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Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States
Professor of Saxophone, James Madison University

Friday, June 3, 2011

Practice for love

Please, do yourself a favor and listen to Jonathan Franzen's 18 minute commencement address for Kenyon College:

http://www.kenyon.edu/x57433.xml

We love music, which is why we are drawn to practice it, but real practice is emotionally painful.  We come face to face with our weaknesses and shortcomings.  As Franzen says, pain hurts, but it doesn't kill . . . pain is a part of real life, and real love.

Practice Monster doesn't understand the complex relationship between pain and joy, but as humans, we can never forget that love is only possible because of those polar opposites.  Without darkness, there is no light.

So practice because you love to practice.  Play because you love to play.  Forget about the risks, see the pain for what it is, and be grateful that you are alive.  You don't have to "like" your work, but you'd better love it.

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