the third level

As I continue to develop as a violinist, my teacher says more and more of the game becomes mental. In fact, it becomes more about “am I going to confidently approach this or am I going to psych myself out?”

Last night, I had an encounter. It was a friendly jam. But my competitive streak came out with a vengeance. We were on my turf. I was the actor, it was my stage, the audience knew me, I was wearing the costume, I knew all the melodies and accompaniments to the Christmas carols. I also had his admiration and respect so he was just interested in playing on his instrument instead of mine.

As we continued playing, he brought up his volume and I brought up mine. An audience assembled. I pushed myself to match his shifts and arpeggiation. An hour later, we didn’t want to stop. We were in another world, constructed both individually and jointly.

In theater, we call this “synergy.” Two becoming greater than the sum of their parts. Our lines dived and ducked, soared and weaved, crescendoed and rallied together to create something that held the audience spellbound.

This, this is what I want to be able to do with the violin! As I continue my violin studies, I want to take people’s breath away. I want to give them flights of ecstasy, I want to create music that would not exist in quite the same way if I did not create it.

A musician I spoke to today said this is the third level. He was the second person I moved to tears today.


About Shelly Crouse-Monarez

Violin Performer and Mentor
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