This is a true story. When I was about eleven, I expressed a great desire to play the violin and my parents sent me to ‘ol’ George’, concert master with the Queensland Symphony at the time for lessons. George was taciturn and glum and sat through my lessons with legs crossed and a cigarette dangling from his down-turned mouth. Occasionally, he would wave a perfunctory finger in my direction to correct some fault or other, but showed no real enthusiasm whatsoever for my efforts. It was a depressing time which continued for the first five years of my training. George had apparently decided I had no real ability and told me to just concentrate on ‘little pieces’ for my own amusement. This advice sounded the death knell of our relationship.
Dispirited, I finally left George and went to the Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane where my tutor was Ladislav Jasek. On my very first lesson Ladislav said to me “Paul, vee vill start vis Mozart’s Violin Concerto!” What? Really? The joy! The excitement! From that moment on, I never looked back and spent many enjoyable years playing in orchestras, Musica Viva, Bach Society and others. AND, I topped the state in my sixth grade exams! Here’s the point. Sometimes, we just need a kick start from someone who has belief in our ability to achieve our true potential. This in turn encourages us to believe in ourselves. I believe we have a duty to help everyone as much as possible. To light the spark that everyone possesses to achieve their potential. As the saying goes, “If we want something for ourselves, give it to someone else.”
Latislav Jasek…. …. and me in 1973