You Are What You Practice

by Linda Ratcliff

The effort you put into your practice time will either advance your skills quickly, or drag you down gradually. - Linda Ratcliff

We've all heard the expression, "You are what you eat." In other words - if you eat fat, you may become fat.  If you frequently indulge in sugar, you run the risk of becoming diabetic.  If you skip your fruit and vegetables, you could become deficient in minerals and vitamins.

In a survey taken in May of 2016, 75% of Americans claimed that they are eating properly.  But when they completed the questionnaire, the truth came out. The fact is, 80% of Americans actually fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, and too many Americans overeat refined grains and sugar.
Now let's apply this to your music. Are you practicing correctly? Or do you figure as long as you are running through your jam tunes at home every now and then, you'll be ok. I imagine a great percentage of you think your practicing is just fine as is.
But if your system of practicing is to quickly play through each jam tune a time or two, you may not improve as quickly as you would if you focused on what you want to achieve or improve in each song, one by one.
  • Do you need to pick up the tempo?
  • Are you rushing? Do you need to slow it down?
  • Are you too dependent on the tabs? Should you memorize the tune?
  • Are you making too many errors? Should you slow it down to improve accuracy?
If you're having fun practicing, but making a lot of mistakes, you could significantly improve your playing by considering these questions. Practice intentionally, with a goal in mind for each tune you review.
As always, if you have any questions, always feel free to ask Steve or myself.
Happy dulcimering, Linda



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