Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Accepting the Ratio

Recently I was a fly on the wall as I overheard some basic advice being shared for someone facing an upcoming audition. It's so simple that it seems not worth mentioning, but being simple, it caught my attention. The student was feeling overwhelmed by his huge scary excerpt list, yet felt a certain weight lifted as he considered: "You don't have to feel good, you just have to work!"

We expect the trumpet to behave itself every day, and that each practice session must be joyful and triumphant. And then as soon as reality hits we think that something must be terribly wrong with us. One famous orchestral trumpeter revealed that he actually felt like playing maybe 10% of the time! He must have learned early that success on stage and in the practice room is not dependent upon feeling good. (Imagine the announcement just before the the concert: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are sorry to announce that the trumpet section will not be present tonight because they are not feeling well.")

The number of warm 'n' fuzzy days are going to be far less than the cold 'n' prickly ones. The ratio is just not in our favor. We must get used to it. Good practicing does not require that we feel good. We simply have to be organized, efficient and productive. Just do it.

Note: the better organized, efficient and productive we are, the better we will feel.