Practice Part 1: Passion

Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from Mike Valeras’ blog.

Over the years, I’ve been asked many questions regarding practicing and motivation.  Due to the recent interest expressed by some of you on this matter, I would like to respond by exploring reasons for, and ways to avoid, “Hitting the Wall.”  Today’s post, the first of three, will address what I believe to be the most important element of any artist’s/musician’s quest for self-improvement.  Passion.

It is my belief that if you are to excel at something, in this case music, you must know, with all your heart and soul, what your passion is.  What is the one thing that makes you so happy, that you would want to do it everyday, for free?  Mine is so clearly defined that I even include it in short bios of myself.  See my myspace page for example.  I love the guitar and  it’s function in the overall sound-scape of music.  Everything else stems from this.  I  could expand on it endlessly but that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.  Your passion may be songwriting, performing, or a specific style of music.  Whatever it is.  Define it. 

 The most important thing about your passion should be your innocence towards, and excitement for, whatever that passion is.  Every time I pick up a guitar, I get jazzed!  The possibilities wash over me like a wave, and I can’t wait to dig in.  The shape of the instrument, the feel of the wood, and the sound of a string vibrating give me the same feeling of butterflies that I felt the first time I picked one up as a boy.  You must see your passion through the eyes of a child.  When you do this, you will begin to see the musical world, and your instrument, as infinite.  Can you imagine the spirit of a child, with endless possibilities, ever ”Hitting the Wall?”  Next time, in Part II, I’ll discuss the natural extension of defining your passion.  Following your path, and using it to jump-start your practice regimen.

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