The Fine Points of our Profession

My father used to tell me that a good book is read every 10 – 15 years. The reason he gave was that with time we read the book with ‘new eyes’. Our life experiences make us read further into the book, see elements we may have overlooked before.

After many years I am currently reading a book by Leopold Auer, the foremost violin pedagogue at the turn of the 19th-20th century. He raised a whole new generation of violinists, Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman who defined violin playing and are up to today looked up to by most violinists.

In his book,’Violin Playing As i Teach It’, Auer in his own words, ‘gives the serious teacher and violin student the practical benefit of t he knowlwdge acquired during a long life devoted to playing and teaching the violin’. As a student this book was my Bible. I analysed, reread the chapters on how to develop violin technique, learn new music etc.
But now, I discovered a chapter in the book that at the time seemed superfluous. Auer writes about ‘the feeling of the professional man for the detail of his profession. Not only is it necessary to know the technical aspects, details but grasp the fine points of his/her art and comprehend all the shades.’

Looking around me, I realized that those of us who do possess this feeling make the difference, take the step from ordinary to extraordinary.

Do you think this can make the difference in your professional life? Do you grasp the fine points of your profession?

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