Practice Practice Practice


 

Practice makes perfect. It’s a pretty annoying phrase, especially when someone else says it to you in that slightly rising, know it all voice. It is, however, undeniably true. There’s only one way to get better, and that’s to take something and do it over and over again. 

                                   my big knob

For a very long time I lived in this naive fantasy world. I would constantly be meeting these amazing musicians, composers, and engineers. After hearing their work I would quietly say to myself  “I’ll never be that good, they were born with that. “ Everything sounded so natural, so effortless; no number of hours I spent could ever achieve that sound.  I was surrounded by it, composers who could write and produce a radio ready song in half a day, engineers who could lower one frequency by a db and open up an entire arrangement, session players who could sit down after hearing the song once, play three perfect takes, and leave in less than an hour. WTF??

Then I started talking to these people. Asking them how they did it. What was their special gift? Guess what the answer was… Practice. Hours and hours and hours of practice. 3-10 hours a day at their instrument, hundreds of songs written, hundreds of sessions recorded and tracks mixed. Not a single one of them woke up one day and realized suddenly that they had become a gifted musician. It was a conscious decision to become great, combined with unrelenting hard work. Plain and simple. There is no easy way out.

I’m writing this blog entry for myself as much as for you. Some days it’s all to easy for me to procrastinate, and put my practice off. Sometimes if I’m busy I’ll miss a day or two at the piano. This is bad. I can tell right away when I sit down on the third day that I’ve missed it. The same goes for song writing. I usually write a few songs/jingles a week. This keeps my mind in shape. If I take a week off, or work gets slow, I immediately start to loose my creative edge. After two weeks I have a tough time with ideas. Obviously the same goes for my mixing chops. A week or two goes by without tweaking a compressor or hitting the record button, and I start to loose my ears for it.

So what’s the solution? How do we ever get as good as the artists whose music inspires us, whose music is so good it makes us almost sick to listen to it? Well we do what they did. Practice!! How do we do that? You tell me…

This entry was posted in Artists in Residence, Eric Maltz. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Practice Practice Practice

  1. Dani Blanco says:

    I totally agree with you on this, butI think it´s a little bit different whether you´re talking about more “technical” stuff (building up your chops as a player, tweaking eq´s and comperssor just to get the hold of it…) or entering the creative proccess. On this latter issue, it happens to me sometimes that I need to leave the whole thing aside for a while, and the when I come back to it and try to write a new song/lyrics/arrangement, I feel fresh and full of ideas ´cause even though I haven´t actually sit and tried to work on something, I´ve been toying around with musical ideas in the back of my mind, and spent time getting to know new music or enjoying my old favourites. I know this can be tricky, as sometimes can be just an excuse to procrastinate…

  2. JoMaSh says:

    I think we are our own worst critics, and sometimes being introspective doesn’t help either. At the same time, you can OVER practice… just like you can ‘over’ anything… I think it you focus too much on the technical aspects, the organic nature of music can be lost. Take how I approach a remix as an example. I listen to the track, download the stems, and start painting. But there are times when I get sick of it… and that is where I have learned t put it aside, take a breather, leave it alone for a few days. There IS such a thing as over production, over thinking, over analyzing, and that, for me at least, hinders the creative process. It’s not supposed to be a frustrating, annoying process. So I take a deep breath, walk away, and return at a later date. I may even scrap the track entirely and start again, or I may strip elements out, but I get a fresh perspective on the remix I am working on. I let it distill :)

  3. JoMaSh says:

    I think we are our own worst critics, and sometimes being introspective doesn’t help either. At the same time, you can OVER practice… just like you can ‘over’ anything… I think it you focus too much on the technical aspects, the organic nature of music can be lost. Take how I approach a remix as an example. I listen to the track, download the stems, and start painting. But there are times when I get sick of it… and that is where I have learned to put it aside, take a breather, leave it alone for a few days. There IS such a thing as over production, over thinking, over analyzing, and that, for me at least, hinders the creative process. It’s not supposed to be frustrating and annoying but enjoyable and fun. So I take a deep breath, walk away, and return at a later date. I may even scrap the track entirely and start again, or I may strip elements out, but I get a fresh perspective on the remix I am working on. I let it distill and ferment before I extract the musical goodness :)

  4. Mirytie says:

    You’re totaly right. I’m a violinist and I used to take a break on the weekends and on monday the tones were totally off. I learn my lesson the hard way and now I practice every day. My trick is to be alone at house when I’m playing the violin. That way, I can concentrate only in my music and in my violin. I’m a perfeccionist so I’m a totally pain in the a** to my teacher and I use to over-do-it, until my fingers are numb ^-^
    When I am depressed, thinking “I’ll never be as good as they”, like you said, I remenber my teacher words “It costs a lot of time to master a instrument. You don’t want to rush things.” and I trust her. I think “talent” is a word rader misinterpreted ’cause people think that, if we have talent we can play a instrument and that’s a lie and it makes me angry when people say that without knowing how much hard work is behind it, almost as much as when I heard a people say “You have to practice to be good” in that relaxed tone (but I know it’s true -.-’ as you said)
    Thanks for the post =)

  5. Trike says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Erich Fromm also said that to be excellent at anything one needs practice, perseverance and concentration. I was feeling uninspired until I read this, I think I’ll go practice now!! Thank you! <3

  6. You are absolutely right Practise makes a man perfect and this is why we invite you to participate in Red Bull Thre3Style. Red bull Thre3Style is the biggest DJ contest in India. We at Red Bull have thought about giving wings to your music instinct. In order to register your name visit Red Bull site http://bit.ly/eH6QmE. You can also get a wild card entry all you have to do is join us on Twitter http://bit.ly/goLTqU& ask us how?

  7. Jay Cook says:

    Sometimes the truth hurts, but truth it is.

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