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Passion fuelling local musician 1,000 days of practice challenge on Instagram

'It was really just a way to enforce and remind myself of what I'm working towards and what I do love about music,' says local violinist
20220324 Bridget Walsh Violin AD
Bridget Walsh performing at the SweetWater Music Festival in Owen Sound.

Timing is everything when it comes to performing online, and no one knows this more than violinist Bridget Walsh.

The local musician gave herself a challenge on January 1, 2020 to practice for 1,000 days, recording and uploading a one minute video of her practice to Instagram.

“I actually celebrated 800 days of continual practice last week, that is an incredible achievement,” said Walsh, who tries to celebrate every 100th milestone. “I can’t believe it’s been over two years and I’m going to be finishing the challenge this year, time flies."

When it comes to her practice, Walsh mentions she tries to be efficient by focusing one thing to improve on and getting it as best as she can in the shortest amount of time.

“I work full-time, so I don’t have as much as I’d like to practice in the evening, so I try to aim for an hour to an hour and a half a day,” said Walsh, “If I don’t make that, then I’m missing sleep.”

Walsh said recording and critiquing herself on a daily basis helped her to see where she needed to improve. While a good practicing technique, she mentions posting the challenge online has helped her push through days when she's not excited to practice.

"I love it so much that I just have to find the love for music everyday within me," said Walsh, "especially during COVID, there's not a lot to look forward to, but having this accountability and having this account on Instagram, it was really just a way to enforce and remind myself of what I'm working towards and what I do love about music."

All that practice has come in handy when performing with the Thomastik-Infeld Canadian String Orchestra (TICSO). Part of Musicfest Canada, TICSO invites musicians ages 14 to 24 to audition for the group, with successful applicants going on to perform in a national tour.

This is the third time Walsh has made the ensemble list for the orchestra, and the national tour across Canada will be happening online. To practice for the tour, she said the orchestra has sent participants click tracks to work with.

“The string orchestra for this year, what we did the last couple of years, they would send us a click track, and we would play along with it, and record ourselves while doing that. So, we would have two devices going on at the same time, and we would also have to juggle having a headphone in one ear, and not having the visual cues that you would normally have in an orchestral setting."

Despite being online, Walsh said participating in TICSO has helped her gain access to guest speakers and workshops, all while developing relationships within the music community.

“I’ve met so many colleagues and friends, lifelong friends, through these programs, and having connections in the music world is such an important thing, because you never know who’s going to be in the city that you’re performing in,” said Walsh.

Besides TISCO, Walsh has some other performances coming up. On May 1, Walsh will be performing with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra and said she is excited to perform with other musicians. In September, Walsh is hoping to take the stage at the SweetWater Music Festival happening in Owen Sound.

“It was so great to see, especially after the pandemic, so many smiling faces,” Walsh said about performing at the event last year.

Working full-time and planning to go university in the fall, Walsh said she will play it by ear when it comes to performing in the future.

"Music is a very big part of my life and I hope to maintain all my connections and friendships while playing music."

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Ariel Deutschmann

About the Author: Ariel Deutschmann

Ariel Deutschmann is a feature writer and reporter who covers community events, businesses, social initiatives, human interest stories and more involving Guelph and Wellington County
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