Writing lines

If you had to fill in the blank, invariably the answer would be Practice Makes PERFECT.  But i would have to contest that answer.  What i believe to be the TRUE answer is: Practice Makes PERMANENT.  I’d love to take credit for this phrase but it’s not original with me but rather with a teacher i studied with.  I adopted it as one of my favorite lines in piano teaching, however because what i have come to realize is that what you focus on will eventually become habit.  If you learn the song with the wrong notes, the wrong timing or (heaven forbid) wrong fingering, trying to undo the work already done is doubly hard. 

So in my first year of college, my roommate was on the basketball team.  One time he walked into the room and exclaimed “OK that was the dumbest practice i’ve EVER been to.  We got all dressed into our uniforms and instead of practicing, we closed our eyes and imagined ourselves making baskets”.  I laughed when i heard his words.  Visualization is necessary in ‘setting the record straight’.  I have found that quite often in my own practice i need to encorporate ‘Auralization’ (now that word i will take credit for..lol).  We at times need to listen in our ‘inner ear’ to correct part of the song that is in error.  I remember practicing a Brahms piece many years ago and i was struggling with a certain part in the song.  Because half of the time i practiced  it incorrectly, when i stopped and ‘listened’ how the song SHOULD be played, i continued to hear my mistakes in my head.  And from that moment on, i discovered that it’s not WHAT we practice but HOW we practice.  Practice does make permanent and truly, more emphasis should be placed on methods of practicing with students to prevent habits that quite possibly will last a lifetime.