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When I was a little boy just starting violin lessons, my teacher’s instructions were that I should practice a half hour every day. For a six-year-old this seemed an enormous load. I liked the violin… but a whole half hour, every day? 

Usually I would start, and then run to my mother every five minutes asking, “Is it a half hour yet?” And even later, when I started on the road to a career in music, practicing remained a duty, something I knew I had to do even if I would rather have been doing something else.  And now? Well, amid all of life’s accumulated burdens and time-consuming obligations, practicing has come to seem a luxury and a delight. It’s quite a change: I still have to practice, but now I love to practice. All I have to do is find a few free hours and presto!... the world turns into music. I play my viola, and I try to get better.  And if you had told me when I was six that practicing was fun, I never would have believed you.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.