Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Practicing for the Marathon

William Wilberforce gave some good advice which can be very useful for those facing the audition season. "I daily become more sensible that my work must be affected by constant and regular exertions rather than by sudden and violent ones." I don't think he had trumpet players in mind, but certainly his philosophy brings a balanced perspective and encouragement to all of us given so easily to the frantic, furious, and frenzied approach to life. Last minute cramming of excerpts rarely works.

John Piper in Roots of Endurance writes that a "coronary" Christian is better than an "adrenal" Christian. Too many bursts of adrenaline produce let downs. Great surges of energy are usually followed by great downward spikes. The "coronary" life style on the other hand, is marked by consistency. Regular dependable behavior is the heart beat of the latter, and he definitely has the endurance advantage. And that is one of the must-haves for trumpet players.

Thinking about marathons: A music career is indeed a marathon and requires enormous discipline. Remember the childhood story of the tortoise and the hare? Nothing wrong with talent, speed, and great instincts, but both runners require disciplined training in order to survive the long haul. Daily distractions are not likely to deter the runner who consistently focuses on his game.

Be patient and not weary in daily well-doing. Rewards of persistence are down the road. Skills are not perfected in one or two lessons. A regular agenda of doing what is required will pay off. I might add that it demands more than a mere punching the time clock. The goal is learning to enjoy working towards the mastery of the skills of our profession.

Disappointments, struggles, and even failures are part of the journey. Expect days that are cold and prickly. The goal is not just about your check list. Remember your passion for making great music. Isn't that where your race began? That drive not only empowers your practice of disciplines, but gives you the benefit of enjoying your run.

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