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Perseverance in Practice

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Perseverance in practice is absolutely, 100% fundamental. Persisting and moving past what you previously found difficult or impossible, is what lets you feel great about what you’ve accomplished. In fact, it’s also very essential to being a competent musician.

Learning curves

Putting in the effort to persist in the overcoming of learning curves is what progress is all about; and it’s doubly great because it has the added bonus of allowing you to feel good about what you’ve mastered. But it’s not always easy, and has a lot to do with putting in the self-discipline to keep pushing through the sometimes painfully-slow process of learning new techniques, scales, chords, arpeggios and almost anything else. However – with time, effort, care and diligence – you’ll come to see that it was worth it all along.

“Impossibilities”


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Have you ever felt – when starting a new technique or difficult scale – like you’re going nowhere very fast? This feeling probably accompanies almost every musician upon starting something new.  But – as is the case with all progress and growth in life (as well as music) – positive change is normally more or less uncomfortable, or it wouldn’t be growth! Everything was – at one stage “impossible”, and then people worked hard and made it possible! So inspire yourself, and make what you want to be able to do doable.

Good technique takes time

Achieving worthwhile technique – that you can be proud of – can sometimes take very many hours and be a long, slow, painful process. Know this, accept it and enjoy it – or you’ll waste a lot of time and energy hating the practice that’s sometimes unavoidably essential. Never think you can always just skip playing something slowly – because it’s boring – and move on to playing it quickly; thinking you’ve got it. Notice when you’re procrastinating – by leaving the less enjoyable for later; moving onto another interesting bit – as this can set your development back a lot. If you haven’t got it right now, and aren’t definitely planning to later, where’s the guarantee that it’s going to improve?  Also, avoid practicing- at speed – things that you have trouble doing perfectly at slower tempos, as this can lead to bad technique. Be honest enough with yourself to know when you haven’t got something right – and feel good about yourself when you do!

It’s also very important to persist through the discomfort of not being initially “good at it”. Do away with discouraging thoughts like, “It’ll never be good” or “I’ll never get it right”. Know that you are developing and don’t worry about these temporary stages.

Rewards of practice

The rewards of earnest and assiduous practice are invaluable, because – putting in the time and effort to master all those wonderful frills, techniques (and everything else you want to do) – really sets you apart from the average. With what your dedication can give to the world (and your own feeling of accomplishment) – make it a richer place; a better place – all because of your growing musical proficiency.

Achieving things that you had to really practice hard – or “push” – to learn are what set you apart from what you were previously, and are very valuable to your development. They show you how far you’ve come, and let you know there are yet more musical ‘worlds’  to explore, and that yes – they are possible for you to venture into, if you’ve shown yourself you could do what you can do now.

For worthwhile musical accomplishments, the going in the beginning is sometimes slow but – after the commitment has been put in – in the discouraging face of sometimes no obvious appearance of progress – it can produce the most beautiful results.

And always remember – If it sounds good, then it is good.

Perseverance in Practice

Caleb Lloyd

Caleb Lloyd is a performing electric bassist and composer specializing in Jazz, Funk and Contemporary music


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