This is Why I Practice

I hate practicing. I have always hated practicing. I will probably always hate practicing. I hated my teachers for suggesting practice. I hated my mother for insisting that I practice. My students hate me for making them practice. I hate myself for insisting that my own daughter practice. If I never see another scale chart or modal exercise it will be too soon. But yet I still sit diligently for at least twenty minutes everyday…practicing.

I also hate writing. I really do. My journal makes me break out in hives. This damned blog makes me sweat and palpitate on a daily basis. I probably spend more time avoiding writing than I spend avoiding practice. (And I spend a lot of time avoiding practice)

I am a writer who hates writing. Go figure. Yet here I sit late into the night, every night, banging on this stupid keyboard.

Come to think of it, I seem to despise all things that involve structure and formula. That is partly what drove me out of Nashville. I cannot stand the idea of someone telling me that I have to do something in a certain structured way. For me it just has to be spontaneous and unstructured in order to be real. (Keeping it real-Yo!)

But what is the origin of spontaneity? What is the origin of creativity? I want to believe that they are gifts from the gods or some spiritual substance that simply arrives in the minds of the creative elite. But I know that this just isn’t true. Creativity is a product of countless hours of work, practice, and repetition. Montouri put it this way:

When self-correction is employed [in music], there is a discipline that aesthetically brings melodic lines, harmonic principles, and rhythmic sequences into account. It is not simply a “doing your own thing”, but a dance between the known form and the unknown, order out of chaos, the familiar and the wild.

In order for spontaneity to happen, all of the tools must be in place and you must know how to use them. This is why I practice. I do what I despise in order to be able to do what I love.


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