Howdy Edward, Joe and others!
Lovely responses! Truly they are!
Now although I have an idea of where he’s coming from, yet since I can’t speak for MP just myself here:
If I told you I wake up and put a harp in mouth before the first cigarette –
Read and play my harp while taking care of morning ‘bizness’ –
Pick up and play my harp while reading the morning ‘news’ on the forum –
And so many other times during the day –
And when I finally go to bed, I lay back and play some more –
Would I say I was practicing? Or rather I’m continually enforcing older tunes and techniques, while learning newer one everythings always?
I prefer the latter to the former. To me, and as unusual as it may seem, the very word PRACTICE here is anathema to my goals of harp playing.
I recall early writing books that told you how to become a writer. Many said you have to “practice” writing every day. Huh? Practice what? Spelling; penmanship; what? Writing is writing. Practice on a typewriter to know how QWERTY works. But practice writing itself?
Don’t recall where or who, but somebody once said: “Writing is nothing more than the skill full art of editing and more editing!” Or some such thing! Of this I agree! For longer than I care to remember!
Yet too, when becoming a trucker and going to driving school – we students practiced backing up and whatever else we needed to pass the state test on the back lots. But when we took the truck out on the real live roads, it was either do or don’t do! No practice allowed! I agreed there as well, for the past 25+ or so!
Yes, I fully understand the investment and value of practicing. It’s an absolute 1000% ++ must.
Yet it’s also how one approaches the subject and the word itself.
I learned a lot from Kenny Werner and his classic work: Effortless Mastery – Liberating the Master Musician Within!
He discusses how he hated to practice; and how it always was a chore for him. I know of what he spoke. Yet by changing his mindset, accepting what had to be done and doing it cheerfully and happily, it no longer became drudgery that held him back! I know now how to do that too!
If somebody wants actual specifics on how, what, when, where of Practice – Well, here’s this take on it I found way back when:
It’s great to work through if it’s your cup of tea. I agree with and follow most of it; some of it I do not agree with and follow. For me, it’s just too confining. But for those who want or seek that type of confinement, I’m more than happy to support you in that as well.
Yet as I said earlier – as I recently heard from Jon Gindick: If you want to master this instrument, you have to live and breathe it until you do.
Does it mean you won’t get frustrated and toss it aside every so often? You surely will.
Does it mean when you do pick it up after a layoff you won’t be sure what to do or where to go next? Yeppers, that happens too!
Now then as well, not so much for me as far as the word Practice goes, rather I will admit I would much prefer some more STRUCTURE for my playing time.
And so this opens up yet another whole can of worms that I don’t want to even touch at this time!
Instead, I’ll just say that when I was younger I took accordion lessons. And while there was structure and practice involved – When I tried releasing my own creativity towards the music and such, I was hindered and pooh-poohed at most every turn. And so eventually left it and forgotten all about the music I had learned.
I wish I was more wiser and stronger at the time because when I saw what Weird Al Yankovic did with the instrument, and he said his oddball family supported him along the way – Well, I’m glad somebody was able to break the ‘you have to practice it right’ mold!
Oh and not to mention one of my favorite cartoons of all time helps me stay true to me also:
Again, I just speak for myself here. And appreciate everybody’s thoughts and views on any subject/topic in the vastness of harmonica universe! Makes for a wonderful journey, doesn’t it?!
Thanks for reading!
Keep on Practicing, Harpin’, Jammin’ n’Everything!
Peace & SPD Out!