“One must approach music with a serious rigor and, at the same time, with a great, affectionate joy.”
–Nadia Boulanger, composer & pianist (The Musician’s Way, p. 292)
How we sound in performance is a direct result of how we practice.
So even though practice entails focused work, it’s crucial that we permeate our work with joy.
The following 4 habits help us infuse practice with bountiful spirit.
1. Set Attainable Goals
When we choose accessible repertoire, we practice enthusiastically because we know that our performances will soar. By comparison, students who opt for the hardest music struggle in practice as well as on stage.
2. Learn Deeply
Deep practice fosters the security we need to be creative on stage. Via the deep practice methods spelled out in The Musician’s Way, we become one with our music, and that oneness allows our spirits to unfold. Superficial practicers, though, embed soulless muscle memory that’s neither artistic nor secure.
3. Build Performance Skills
Music is a social art form that resounds in the interaction between performer and listener. Through practice performances, we establish the habits that ensure failsafe concerts, and our confidence expands our spirits.
4. Celebrate the Miracle of Music
Deliberate practice is hard work, but music itself is woven of spirit. When we celebrate the spiritual nature of our art, we can permeate each note with joy, even as we tackle thorny problems. Then, music can help us and our listeners recognize that every moment of our existence is miraculous.