Only got in about an hour and a half of practice today. Left Virginia around 6am, arrived in L.A. 11:15am local time, had lunch with a good friend, tied up loose ends that needed to be taken care of ASAP after I returned, and then had an unexpected but lovely dinner out with my sister and her beau. Now it’s 10pm but it feels like 1am! Ick.
Despite falling short of my goal today, the biggest thing on my mind after starting my practice was the idea of mental barriers. All day I thought “I’ll be too tired to do anything” or “I might as well write today off.” etc etc. Before I even sat down and tried, I had given up. Well that’s no way to go, so when I practiced today it started with “I’m just going to do this, despite my expectations.” and it was a worthwhile, enlightening experience.
I’m back at my apartment in Echo Park and thus in a different practice space. Visually, acoustically it’s a far cry from my parents’ basement. Many of the good habits I began to form over in Virginia seemed distant and foggy in a different environment. Just like sight reading, I need to practice adapting to different performing spaces. After all I’m not going to win any auditions by only playing my best in my bedroom.
Another mental barrier I faced, in addition to the macro “I’m too tired to play, so I shouldn’t even try” nonsense was the micro “I’m not ready to play this fast yet so I shouldn’t even try.” But the only way to be objective about something is to try it at both extremes, listen with honest ears, and see what the truth is. Assuming something can’t be done (yet) is just as bad as telling a student of yours “Don’t even bother trying.” If it sounds like a horrible thing to say to a young student, it’s an even worse thing to tell yourself.
One last thought on mental barriers, from my boyfriend who recalled something one of his Tang Soo Do teachers once told him: “Never let your mind give up before your body.”