Are You Rusty?

“You don’t need to practice do you?”  

It feels more like a statement than a question and it comes from a laborer who has spent years perfecting his craft in woodworking and fixing up kitchens. We stand in the middle of my kitchen as he works and he’s curious about the fact that I’m preparing for a Christmas show in the middle of June.

I stand there, wondering how to explain something that seems like it should be common sense. Isn’t that like assuming an athlete doesn’t need to consistently exercise? Or asking the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz why he needs oil? 

But, I think to myself, perhaps people who don’t play instruments really think that musicians don’t have to practice. So I try to explain that there is more to practicing than just “running through a song.” Keeping my fingers agile, my brain sharp and my vocal chords strong are only a part of the drill.

“How much time do you put into practicing?” Now that’s an easier question to answer and it came from another Portraits of White fan. 

The short answer is “as much time as possible.” I usually try to set aside a few hours each day to practice. I shut off my electronics and dig in. I find that a few hours of concentrated, uninterrupted practice time is better than trying to “fit it in” between all of the other tasks that go with running a business. Practice is oil that prevents rustiness. Even just a little bit of time, consistently, on a daily basis can help keep anyone keep their skill set sharp, no matter what life-work you’ve chosen. For a musician, practicing is key. Pun intended.

One of my core values is well-being, in all areas of my life.

Practice — musical health

Exercise — physical

Journalling/Writing — emotional 

Praying/Reading — spiritual

Listening to positive messages — mental

Conversation — relational

What about your life? Do you know what keeps you running smoothly physically, mentally, spiritually? 

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