Practicing can definitely be a chore. It is a lot of work, & hard work at that if you do it correctly. Practicing an instrument is like training to run a 5k, or studying for the SAT. You have to constantly set goals for yourself and sometimes even push through working on things you may frankly just be tired of working on.
I love the violin. Sometimes I love practicing, other times I dread it. There have been a few times where I did not even want to look at my violin or pick it up. I think everyone experiences this no matter what field you are in, or what your career is or ends up being. Learning an instrument teaches you skills that pour into everyday life.
I think learning an instrument has great value for everyone, even for those who do not become 'professional musicians'. Practicing teaches you self-awareness and how to work towards goals. Self-Awareness & Goal Setting are some of the top skills for leaders, entrepreneurs, and CEOs in any field and any business.
Self-Awareness: Knowing yourself, knowing how your mind works, knowing your body, knowing when you need to stop, knowing when you need to push yourself, knowing when you need to listen, knowing when you need to play out, knowing how far you've come, knowing how far you can still go, knowing when to forgive yourself, knowing when to move on, knowing when you're stuck, knowing when you need inspiration, knowing when to rest, knowing how to motivate yourself, knowing when to ask for help, knowing your capabilities, knowing that hard work pays off even if it takes longer than you want.
As I have been practicing this past week I have been thinking a lot about how far I have come and how far I can still go. Self-awareness and goal setting have been on my mind. I hope this blog post is inspiring in a way to some of my students that may be struggling with practicing. Life is a journey, enjoy the ride! There are and will be hard times and things that may not be fun to experience, but Rome wasn't built in a day. Progress is a process. So as Julia Child said, "Find something you're passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it." If you are stuck in a practicing rut, find other interesting aspects about your music you can learn about. If you don't or can't play your instrument one day, then maybe just research the composer or listen to a recording. There are many ways to practice - physically and mentally. Keep it interesting. You never know where your passions will take you. Look at Julia Child, she starred in eight television cooking shows, published 11 cookbooks, and was the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Hall of Fame. And to think she was 49 years old when her first book was published!! Wow.
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