Time is a luxury that we have less and less of as our lives pass
When I was studying viola at the Curtis Institute with Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet, he always insisted that we work through each bar of every piece together in great detail. We questioned everything: possible fingerings and bowings, the technical difficulties, the colour and more. I found it frustrating and slow. In the midst of one particularly intense lesson, Michael told me: “I need you to practise thoughtfully as much as you can now. If you attain even half of the success you want, you will never have time to practise like this again. Time is a luxury that we have less and less of as our lives pass. If you don’t get a complete and deep grasp of making music on the viola now, you’ll always be struggling to keep afloat.” From that day forward, I spent a lot more time practising. More than that, I asked myself questions constantly.