My back starts to ache. That’s how I know I have been practicing for too long. But by then I am stuck on something. I set my violin down for a minute and listen to a recording while moving my eyes across the music, trying to imagine what the person playing must be feeling. Then I go back to the technical for awhile. I use an app on my iphone that determines pitch to make sure I am getting those high notes on my E string in tune. I try to train my brain to recognize the note no matter what octave, but at this point I must still rely on technology. My violin teacher likes to tease me about the geekiness of such precision, but in a loving way, in a knowing way. He is secretly proud. After awhile my back hurts too much to keep practicing. I am lost in Sibelius. I just sit and listen. In awe. How did he know that the next thing I would want to hear would be that specific chord, held for that specific length? He’s a genius. That’s how. I am tired by now. But happy just to listen as his chords ramp up to the swift movement of bows and the staccato notes I will have to play with accuracy by the time our next concert rolls around. Oh well. I still have time.