The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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When You Need to Practice But Don’t Want To

October 20th, 2008 · No Comments

Today I worked with a student who absolutely detests scales. You can tell they’re the low point of his day, and that often, he’ll avoid practicing them altogether. I know the feeling, because I have that same dread when it comes to improvisation. Once I get started, I can improvise for hours. But getting started, for both my student and myself, often seems like a superhuman feat.

Claude Debussy once said that “In art, one has more often to fight against oneself, and the victories one wins are perhaps the most beautiful.” He was right. Much of the time, it seems like the very things we don’t want to practice are those that we NEED to practice more than anything–because maybe, we’re *thisclose* to having a breakthrough in these areas. Maybe those awful scales or that scary bout of improvisation are just what we need to take our playing to the next level. Maybe something great is about to happen…if we just make ourselves take that first step.

Today, let’s think of Debussy. Let’s practice something we don’t want to, and show ourselves that it’s really not that bad after all. Let’s push out of our comfort zone, and discover what great things might happen!

Tags: music education · Practice Tips

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