Trying Something New for Thirty Days

I have been a classically-trained, privately-instructed, passionate violinist for almost eighteen years. I have traveled around the world, studied seriously throughout my undergrad years, and spent countless hours practicing, preparing, and performing. I also currently play in a professional symphony, with an opera company, and try to pick up additional gigs where I can. To say music has significantly shaped me as a person and brought me enormous joy and fulfillment would be a sad understatement.

Me as a fairy angel violin biker girl, Ashland Farmers Market, 2011

But I still struggle to practice.

I’m sure there are a variety of reasons why it has always been difficult to sit down with my violin: when I was younger it was a rebellion against my poor parents who “made” me continue (sorry Mom and Dad), I find it easy to become distracted while practicing, various upper body pains, busy life, lack of opportunities, the intense, off-putting demand for perfection among classical violinists…the list could go on.

Enter Matt Cutts and his 30-Day Challenge. I just watched his TED Talk this morning and was inspired to try something new with something old: to practice at least 20 minutes every single day for 30 days. I can assure you I’ve never practiced 30 days straight in my entire life. I can assure you this will be difficult for me and I’ll want to skip days or practice 40 minutes one day to make up for my zero minutes the day before. I can assure you that even though 20 minutes seems like a very short amount of time, the consistency of my practice will pay off enormously.

My goals are to feel more comfortable with my instrument, improve my intonation and sight-reading ability, prepare myself thoroughly (before the first rehearsal!) for our upcoming symphony concert, and develop a routine that exercises my mind, body, and heart! I’m excited to share this with my little blogging community here. Even if only a few people are aware of my undertaking, the fact that I am putting my intentions out formally to the world will keep me more honest. Thank you, as always, for reading.

Here’s Matt’s video, if you aren’t one of the 3.9 million viewers who hasn’t seen it yet:

Try Something New for Thirty Days!


  1. That’s really cool of you. I’m glad you completed this challenge. I don’t really have a good sense of what practicing does for an already-practiced musician (since I can’t really play anything proper-like), but I imagine it stops the plateau or something. Keep it up, Wilbur. In every way possible, skillz pay the billz.

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