Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Practice Makes Permanent

The following quote comes from a California high school student’s blog ( He gives a teenager’s perspective on some great principles for anyone who desires excellence in musicianship … and he’s right! Read on …

Practicing a piece of music in choir, no matter the level, is a lot like going to track and field practice. Both are preparing for a momentous occasion, and both can be considered very difficult depending on how you look at them both. Both require a lot of hard work during the practice portion in order to adequately prepare for the expected performance and or track meet.
It is understandable to assume that whenever you practice you should treat it like a performance, like you’re doing it in front of an audience, because if you can’t do it correctly in practice or training, how can you do it when it’s the real deal? The way my experiences with both can relate is I have been around people who seem dead set and fixated on the idea that even though they don’t sing or run well in practice, they can still pull it off in the show or race, when obviously you cannot.
There are too many people in our choir class who do not try hard enough during sectionals or in class or who do not even know their music well enough to participate rationally. How do they expect to do well in the concerts or at Golden State? They need to have a passion and a drive to achieve greatness. This really goes for singing because if you don’t sing it like it should be sung in sectionals, how can you sing it right on stage?
The same concepts go with track and field. Coach always told us that you need to pretend like every finish of a long-distance run is the finish of a race, especially with interval days (the days of hard training), because if you don’t practice that then, how will you be able to do that during a race? It all ties into the same thing, and I think it’s a pretty good comparison analogy because they suggested methods of good practice ethic all apply in this case.
Aristotle is quoted to have said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” I love that quote ... and I hate it. It is uncomfortable for me to think about when I’m frustrated about my own level of excellence. What do our habits say about what kind of excellence we wish to give to the congregation? (Not all members will have the same answer.) That’s enough to think about for now.

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