When I was in junior high, I played on our schools 6th, 7th, and 8th grade basketball teams. Our practices were full of layups, free throws, defensive drills, and sprints, and on game days we were required to wear dress pants, a dress shirt, and a tie to school and to the game. The members of the opposing team (who would usually be wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, and the like) would often snicker when we showed up in our dress clothes, but I remember feeling an immense sense of pride in what we did – we were a team, we worked hard on doing the little things right, and we took our craft seriously.
I’ve been thinking a lot about those game days and dress clothes as this school year gets rolling along. As the business of school picks up, I notice more instances of practice charts being misplaced, books being forgotten on the stand at home, and practice assignments not receiving the attention they deserve during the week. My thought on these matters is this – take your craft seriously, work hard on doing the little things right, and take pride in doing so. There’s a connection between sloppy preparation (even in things as little as keeping track of your practice chart) and a sloppy approach to playing. So start with the little things. Organize your materials, organize your mind, and we’ll work on increasingly organizing your technique and playing.
I’ve also been surprised how many students have reported a lot of illness at school already this year. It seems early in the year for people to be coming down sick! But, as part of respecting your teachers and your fellow students please, please do not come to your lessons sick. Everything we do is done in close quarters with a lot of hands-on correction, so it is imperative to keep illness out of the studio as much as possible. Thank you for your courtesy on this matter.
And finally, we have been missing many of you at group classes thus far this school year! I know that the responsibilities and requirements of school are often very time-consuming, especially for junior high and even more for high school students. However, group classes are a very necessary supplement to your private lessons as part of your full musical development. Please make every effort to attend your respective classes!
See you in lessons this week!