Friday, April 30, 2010

Practice, practice, practice

I got to practice for 45 minutes tonight!

They weren't 45 consecutive minutes, but whatever.

My relationship with practicing has changed over time. As a kid I hated it. For the first three or four years I took piano lessons, my mother sat with me every night to make sure I didn't slack off. If not for her, I wouldn't have made it five minutes without abandoning whatever I was working on to plink out something much easier.

She had to prod me into doing anything that challenged me, like, say, playing a piece with both hands at the same time after I'd learned to play the left- and right-hand parts separately.

Putting the hands together sucked. I didn't like that at all.

Eventually I could handle practicing without my mom looking over my shoulder. Sometimes I'd even find a groove. Practicing a leap over and over again, contemplating the smallness of this act within the immensity of the universe, was the closest I've ever gotten to meditation. Despite these moments of grace, however, it was usually just boring.

Fast forward a couple decades and change. I have responsibilities. Lots. The world doesn't care whether I practice. The world throws many obstacles in my path when I try, obstacles that provide ample excuses not to bother.

The result? Practicing is less of a burden, more of a privilege. OK, there are still times when I come home from a long day at work, and the prospect of sitting down to do a different kind of work doesn't thrill me. But having to fight for the time to do nothing but improve my playing and singing makes me appreciate it a whole lot more.

45 minutes. Yay!


Unknown said...

Good for you!

For what it's worth, I feel the same way about napping. :)

John Wenger said...

Good for you, Leigh. Since I have retired, I have found napping to be one of my favorite activities. Imagine, any time you want, you can drift off to sleep, and then you can get up at 2 a.m. to catch up on things, which is what I am doing right now.

I have two grandsons, and I marvel at how often they resist taking a nap. I can't figure out why, since afterwards they are in a much better temper.

Our parents were right: there are many things you don't understand until you grow up.

cinderkeys said...

Napping is the other thing I wish I could do. Not much success with that one, yet. Too bad. Napping makes you live longer.