Practice Perfect
Posted by Chase Sanborn

There is an old expression: practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. The body learns through repetition. When you teach your body to do something correctly, that’s what it tends to do. If you allow it to adopt bad or sloppy habits, the end result will be just that.

Here’s an analogy: Two basketball players stand beside a pile of basketballs. Player #1 throws as many balls as possible, as quickly as possible. Out of 100 shots, 50 of them go into the basket (probably a generous prediction). Player #2 throws only ten balls, but takes time to concentrate fully on each throw. Eight of the balls go in the basket. Who has accomplished more? Player #1, despite getting 50 balls in the basket has established only a 50% accuracy rate. Player #2 has established an 80% accuracy rate and probably learned more from the two shots she missed than player #1 did from the fifty he missed. Your notes are basketballs; try to get each and every one in the basket.

This is a hard concept for young musicians (and some older ones) to grasp: practicing slowly and carefully yields the most rapid and effective results. Slow down and listen to every single note you play with a critical ear. Accept nothing less than your absolute best on every note you play; don’t let sloppiness be your trademark. If you cuff an entrance or the tone is fuzzy, take time to improve that note before you move on to the next.

Here is a recipe for perfect practicing: Practice one note at a time, and make sure every note is played to the absolute best of your ability.

Chase Sanborn

Comments are closed.

Return to Blog