I’m no Itzhak

By Lucia · 3 minute read

What do you think when you hear the words “zero waste”?

Something along the lines of:


          “That could never be me!”

               “Oh that’s only for people with lots of time and money on their hands”?

But what if I changed the question to this:

How do you react when you hear an international soloist in a concert?

For some people, this inevitably inspires similar reactions:

     “How do they do it??”

          “I could never play like that!”

               “There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to ever get that good!”

Type “Zero Waste” into your search engine and you’ll find stories of incredible people who generate just one jar’s-worth of non-recyclable waste each year. It’s easy to scoff at their achievements and admit defeat straight away, but let’s go back to my soloist analogy and consider what would happen if everyone reacted in this defeatist way on hearing great talent.

Watching the likes of Itzhak Perlman or Hilary Hahn inspires me. I come away from their performances in awe, feeling energised and enthused to go and practice! If everyone came away thinking “what’s the point in trying?” these soloists would have no orchestras to accompany them! Music lovers would never discover the joy of pursuing an instrument as a hobby, and children would never embark on the wonderful journey of studying this brain-enhancing discipline.

If you’ve found your way to this blog post, you probably already know I’m a violinist. As a child, seeing my Mum play her violin fascinated me enough to want to learn myself, and even though she could play real tunes whilst I was trailing behind on open strings, it still spurred me on to keep going.

The most common answer I get when asking new students why they want to learn the violin is “I’ve always loved the sound”. Even though they probably won’t make that sound straight away, they strive to achieve it as each lesson passes, and for every musician (even Itzhak!) we never stop learning!

Non-musicians, I haven’t forgotten you! Consider this: do you enjoy running, cooking or reading books? Just because you’re not Usain Bolt, Jamie Oliver or Stephen Fry you haven’t let that stop you. We may look to the experts for inspiration and guidance, but we then focus our attention on how we can better our own skills and increase our enjoyment of these pursuits.

In the same way, let’s start looking to low-waste ambassadors such as Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer for inspiration to move forwards, taking certain elements of their stories and slowly applying them to our own lives. It’s perfectly fine to assume we’ll never be as good at this as them, but this doesn’t have to stop us from making small positive changes in our own homes.

Bea Johnson fills one jar each year. By following her example we have reduced our waste to 4 bin bags per year. Could this inspire you to reduce your waste to one bin bag per month?

I’m pretty certain I will never be an internationally-renowned soloist like Itzhak Perlman. But have I let this stop me? No. Just because I can’t play Bazzini like him, I’ll still strive to hit all the notes in Don Juan in my next orchestral audition! I’ll still enjoy bringing music to appreciative audiences and inspiring the next generation of musicians and music-lovers to indulge in this wonderful pastime.

Remember: every step forward is worth celebrating, no matter how small!

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