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Violin "Ego" Lessons


Violin “Ego” Lessons
By Jean Harper

The Ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear. – Deepak Chopra

As long as I can remember I have loved violin music. There is nothing like beautiful violin music to float away with.  I can close my eyes and imagine myself playing.  I see myself in the clouds, just playing a way, without missing a note.

This video below sort of sums it up. 

When I was 10 years old I decided I wanted to learn how to play the violin.  After a few months of lessons, my violin teacher said to me, “I think you should take up the clarinet.”  I knew what he meant by that, he was just frustrated that I wasn’t picking it up as fast as he would have liked.  Being the sweet little girl that I was, I started learning to play the clarinet and after a few hundred times of playing “The Marine’s Hymn”, I quit!  When I think of the song and the words below—I can still hear my screeching clarinet playing along:

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Who wouldn’t quit after having to play that over and over!  I don’t like to fight and I have never been a Marine!  At ten years old, it just didn’t interest me, and after playing it from my bedroom each evening, my mother was happy to hear I was giving it up!

Something changed in me after that. If someone tried to tell me what to do or not to do something, I would rebel and do it anyway.  I was never bad but I just couldn’t be told what to do and just be obedient. To this day I don’t like to have someone bark orders at me; I just go deaf and don’t hear anything other than this little voice in my head saying, “No one is going to tell me what to do.”  While I have gotten better, it is always a struggle when someone tries to boss me around.  For me, it is all about how it comes across. My Guru- Dr. Dalia Adams once told me, “Say what you mean, just don’t say it mean.”  I love that!  I try to remember her words when I get upset and want to tell someone off for being disrespectful.

Recently it occurred to me that all of this rebellion over being told what to do is really about the ego.  When I think about it, when someone tells me to do something—are they asking or telling?  That is key for me.  If they ask with respect, I am good with that.  If they ask with a sort of “tone” then the hairs come up on the back of my neck.  I can handle it, I can hold it in, but it takes a little work.  I think it just goes back to my violin teacher who in essence was telling me I was not capable of playing the violin.  Of course I know that’s not true now, but the ego has had fun with that little violin lesson over the years.

One of the best things about getting older is the lessons we have learned. If I could go back to age 10, I would pick up the violin and learn to play.  If my teacher asked me to learn the clarinet, I would just find a new teacher!

Then, this could just be me. View video below:



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