Lately, I have been focusing on practicing. I have been attending various concerts, recitals and the orchestra with my best friend, and my passion for making music has been elevated to new heights.
I’m not talking about the practicing you do where you run through the songs you know because you just like playing. I’m referring to paying serious attention to sharpening existing skills and developing new ones through concentrated effort. I’m referring to the kind of practicing that requires the determined intention of breaking through previous musical barriers, both in technical ability and emotional expression. I’ve practiced this way at times in the past (and have made great improvements that people have commented on), just not with this conscious intention.
By concentrating on playing each note with precision, making sure to play only as fast as I can while nailing every note with the correct finger and pick direction, I’ve noticed that all of my playing has improved, including songs that are nothing but strummed chords. As close as I can tell, it’s because I now see that regardless of whether playing on an orchestral level is or is not attainable, there’s no reason to approach making music as though it isn’t. Watching a pianist who has not even graduated his masters program play what is considered to be one of the hardest pieces in the world to play shows it is attainable and he would not have achieved it if he had gone into it thinking it was unattainable.
They say if you can envision it, you can achieve it. I intend to prove them right.