin (my conductor). In the past year I have been very fortunate to have a number of other very persistent friends step forward to give me their wise counsel in teaching, in business, and in motivation.

I am looking forward to an amazing year ahead. It will entail hard work and focus, but I have some great minds working with me. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the support of my friends, fans and life family. It is your love that has encouraged me to seek out these mentors.

I am on a short break retooling my life to be more in line with my artistic goals. I am preparing to move, giving up a pricey apartment to spend half that rent on lessons, saving for a new violin, saving for conservatory, paying bills, taking care of some medical goals and saving for a travel budget. I am also looking for work to finance these objectives.

I am taking this time to physically recuperate from what I have discovered is a bit more travel than is optimal for me. It falls under the category of “you never know until you try.” And I’ve been running into a lot of “good problems to have” this year. Also known as “when it rains, it pours.”

So, as I embark upon my next trip around the sun, I do so with a palpable sense of excitement. Looking forward to a journey of self discovery and enlightenment.

Last night, I performed at an event where I was to play Irish fiddle music. My focus for the last year has been classical violin. Last year, my focus was orchestral chops. The last decade has been enough songs to keep the dancers happy in each genre. It has been 6 years since I spent 2 years assembling Irish tunes.

Last night, I had no idea it would be an event longer than 2 hours. I had no sheet music. Each time I finished one tune, I would inhale, exhale and listen to James Joyce for inspiration. I would then play the next tune that came to mind. As the night continued, I became concerned that I would run out. But each time, I amazed myself with another tune.

Last night taught me what a reservoir of experience I have. It taught me that I am capable of far more than I give myself credit for. Southern Fair taught me that too, being able to pull off an entire new genre of music in performance from sheet music. Bulgaria taught me that I know more, can play more and learn more than I ever dreamed.

It’s a grand lesson to learn.
I am humbled by the enormity of it.

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About Shelly Crouse-Monarez

Violin Performer and Mentor
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