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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

Practice makes more than perfect.

There’s a simple beauty to a metronome.

I used to keep an old one in my studio. It has the resonance of wood, an insistent, vibrant tone that draws me into the beat.

I have digital metronomes as well. They give me a beat. My metronome gives me The Beat.

As soon as The Beat begins, so does my practice.

Practice is my sacred time, my meditation, my focus. Practice is my rock.

Every discipline requires practice. Whenever I tackle a new software or technique I seek out what’s considered best practice. Then I practice. Practice is the only way to learn. Leaning is the only way to master. And practice is the only way to continue to grow.

Every great musician I know has a steady habit of practice. No mater where they are or what is going on around them.

I’ve always been a deadline writer, but the key to success is between the deadlines. You need to keep your pencil sharp.

I was thinking of practice habits when I was reading in the New York Times about a 90-year old piano teacher who has been giving piano lessons over Zoom. Pandemic or not, her goal is to keep her students practicing.

“I believe strongly in continuity,” Cornelia Vertenstein said. “My students learn to be persistent in what they are doing. I try to teach them not only how to learn, but how to work.”


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