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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

August , 2019
Summer Holiday’s Special Training

Every August, there is a memory that I always recall.
It is the special training that I had, in the summer when I was 15 years old.
It suddenly occurred to me that “I only have one summer of 15 years old”, nothing really special but somehow, I felt it strongly and it seemed to me that I had discovered something new and I quickly started planning my schedule for my summer holidays.
I looked at the hands of the clock, as though I was staring at an hourglass, and planned my schedule for every 5 minutes. For me at the time, “Summer of 15 years old” was so precious and I couldn’t bear losing any second and minute of my time.
It was of course, for practicing the violin.
I wanted to spare as much time as possible for practicing.
One obvious reason was the “The Music Competition of Japan”. The youngest age permitted to participate in the competition was 15 years old.
I was already running around for concerts as I had made my debut as a professional violinist at the age of 12, but I really wanted to participate in this “Oncon” from when I was much younger, as it was considered as the gateway to success for violinists.
However, my teacher, Mr. Toshiya Eto said no, shaking his head, frowning.
“It will be a big trouble if you fail” he said in a womanly way. (He often used feminine words)
“If you are participating in that competition, there is no way other than winning first prize, but that is a difficult task. You really need to stand out, and you look too childish. The way you look can be a disadvantage.” Convinced by my teacher’s words, I made up my mind to make the best efforts to my limits and to challenge the competition.
I wrote up my plans on a pie chart for my school week and the weekends. On weekdays, I had to go to school so was only able to spend 4 hours for practicing but on weekends I could spare 14 hours. I had to sleep for 8 hours, so the remaining 2 hours were spent for 3 meals and a bath and a short time for resting.
I was only able to do that as I was so young, 15 years old.
I was exhausted every day but in fact, I felt exhilarated and enjoyed myself with the sense of achievement. In your teens, you can make remarkable progress. It was so fun as you could tell that your skills were improving day by day and in the next day, you were able to play the phrase that you couldn’t play the day before.
As a result, I was able to win the competition, as the youngest winner ever.
I felt relieved, having fulfilled my obligations, rather than feeling totally happy. Moreover, the most precious thing that I had earned from this experience was the special training that I went through that summer following my own plans.
I have never had a summer holiday devoted to the violin as in that summer at 15 years old.
I was modestly proud of myself, that I was able to go through that tough training and since, the confidence lays deep down somewhere inside me.
When August comes, I remember that summer scene.
Every August, I feel that I must find a new target and aim high for it.
Something that I can do at my best, every day, this year too.