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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Starving Mediocrity to Death

Mediocrity is infectious and contagious.  It sneaks into our work and quietly spreads into everything that we do.  If you allow mediocrity to slide into what you practice, it will feed on everything around it.  If you myelinate sloppy circuits, you will become a master of mediocrity.

As you practice, force yourself to stop when you stumble.  Go back, fix things as you go, and pay attention to the details.  It is far better to practice one measure for an hour, if that is what it takes.  By demanding perfection in the the preparation process, you can literally starve mediocrity to death.

Habits are easy to form, and tend to be one-way streets.  Myelin breaks down very slowly, and the only way to get rid of a bad habit is to "over-write" it with a good one.  You literally have to myelinate a new circuit strong enough to overpower the old one.  Be thoughtful about the things you might be accidentally cementing through repetition, and spend most of your time focusing directly on your weaknesses.  SMASH!!!

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