I would tell myself not to focus too much on the violin repertoire
When I was young, I was completely focused on practising my violin. Of course that was good, and a strict practice regime is absolutely necessary, but looking back I think I should have also given more time to other things. I would tell myself not to focus too much on the violin repertoire, where I could have learnt more about symphonic works or opera, for example. I would read more scores, music literature and piano parts, play more sport and go to the theatre more often. Possibly I would also attend some conducting classes as well, although at that time I had no idea I was going to end up being a conductor.
So, rather than playing for eight hours a day, I would have done well to devote seven to the violin and taken one hour to broaden my musical horizons in other ways. I try to explain this principle to my students, but it’s difficult because invariably they don’t see the point – the violin is always at the centre of their world.
Photo: Sasha Gusov