Sunday, February 09, 2014

Glory and Grit

The road to the stage goes through the trenches.  Because the journey of grunt work never ends, we might as well learn to treasure the grit of preparing as much as the glory of performing.  After all, most of our playing time will be off stage. 

A few thoughts on rethinking the practice session in order to make it a pathway to glory:

  • Don't jump into the trenches without a plan. Organized digging only! No wild flailing permitted. 
  • Don't practice like a student. 
  • Pretend someone important is listening.
  • Don't waste your notes. You have precious few.
  • Dig slowly and carefully on the hard stuff.
  • Set time limits. Don't dig for hours on end, lest you exhaust brains and chops and get yourself nowhere.
  • Record your sessions. See if there's madness to your method.
  • Consider your practice sessions as snippets of quality playing rather than large chunks of rubble.  
  • Avoid making brainless mistakes. Try to make the trenches your error-free zone.
  • Practice musical risk-taking.  Don't just play it safe.  
  • The more agony in the trenches, the more ecstasy on the stage!  Sweat the practice, not the performance.
  • Practice enjoying the frustrations of your grit and grunt work.  Don't avoid your weaknesses. Let difficulties improve you, and the glory will take care of itself.

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