As predicted, my new ‘zero’ is now nine units a day (or approximately three hours of practice every day). It is amazing how seriously I have taken this new standard. I typically wake up at 4 a.m. now to accomplish this daily regimen. There have been quite a few days where I have had to wake up at 3:30 or even 3 a.m. in order to get my practice in before the work day has to start. It doesn’t bother me. It is only sleep and frankly, my desire to improve far outweighs my desire for sleep. I am constantly tired- and though I understand it is important to be well-rested in order to be productive, I practice first thing in the morning (when I am most rested). Frankly anyone that has done anything impressive probably lost sleep while working their butt off for it.
I remember taking lessons from the late Murray Crewe (for about a year) and he often said ‘if you feel like practicing, then practice. If you feel like drinking a beer, then drink a beer’. For a while I thought I knew what he was really saying, but it was only recently that my depth of understanding that phrase was heightened to a higher level. Now that I feel like I completely understand that statement, I can truly say I do not agree with it.
There are two kinds of passion for musicians- passion for playing and passion for practice. Many students start down the road of collegiate study because they developed a passion for playing. Unfortunately that is insufficient and really misleading. At some point (the sooner the better) one’s passion for playing needs to be rivaled by their passion for practice. There needs to be a hunger for getting into the practice room and figuring things out. If this exists, the playing is easy. If not, they will never really thrive as a music student let alone a professional career. I think it should feel like an arms race between which force is pulling us more strongly at any given time. The more you practice, the better you get (which fuels a passion for playing). But as you get better, you become aware that there are higher levels of achievement to reach (thus fueling a passion for practice). Like Ying and Yang, these two energies should constantly swirl around and propel the other forward.
Here is where I disagree with the late Mr. Crewe- If you feel like practicing, then practice. If you feel like drinking a beer, then practice. There are times where the passion might be missing. You have to trust that if you keep going, the passion will catch up. It will return. It will grow. Perhaps that is what “faith” is for me. Faith is what drives me to practice when my passion for practice is missing.
Having a passion for playing your instrument is important. It is also wildly insufficient in order to be successful in the industry of music. You need to develop a passion for practicing if you want to be successful. If you don’t have a passion for practice, then fake it. Rely on your faith (not in a religious sense but a pragmatic one) that the passion will emerge. Then go drink your beer. It will taste better if you do it that way.
Consecutive days with at least 1 unit of practice = 453
Consecutive days with at least 2 units of practice= 200
Consecutive days with at least 3 units of practice= 181
Consecutive days with at least 4 units of practice= 175
Consecutive days with at least 5 units of practice= 101
Consecutive days with at least 6 units of practice= 93
Consecutive days with at least 7 units of practice= 80
Consecutive days with at least 8 units of practice= 7
Consecutive days with at least 9 units of practice= 7
Days 0-100- 393 units
Days 101-200- 394 units
Days 201-300- 343 units
Days 301-400- 565 units
Goal for 401-500= 700 units
(Pace thus far- 401-450= 444 units- I'm going to try to get 900!!!)