Foundational Ideas of FiddleQuest

The Hills of Biking and Music

I live in a part of Oregon, where you can’t go for a bike ride without encountering a long, steep hill.

When I was younger, I hated climbing hills. It took way too much time and effort. The pleasure of barreling down the trail was so much more fun.

Now I love the climb. I love the feeling of pushing myself up the hill. The strength and patience it requires. The quiet that exists as I move forward slowly.

What happened? My fear of not making it up the hill and my fear of discomfort, grew into confidence and anticipation of the downhill fun.

One of the ways I grew my confidence was knowing when to stop climbing and turn around to enjoy the ride downhill. I use that same idea in teaching.

My violin students determine when they complete a song. They are done when their song is at ‘jamming level’ — that is, when they feel confident they can play it with friends and for friends.

Some students insist on working the piece to a high standard. Others take the song to a lower standard. In both cases, they get to say when they are at the top of their climb and are ready to enjoy the ride down.

The point is not to gut it out to the top of the mountain, but that they keep riding everyday, build their strength and enjoy the ride up and down the hill.