In Andrew Adams’s CMS Symposium 59.1 Forum “A Single Little Bit of Beauty: Profound Words on Practice and Life from 1918,” I found myself drawn into the story of a college professor who discovers a small but powerful piece of writing on the topic of the art of practicing. It resonated deeply with my own heart cry for a higher purpose in daily rehearsals to be more than a never-ending, claustrophobic grind of mediocrity. How often I have happily bound into the practice wing with eager enthusiasm, bright eyes shining with the hope that today will be the day in which I might somehow reach a new level of beauty in practicing to perfection. Yet, only moments later, I find myself spiraling dizzyingly back to earth, staring at the hands of the clock, watching each second tick past, and wishing, begging, pleading for them to hurry along just a little faster! The article’s reminder of 168 hours in the week filled with limitless potential was sickeningly convicting, for if the event of time in the practice room is truly sacred, what great woe, then, is my current state!
Upon the discovery of “art” to be the definition of the Greek word technique, and accuracy to mean “care about,” I grasped for the first time the earnest significance of the phrase technical accuracy to express much more than the right rhythms and proper pitches in the correct timing, but rather, a genuine call to take sincere care and concern for the creation of beautiful art. I have long despaired for this kind of meaningful approach to the practice room, from the age I sat swinging my legs at the piano bench while my mom set the kitchen timer for my short practice session, to the days I now spend plodding back and forth to the music department practice wing, dreamily yearning that the blessing of becoming a good musician will miraculously descend upon me—someday. Consequently, this article snapped me to attention, serving as a solemn wake-up call to the “today” of the practice room, a poignant command to be faithful and truly dedicated in the here and now.
In conclusion, my fresh impetus is firmly resolved to pursue not only perfection of the technique—art— but to turn sparkling eyes upward for a high calling of 168 hours fulfilled and cultivated with excellence in goodness, truth, and beauty.