Monday, March 8, 2010

It takes practice...

Saturday my son had a piano thing so most of the day was taken up with that.  It was a regional competition and if you scored well enough, you could then go on to "State" and compete for the coveted "All State" title.  He played six pieces total.  Two hymns, two folk songs, and two classical pieces.  To be eligible and move on to State you must be rated Superior by the judges.  And color me excited, but he was!  On all six pieces.  So, he could compete for All State if he wasn't over the age limit. 

But I'm still proud at how far he's come.  He taught himself to play the keyboard we bought for my daughter.  I'd taked lessons when I about 16 so gave him the basics of reading music and he did the rest.  Within a couple weeks he passed by my two years worth of lessons and within a couple months he was filling in at church when our regular pianist was missing. 

This is his fourth year of lessons.  I figured if he was going to keep at it, then he needed help with some techinal stuff.  He's competed at the "State" level twice and was rated Superior both times, he's now the official fill-in pianist at church and tomorrow night, will be his instructor's "spotlight" student at some sort of regional thing for instructors.  (They bring their best pupils, let them perform and then bask in the glow of their students greatness.)  I'm very proud of course.

It took him a LOT of practice to play this well.  And even now, he still practices at least 2-3 hours a day.  Scales, chords, whatever pieces he's learning as well as pieces he's already learned. 

And here's where this relates to writing.  We have to practice too.   We's that simple.  If we don't, we won't improve.  When I look back as some of my first pieces of writing, I cringe.   They weren't that good.  Sure they showed promise, but they needed work.  Work that at the time, I didn't have the ability to do.

But just like my son, I've practiced.  I've taken some lessons, read some "how to" books then practiced some more.  I've been practicing for a little over eight years and still have a lot to learn.  I don't expect improvement in my craft overnight.  It'd be nice but I'm not holding my breath.:-)

So, I want to encourage each of you, take time to practice your writing.  Block out some time each day just for yourself.  And don't be discouraged if it's hard or improvement doesn't come quick.  To become a master at anything, it takes lots of time and lots of practice.  Writing isn't any  different.


V.R. Leavitt said...

First off, congrats to your son!! That's wonderful. He truly has a gift.

And you're right, practice is essential. Not only practice, but good practice. Nice post. We could all use this reminder from time to time!

kathy stemke said...

You must be soooo proud of your son. He obviously is gifted in music and will enjoy it all his life. 2-3 hours of practice a day shows that he is passionate about his craft.

Thanks for challenging us to practice our craft. Noted!

Jaleta Clegg said...

Congrats to your son. I've played the piano most of my life, mostly because I love it. It's not easy to excel.

I think you've really hit it with writing, too. Without that daily or weekly writing time, my skills get rusty. I'm fighting for any time right now. Do emails count?

Stephen Pohl said...

I am reading the book, This Is Your Brain on Music. It has a whole section on why virtuosos are not the musicians with talent, but the musicians who practice five hours a day. Sounds like your son is on the right path.

Cheryl said...

Congratulations to your son. That's great news.

We have a song that the toddlers dance to at the dancing school that goes,

"I must practice every day, because that's what my tap shoes say. If I don't practice every day, my shoes will run away."

Just think of how awful it would be if our ability to capture words ran away.

Thanks for the great post.


chris weigand said...

I have been actively pursuing my writing since 2004. I've learned a lot in those years and can see it in my work. But I have not reached perfection, for only God is perfect. So I continue learning and improving. Always learning and striving to be perfect in God's eyes.