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The two best times to practice

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Want to know the two best times to practice? When you feel like, and when you don't feel like it.

This bit of wisdom came to mind yesterday as I was watching a video interview with bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin.

To be a successful musician, he said, you need to take your instrument out of your case and do some "pickin'" every day. No exceptions. No vacations.

This brought to mind something Luciano Pavarotti once mentioned in an interview.

Talking to a People magazine reporter in 1980, the great Italian tenor was asked how often he practices. His response:

"Every day. Once a famous tenor, Aureliano Petile, said, 'If I go one day without singing, I realize it; if I go two days, my friends realize it; if I go three days, the audience realizes it.'"

Two musicians of vastly different backgrounds and styles saying essentially the same thing.

Some days I don't feel like practicing at all. Usually I try to practice anyway, if only for a half an hour or even less. Often I surrender to laziness and just blow it off.

So I need to be reminded by people like Jimmy Martin and Luciano Pavarotti that practicing needs to be like brushing your teeth. You just do it, even when it's a pain and it's the last thing you want to do.


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Playing Since: 1969
Experience Level: Purty Good

[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Magazine editor

Gender: Male
Age: 62

My Instruments:
French violin, late 18th Century, likely the work of the Parisian luthier Benoit Fleury. Back and neck are more recent replacements, although the scroll is original. Also have a mediocre instrument, a third one that's a bit of a beater, and a viola and quarter-size violin that came with my wife when we got married.

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Vassar Clements, Byron Berline, Chubby Wise, Scotty Stoneman, Michael Cleveland, Mark O'Conner, Kenny Baker, Richard Greene, J.S. Bach, Arcangelo Corelli, Joshua Bell, Rachel Barton Pine, the original Bluegrass Boys, the Stanley Bros., Jesse McReynolds, The Baroque Band--jeez, I could go on and on.

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Created 6/14/2009
Last Visit 11/28/2014

Began playing Suzuki method at the age of eight. Became interested in bluegrass and old-time fiddling in high school, at the same time studying what many call "classical," primarily baroque, with a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He didn't approve of my fiddling--but that was long before the orchestra was performing works by the likes of Mark O'Conner! Briefly played with a couple of bluegrass bands for real money until I shifted gears and ended up in the occupation I have now. Pretty much laid the old fiddle aside for about 20 years, picking it up only occasionally. After having my No. 1 instrument fully restored, I have rediscovered the joy of fiddling. I'm delighted to have found a community of like-minded people.

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