Thursday, January 16, 2014

When Practice Doesn't Make Perfect.

They say that when you practice, you'll become perfect. 

I haven't found this to be true. 

Once, I was practicing a song on the piano. I can't read notes and I don't know which keys are which, but I wanted to learn a particular song so I tried. I agonized over the notes, counting up and down the lines and spaces, running through the alphabet. Then, I pecked the keys trying to get the piano to sound like the song. 

I thought I was doing marvelously! 

Then my sister, who does know piano, and how to read notes, and which keys are which, came over to me. 

"Want help?" she asked. 

"What's that supposed to me?" I scoffed.

"It doesn't sound right." 

"It does too. Leave me alone, I'm practicing."

She wouldn't go. "Play it again," she said. She watched my hands and glanced up at my sheet music as I played. "You're supposed to play a flat for all those notes."

"A what?"

"The black key. That's what that symbol at the beginning of the song means."
I tried it her way, and it worked. But I'd practiced it so many times the wrong way it took a very long time to unlearn what I'd practiced. 

So, you've got to practice right to get better. 

There was a golfer named Ben Hogan. I don't know much about him, except that he was quoted in a book I'm reading as saying, "Every day you don't practice you're one day further from being good." He doesn't say 'you're one day further from being perfect," but "one day further from being GOOD."

And we've got to start somewhere! 
So start by practicing right. Not to become perfect, but to become better. To become good. 

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