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Playing Second Fiddle? Listen – It’s OK!!

There is a song called “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by the group Tears for Fears. The title itself hints at people wanting to be the rock star whatever they’re doing and wherever they’re at. Have you ever thought about if everybody were to rule the world, who are the ruled? Harvey MacKay once asked a symphony conductor which instrument was the most difficult to play. The conductor replied, “Second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists. But finding someone who can play second fiddle with enthusiasm is a real problem. When we have no second violin, we have no harmony.” Take note. The real issue here is not about finding people who can play second fiddle. It’s finding people who can play second fiddle with enthusiasm. Without enthusiastic second fiddles, there is no harmony. Harmony is bringing together notes or chords to form strong pillars of sound. Without harmony, there is no “depth” to the music. Yes, we do enjoy solo recitals, and soloists should be encouraged to continue to perform well and keep on growing, but do we not also enjoy the rich repertoire that a full orchestra delivers? Would such richness be possible if we only had lead violinists in the orchestra, no second fiddles?

ViolinistAre you in a position of playing second fiddle? Do you play enthusiastically? Not just with flawless technical perfection, but do you play enthusiastically with your whole heart? Are you content to be second fiddle? Mind you, there is a great difference between being content and being complacent. Do you know what that difference is? If you are content with being second fiddle, it means you will play with such great enthusiasm and flair that you make the lead violinist sound like an angel. You would make  the orchestra sound like no earthly orchestra could. But if you’re complacent, seeing yourself as “just the second fiddle, no big deal”, you will contribute to the music, no doubt, but it would be like serving a hamburger to your listeners instead of the best cuisine.

Be the rock star of the second fiddle! The position doesn’t matter, but excellence always counts! One day, you could very well be the lead violinist yourself. When that day comes, you will appreciate all the more having a great second fiddle harmonizing in support of your performance, and both of you being part of a really terrific orchestra.

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