My husband Kurt once interviewed a local musician for a piece. When he read me the various notes he had taken from the conversation, there was one quote that stood out to me. The musician had told Kurt that it took him three hours of practice before he really felt like he was ready to play. At that time, I took that statement to be indulgence or bragging. But soon after that interview, I started violin lessons & I learned just how much that statement was grounded in fact.
As I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts, I’m a bit spellbound with my fiddle. Figuring out a difficult fingering or even playing in tune is a joy equal to only one other thing in my life. (More on that in a sec.) I usually give myself an hour of practice every day, but each time I think to myself, “I could do more; I haven’t totally gotten that one song down yet. I need to practice the pinkie exercises, I need to. . . ” The unfortunate reality is that I have tons of other things to do. And considering that I’ve stripped most distractions out of my life (TV, PlayStation, shopping) those excuses are practical (house needs to be cleaned, checkbook needs to be balanced, husband needs to be kissed).
The one other thing that fiddle playing is equal to in my life is writing. Let me clarify, not just scribbling something down, but the good writing, where the ideas are clear, all the words you need are there, and the very act of moving your pen across the page is the most soothing thing in the world. At my first writing workshop class, I told my teacher I was there to figure out whether or not I wanted to go to grad school. I mentioned how much I loved playing music, but writing was my first talent and I needed to pay more attention on developing it before I committed myself to something else.
It sucked to admit that.
Because I do think that what the musician said was true. I think you do need three hours a day to feel like you’re grounded and focused enough in your knowledge to take on a new project. In that case, my writing should be the talent I focus on because I’m not willing to turn away from it in favor of something else. Something internal won’t let me. And I don’t think it would be entirely fair to put aside 6 hours every day for each. An unfair but necessary decision is in order.