Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Practice guilt

“If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it.” - Louis Armstrong

I keep a "practice journal" where I write down when and what I’m working on in my daily practicing. It helps me identify where a need to focus, what parts of what pieces are tripping me up, and what specifics I need to get help on from a teacher.

Today I opened my journal. If the binding had creaked it would have given a better effect: the last time I practiced was 10 days ago. Until then, I've been doing well, practicing daily. What happened? Well, I got sick, then I got hit with a bunch of deadlines from work, ….then…. Basically, life got in the way.

In my life, there are a lot of things (e.g. work, family, etc.) that have to take precedence over my music. Now the battle becomes starting to practice again. I feel guilty, like I let myself down (and others who rely or expect my playing to be at a certain level). The trick now is to let go of my "good old Catholic guilt" (i.e., the ability to feel guilty about anything) and start practicing again.

Missing one or two practices is not a big deal, unless missing those practices (in and of themselves) becomes an obstacle to future practicing. That's where I am. The more I miss, the easier it is to adopt an attitude of "why bother". In the end, you can't penalize yourself musically for the rest of your life occasionally having additional demands.

So, back to the bass.

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