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How to Make Practice PERFECT!


There are many great quotes and mantras dedicated to the topic of practice and for good reason. It is the process of practicing ones craft that creates personal growth and builds in one the strength to overcome all of life’s limitations. Although all of us are born with innate abilities, it is through the disciplined action of practice that these abilities are refined and empowered.

There are many ways to approach practice and many different theories as to what practice regimens are most effective in ones quest to become a highly skilled musician. Whether you work in a mechanized fashion by working on individual scales and chord progressions repeatedly, a physiological manner by focusing your attention on physical factors such as breath and muscle control, or a systematic approach that intertwines many different aspects of training, the one thing that will bring it all together is practice!

Start with a clear mental image of your goal. If your practicing a scale or a chord pattern you know in your mind how you want it to sound so embrace that image and see yourself performing it with that level of perfection no matter how far away you really are from perfecting it. Keeping a clear mental picture in your mind of success will lead you to that success. Persistence is also a key factor in building your skill level through practice. Once you have looked at all the little details in your music, identified your weaknesses and strengths and then fashioned a clear mental image of your desired outcome, it’s time to work through the weak areas with persistence.

There is a well-known quote from Bruce Lee in which he states, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”. The man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times has retained that clarity of his vision to persistently overcome weakness and bring perfection to that technique. The repetitive action, fueled by an intense mental focus, carves the perfection of that technique into the mind, the muscles, the heart and the soul and can never be taken away once it is there.

The other important factor is to practice with intensity. It is one thing to practice for the sake of memory, accuracy and precision, but it is also important to keep in mind the end result of performing with the intensity behind that precision. A fighter doesn’t go to the gym and punch the bag lightly everyday and then expect intensity to just be there when they need it in the ring. On the contrary, a great fighter knows to practice with all the intensity of the real thing, EVERY time they practice.

This type of practice as a musician will give you an extremely rewarding sense of accomplishment. With mental focus that contains a clear image of your goal, a persistent desire to perfecting each technique and the attitude of intensity behind the delivery of each technique, you will begin to see tremendous improvements in your art and your self in a very short time.

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