My very earliest recollections of practice were when I was eleven and a violin was placed in my hands. Initially the practice was just to be able to find a note. Get a sound.
But then, it became about finding a string of notes, a lyric, a rhythm and at some point it became about playing. Oh! The double entendre. Playing. Not so much for me at the time. I was working! I wanted to be really good, I wanted to have my teacher and my friends notice this. But of course, it takes facility. All this practicing wasn't building to one point, it was the point. Somehow either the adults around me never said it, or I just didn't get it.
Practice is exploring.
Practice is learning.
Practice is the path.
It can be that we practice what we love. If we let go, we can fall in love with what we practice.
Since seeing the movie Whiplash, my son, a fairly talented trumpet player, has taken to loads more practice sessions. He sees the connection. Practice is a path leading to the level where he'll have more freedom.
Me? I love to write. I have since high school, (which was a while ago). I began, then, filling spiral bound notebooks with words. And poems, and ideas and rants and schemes and dreams. I wrote and write because I love words. I love connections. I love the connections that words allow. Words in my head and words on a page. Strings of words that at some point become a real idea. Many mornings as I get those pages filled, I'm simply exploring -- practicing moving my hand and my mind together.
I've tried to keep this in my thought as I've approached other arts. So, some twenty months ago the words art journal came across my path and I added some art to a journal and then more and then, I, who know nothing about art, was making some art. Gratefully, I could hear my own words -- the ones I'd said to my kiddos when they were little and playing with art:
Art is an exploration.
Today Pam Garrison shared a bit about how important the rhythm of practice really is. Her work is wonderful. Always an inspiration, and because she writes about it in her fabulous blog -- we get a peek into how she thinks and all the joy she spills all over the place. While you go there, just look at all the practice. (It doesn't look to me like she wants her teacher to notice what she got right.)
All of this reminds me of the Ira Glass quote floating around right now.
Then I remembered, I'd found something similar on the interwebs a while ago and pinned it somewhere. It's important. Oh, and it turns out Pam Garrison put dip pen to paper to share it.
Here's my take: Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes possible.
Oh, and thanks Pam.