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Rebecca Raney - The Reckless Violinist

From Zero to Mozart in a Year: The Secret to Success

Published almost 2 years ago • 1 min read

During the last few weeks, I’ve been drafting, scripting, cutting clips and laying down the backing tracks for my one-year violin progress reel.

The “violin progress” genre is a big deal on YouTube, so I wanted to get it right.

As I pieced together a narrative, I thought about all the factors that took me from a complete loss of skills to a passable rendition of Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto.

What was one the biggest factors?

It’s . . . you. It’s the audience – particularly the subscribers to the newsletter.

Because I was playing to a highly interested audience, I didn’t stop.

Here’s the progress reel. In my first outline, I divided the endeavor into four phases:

Fear. Obsession. Exhaustion. Success.

What was the biggest non-musical thing I learned?

I discovered the pitfalls in my approach to work.

In the second month, called “the Brindisi Breakdown” in the video, I saw that I’m still willing to run myself into the ground to get things right. That footage shows the night that I locked myself into a room for two hours until I played an aria from Verdi without a glitch.

In the sixth month, when the project started running me down, I tried something completely new. I took a break.

Interestingly, my playing still improved during that time, even though I wasn’t practicing much – which leads me to believe that I wasn’t learning to play, as much as rehabilitating old skills. It’s like those neurons kept going, even when I didn’t.

I hope that you’ll continue to join me as I move into more challenging literature in the next year.

After 12 months, the channel is finally collecting enough data for me to see what the YouTube audience wants.

I’m planning to make more videos that interpret important pieces, like the video on Shostakovich below, as well as videos that demonstrate violin skills.

We’ll also be hearing more from the Audition Coach – even though those videos appeal to maybe 10 people. I’ve never been one to bend to the tyranny of the mob, and I enjoy making them too much to stop.

That said, thank you all for joining me! You’re the critical component for success.

Rebecca Raney - The Reckless Violinist

Respectable journalist. Terrible waitress. Reckless Violinist. Noir novelist. Longtime contributor at The New York Times. Sign up to follow my cross-platform project about money, merit and music in the turmoil of America.

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