Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why Practice?

Another day, another warm-up, more scales and arpeggios, another bunch of etudes and assigned solos. Oh, and range extension, attacks, soft stuff, endurance, articulation work, and then off to rehearsals. Of course you must attend to your list of weaknesses, followed by sore chops, and tomorrow more of same. Soon we conclude, "what's the point?"

That is the mindset that we battle. So cumbersome and difficult is the journey at times that the reason for playing at all is often obscured, lost, or deemed no longer unattainable. Leave it to John Madden to bring us refreshing perspective on Sunday Night Football. "This team has yet to show that it can overcome adversity. And that is the mark of greatness." The goal line often seems so far away that many become sidelined, injured, and discouraged. Yet great players find a way to win.

For young musicians in pursuit of a career in music performance, the hardest challenge is learning to enjoy and manage hard work. Being able to function efficiently is the skill that separates the dreamers from the achievers. Those who succeed are not always the most talented but the hardest workers. They have disciplined themselves to break down problems and to work them out methodically.

The goal line is not just getting the big job. That's just the beginning. Obstacles are conquerable when the pursuit of winning is strong enough. Remember why you chose to do what you do, and rekindle the excitement that got you where you are. The wise student learns how to be disciplined, how to be inspired, and how to inspire others. It is all about learning to perform and liking the process. And that is our mission. With that in mind, why not practice!

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