June 21, 2017
There is no end
That’s a daunting title.
With respect to practice it is true – there is no end.
There will always be something that needs to be worked on to improve.
There will always be some technique that needs to be refined.
There will always be a passage that is just out of reach…today.
So, it is important that we practice our practicing – because we will always be doing it. We have talked about what you need to do for your daily practice but there is one remaining nugget to polish in our quest to become good musicians. We must work on being good practicers. The difference between wasting time on the bench and developing better practice is – attention.
All of those things that make up a practice won’t do a lot more than take up time unless, during the time on the bench and beyond, you think about what you’re doing. Pay attention to what you are doing physically and mentally. What happens when you do those things? How far you remain from your desired end state? What specific actions will get you through that gap?
Analyze the steps you take, the actions you make. Watch what you do and identify the outcomes. Pay Attention! Write it down in your practice journal. Review previous entries and determine what level of progress you are showing before and after you practice. Repeat and improve what works, determine what didn’t work – and why – and remove it from your practice. Remark on your progress (both good and bad) (in you journal would be a good place to put that). Pat yourself on the head if appropriate. Recognize the utility of your good,, hard work.
Practice may be endless but it needn’t be pointless.