"We perform what we practice."
"Only practice on the days you eat."
"Practice makes better."
"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time"
Or my friend's small black button on her coat, "go home and practice".
How many ways can I encourage, nudge, nurture, foster, engage the young artist? Musicians can't just show up and BE great. (That only happens on TV, like American Idol) Musicians BECOME great when they work out the details. I want to push, I'd like to nip a little on their heels, but I refrain. I can't make them love this. I can lead them to the music, I can be a good example. I am trying to ask the right questions and put the numbers out there. After all this is mathematical. If you want to be memorable, you spend the time at the bench. What goal can I set before you in a small attainable way that sparks your inner fire to do more, go higher?
Minutes per day, hours per week, it's not glamorous, nor is it a mystery, really. I remember sitting in the basement practicing and hearing kids play ball in the open field next to our house. I got out there eventually. I didn't mind the process, most days.
February is that revealing month as end of the year goals start to look out of reach. It happens every year. We eagerly said "yes, of course we can" accomplish this or that. The wonderful thing in September is that it's all true. We CAN accomplish the goal, if we put in the time, slowly, daily, working toward May. It's what our country will realize soon. "Yes, we can" will take daily hard honest work.
If I didn't practice as a tortoise, slowly and steadily conquering the road, February now looks bleak. 10 weeks until May is over. The task too mighty, the deadline too near. Minutes a day now better become hours. It's not always the talented that rise to the top - it's often the hard worker. Bach once said that everyone would have as many compositions if they worked as hard as he. He believed more than talent he had a stronger work ethic than most. Yikes.
I have a fantastic quote on my wall from Jon Kimura Parker. "I practiced this and this and this (imagine big black sharpie arrows pointing to the program notes), even when I was completely sick of them!"
How many ways can I encourage you? Go and practice. You can do it.