Friday, October 26, 2007

The Value of Hate Practice

No, I'm not talking about hating to practice, or being so self-critical that we become disabled and stripped of confidence. The point of the simple comment offered at Northwestern by Charlie Geyer to a student was learning to be discerning in daily practice and not excusing a ton of bad notes. We think we are too hard on ourselves, but often the reverse is true. What we need to speed up the maturing process is to learn to recognize those same mistakes made day after day, AND then take the steps to solve them. He said, "If you hate it, you'll fix it." Before you can hate it, however, you have to hear it. (I didn't see anyone on campus without a minidisc.) That driven attitude is what I liked sensing.

Whatever the issue to be dealt with, the first step must be a fighting attitude. We need to play in tune, but first we must WANT to play in tune. We must CRAVE great intonation, and set out on a mission to get it. Or take soft attacks. We must learn to hate our own poor attack execution, AND enjoy the daily work needed to master that skill. Charlie recalled Herseth's great command of delicate entrances. What a way to learn, daily sitting within a few feet of text book examples! So many skills must be owned. The challenge is enjoying the challenge.

Let's practice being so annoyed with our high tolerance of our own unprofessional playing, that we become motivated to deal with problems effectively, one at a time, and once and for all.

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