When I was about thirteen I started taking my viola lessons from Alice Preves. For a few months, Alice worked almost exclusively on my vibrato. I did hours and hours of vibrato exercises but nothing seemed to work. Every lesson, we would cover the same material, over and over.
Then, one day in string orchestra at St. Catherine's Quartet Seminar, like magic, I could vibrato. I have a distinct memory of looking down at my hand and suddenly understanding what Alice had been trying to teach me all those weeks. To this day I can remember the feeling of finally just doing what I had been trying to do for so long. It was really strange. I swear to God, I learned how to vibrato in an instant. One minute I couldn't do it at all, and the next minute I could do it completely. It was as if a switch had been flipped in my brain.
This is how I tend to learn important things- in a sudden flash of understanding.
I have noticed two things about this phenomena. Firstly, every time I learn something this way it changes my life forever, and secondly, it is always something utterly and amusingly obvious. It is never new information I receive in a sudden burst of understanding, in fact, it's quite the opposite- it is old information, finally sinking in.
It occurs to me that recently I have really been searching for answers. Maybe I am just trying too hard. Maybe, I'm not leaving enough room for a sudden burst of old fashioned, utterly mundane, life changing epiphany.