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Life Reflection: Critical Thinking in Repetition

A part of my personality had always enjoyed repetition. Yes, repetition may seem quite boring and cumbersome, but looking back throughout my life I have learned so many life skills through type of repetition that came natural to me. In my adolescence I had a knack for experimentation of repetition, in part to be prepared for all aspects of what it was I was doing, and it also prevented myself from going insane! I enjoyed mixing things up, and in turn, I suppose it paved away the process for my current life achievements.

Growing up, I played marbles for keeps with fellow schoolmates during recess. During this time, I enjoyed practicing shot after shot, experimenting with my repetitions by trying to find the consistent feel and positioning of the thumb. I tried shots of all types, but always repeated a certain shot until I felt good with it, then moved on. I played collectible card games such as "Magic the Gathering" and "Star Wars." I spent hours with all of my cards spread out on the living room, going over different scenarios trying to decide which combination of cards would give me the upper edge in games. In preparation for tournaments, I even played games with myself using one deck vs another deck, and would see which one would win without having any biased affinity toward a deck.

In youth sports, I had played roller hockey and basketball, of which I would spend many hours after school with my brother on the playground trying shot after shot, noticing the flick of the wrist or the turn of the shoulder to find consistency. I enjoyed adding outside factors such as varying speeds and directional changes while taking shots.

As I got older, I began to also think about the bigger picture for the repetitive thought process. I began to contemplate about how I could think ahead of time about outside factors such as strategizing while still finding my core basics and being calm on the inside. This was a revelation for me at the time. I know that in music, it was difficult for me to find, but in my other interests, it was a defining, rock solid factor.

Perhaps this is why I had an affinity for playing the violin. I had no idea that these same concepts of repetition also played a factor in how I approached the violin. I really took care in repeating passage work many times, with each attempt looking to add anything extra such as feeling solid, making the best possible sound, getting a shift better, finding better intonation, making the phrase feel right, knowing my bow distribution, etc. I didn't always enjoy repetition, because partly in music I was taught to practice something many times exactly the same way. For me, I think this method wasn't as helpful for myself. I'm sure many of you have experienced different aspects of repetition in your lives. This had been a life long process for me to figure out how to find enjoyment and confidence through repetition and practice. I'd like to thank all of my past peers and teachers for also giving me wisdom and outlook for success. I hope this reflection may be positive food for thought.

-Thomas Yee