practice diary #8

“Things will not change until I change.” But sometimes I have already done the changing and simply I need to keep the change long enough to see the difference.

This is true for most things, but I think about it most when I’m practicing cello. Say there is one note that is out of tune. Today I spend 2 minutes re-learning the note, or rather relearning how to play it in tune. Tomorrow I pick up the cello, my tendency will still be to play it out of tune. So, I’ll do another couple of minutes of tuning work.

Next day I take out my cello and it is still out of tune. Often at this point I may get a little frustrated. How long have I been playing cello, and yet still I cannot play in tune? (this is question is rarely helpful)

I’ve been practicing this for so long (3 days) and it is still not better, am I practicing wrong? (this question is sometimes helpful, but is most so after a couple of weeks of practice, not 3 days)

After the initial flame of frustration dies down I’m left with embers. The embers feel like a good challenge, not antagonizing enough to make me stop, but interesting enough to keep me going. I’m not sure that I will improve the thing, but I’m going to set about to it everyday whether or not it feels like I can.

Eventually I arrive. It is not a sudden shift where one day I can’t play the note and the next day I can, but rather I live into it. I guess that is what makes it feel so rewarding in the end.