Monday, October 29, 2007

A Skillful Musician

"A skilled musician must eat, breathe, sleep, and think music constantly," stated Richard Cionco, my piano professor at CSUS. One cannot expect to perform his or her very best having not become "one" with the music. Anywhere from three to seven hours a day are normal practices. There are those who practice, give or take, longer or shorter amounts of time. Given one is spending hours with his music every day, he really is [eating, breathing, sleeping, and thinking music constantly.] What does it take to be skilled at anything?? Having taught piano for twelve years, I have found that focus, time, and consistency is the answer. One grows to know something intimately by thinking or meditating on, devoting time to it, touching it,and interacting with it consistently. A musician goes through stages as in a relationship: timid at first, aquainted with, familiar, intimate. The process of getting to the last stage has many "mountains" and "valleys", sleepless nights, frustrations, hand and finger cramps, sore finger tips, stress of memorization and performance anxiety... but at the same time an increasing amount of beauty is forming with each rehearsal. As one finally and truly "knows" the music, one begins to love it. When a musician loves the music he or she performs, the beauty of passionate expression has evolved over many rehearsals and performances. Thus, we have a very skillful musician. There is nothing more thrilling and rapturous than to be audience to a skilled musician who has a love affair with his music up on a stage... except perhaps to be the one who knows his music inside and out and has weathered some intense times together with his music -- being the skilled.

Tips on becoming a skillful musician:
-Start at a young age (this is not a must but it helps)
-Have a set practice time every day
-Practice at "least" an hour every day (if you cannot get more time in)
-Have at least one lesson per week from a skilled musician
-Play in competitions and recitals
-Teach someone else to play your instrument
-Meditate on your music when you are not actively practicing

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