Success is the habit, not the act…

…or in the case of music, practice and rehearsal is the habit.

I teach a winter percussion line at a local high school. This past weekend, they made a big cognitive leap as an ensemble . Here’s the interesting part: their progress showed not so much in their performance, or run throughs, but in how they rehearse.

In the past, rehearsal with this group has been as much social as working on music, movement and drill (the elements you work on in winter percussion). Which is OK, I guess, for your social life, but a really inefficient way to rehearse if you want to be the best you can be.

We as a staff have been working on inspiring the kids to do better in rehearsals, but we’ve had pretty spotty success until now. And, speaking for myself only, it’s been frustrating and I’ve let that show too much at times (which is something I need to work on).

But, starting with this past weekends rehearsals, their rehearsal approach has changed for the better. In fact, very much so, and in big and important ways. And yes, the resulting performances have been better, but it all started with the rehearsals.

We’ve all heard variations of this quote by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This is a great example of that. Performance is the act that the public sees, but the habit that few people see from us is our rehearsal.

It’s also a good example of the idea that, in order to achieve something, you have to become that person. In this case, if the drumline wants to be great like some of the other drum lines they’ve seen, they need to ‘become’ those people. Put in similar hours practicing, use same intensity and approach at rehearsals, etc.

Putting my performer hat on (vs. my teacher hat), what I can take from this for my own development is that there are all kinds of things I can work on to develop my drumming skills, and I need look no further than what my teachers give me to work on. (They being  seasoned pros, with ‘big’ gigs that I aspire to.) It ain’t rocket science, it’s just a lot of work that needs to be done. 😉

A great weekend for those students; let’s hear it–yay! Let’s see if we can keep it up as we move forward. 😉

So then, how can YOU apply this to your own development?







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