Is that your expert opinion?

I keep thinking I should write a post about auditions. My casual readers won’t care at all, but musician readers would care. I’m not the Bulletproof Musician though—I don’t have any real advice for you—I haven’t shown tremendous success in the audition world—and I don’t consider myself an expert on auditioning. But I think that’s part of the charm of my blog: I don’t pretend to be an expert on things that I am NOT an expert on. (Many do. I think this is a big problem with the world—too many “experts” and too little actual knowledge.)

What do I consider myself an expert on? 

Well…I’m starting to feel that way about teaching violin.  The more I do it (going on what, 15 years or so now?) the more I feel like I’m starting to know what I’m doing. You say, what, that’s ridiculous, of course you’re already an expert on violin teaching. I say, I am learning every day. I learn from my students what works, what doesn’t work. I learn from talking to other teachers. I learn by reading a couple of blogs and journals. I learn from taking workshops and classes. I will likely never consider myself to be an expert, because I consider myself a constant student. But I do know that I am a better teacher NOW than at any point in the past and that I will only continue to grow. So check back—maybe in two years I’ll say, yeah I’m an expert violin teacher.

I’m really good at playing for weddings. I still get a little stressed about timing and I’m no expert at dealing with brides—I do my best, but people don’t always respond well to me—I tend to have a dry sense of humor and sometimes my efforts to calm people down don’t work! I have a fantastic smile though and often people respond well to that 😉 That said, I’m great at playing the music, I’m great at keeping an eye out for cues and knowing when to start and stop.

I used to be a really good orchestral player. Or at least I thought I was. I probably still am—I just don’t get as much of an opportunity these days. I’m great at playing in a section and I’m a darn good concertmaster for Winter Opera St Louis.  Expert? I’m always improving.

I guess it depends on the definition of expert.  Merriam Webster says the definition of expert is: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. 

By that definition, I’m definitely an expert violinist and violin teacher. I have special skills AND knowledge.  Maybe I’m an audition expert too? I’ve certainly participated in enough to consider myself one, and playing for a judge has been a skill I’ve used since I was a young girl, both for violin and piano.

Maybe I’m afraid if I say “expert” that I’ll sit on my haunches and think no one has anything else to teach me? I’m an avid reader (as you know) and I’m constantly looking for more information about life, the universe and everything…I often feel that many people lack the intense intellectual curiosity that I have, but that might just be me thinking I’m smarter than a lot of people.  (I do think that but I’m especially tickled when I realize a friend really is smarter than me!)

So what do you think? Can I consider myself an expert but also admit that I have tons more to learn? I’m sure I can, but I’m hesitant to do so. Or I just have low self-esteem 😉

Really though, we have so many self-proclaimed “experts” in the world.  You see it on other blogs, you see it in the mainstream media. How many of those people are truly experts? Very few! Most just seem to like to hear themselves talk.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like to read my own writing, which is very similar, but I’m not pretending to be something I’m not.

All that said—I should write some audition posts. I know some readers have asked questions about my most recent experience (which is STILL very raw) and my past experiences…maybe I’ll add that to my blog “to do list”.



2 thoughts on “Is that your expert opinion?”

  1. Based on the dictionary’s definition of an expert, you could definitely call yourself an expert. Look at it this way, even an “expert” is still learning. I’m starting to think I don’t even like the term/word expert. Why? Everything changes SO much in the world that how can someone be an expert at something, right?

    P.S. I didn’t know you play the piano too. That’s fantastic! I taught myself to play the piano when I was 10. Sadly, I don’t play too much any more. Partly because I don’t own a piano. 🙂
    Ara recently posted…Count Your Many BlessingsMy Profile

  2. As a child, I distinctly recall reading this quote that, I believe, is from James Thurber and was reprinted in the Reader’s Digest (gack), and,at the time, I found it hilarious:

    “x” is a variable meaning ‘unknown,’ and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure. An expert, therefore, is ‘an unknown drip under pressure.’

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