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Showing posts from June, 2012

On Accepting Imperfection

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Recently I received some good advice on practicing the piano. I've started thinking differently about how I work on things that I want to get better at, with the idea that I can accept progress, even if it's not perfection, and move on.

This goes somewhat against my nature, which is to be doggedly determined to get things "just so." That's probably been a good thing for me in some respects, but it can also be a burden. No matter how much I've worked, no matter how far I've come, my inner voice always tells me that it's not good enough.

Having had a close relative whose life was almost overtaken by her obsessive-compulsive disorders, I've been alerted to the fact that this tendency, left to its own devices, gets worse over time. The little voice that wants things to be better is only trying to help, but I want a balance that allows me to appreciate right here, right now.

So, I've taken a new mantra, which I repeat to myself throughout my day:

Advice from Chick Corea on Practicing

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Chick Corea, the 18-time Grammy winning keyboard legend, offers some advice to a fan who asked about managing practice time. I think this advice applies to all types of practice. Here it is:

To learn how to prepare properly or practice properly, to make advances in one's technique, or knowledge at the instrument, or music in general, is a really important thing.  The main thing that I can see about practicing—and it's also true about playing—is that the very basis of practicing, and knowing "when" and "how" and all of that, stems from first having an intention to advance, an intention to improve. An intention to take a certain challenge, or a certain piece of music or a certain phrase, or any particular thing that you think of, and then you have an idea that you would like to improve it, and you also have an idea of how it probably would sound, when it sounded right.  And this is another real important aspect—how you know when you've arrived, is that y…