Kent's Blog

Feb 28, 2018 – Trust the Process

I love daily technique, because it pays off.

I hate the time that it takes.

Every now and then, there’s a moment of validation. Like today.

I was asked to prepare the first movement of the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto for a recital next month. I accompanied it for a few in performance at Crane. That was over 30 years ago. It required considerable work back then.

I’ll have it ready in a couple of days.

What’s different?

I had to think about that. I’m almost 54 and keep gout at bay with diet, exercise, and medication (as needed). I shouldn’t be playing better now than when I was in college, honing my craft.

But I am. Why? Three things. Daily technique, daily sight-reading, and a practice regimen.

Almost every day, I work my section of Cortot exercises. My fingers respond to it. An hour or so well spent.

I follow with at least 15 minutes of sight-reading. Have been playing through Broadway soprano solos. Some have already shown up in my work. Bonus.

When I (finally) practice, I don’t spend more than 5 minutes on any section. I come back to a troublesome section after working on another section. Studies have shown that practice just moves to muscle memory after 3 to 4 minutes and is no longer active, engaged learning. I started to practice this way, on and off, about 6 years ago. But then, my daughter started to practice this way – with stellar results. I made the change – with similar results. Daily practice goals – or at least, a skeleton of what you plan to accomplish – help (and I do much of that on-the-fly, now).

Trust the process.

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