Savouring Your Practice

Mar 31 2020

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A refreshing wide-open approach for your inner artisan.

It can be hard to understand what is happening with our world and economy right now. The pace of our modern digital-first, city-centric lifestyles has come to a grinding halt, affording us the opportunity to recalibrate our choices and habits. I want to invite you to see a refreshing perspective on what these days could look like for you and I hope it brings some much needed respite.

We could catch up on a latest movie release, endlessly scroll the news feed, but what if we did something a little extraordinary?

Through my work in a high school where I teach singing, I became friends with a lovely lady called Susie. Susie is a piano teacher working in the studio next to me. One day she asked if she could have some singing lessons. With my rusty piano skills I knew I could do with some lessons myself so we agreed on a swap. Susie is a bit of a veteran for knowing how to teach young pianists and now being one of her students myself I can see why!

See, Susie talks to me about practice unlike any other teacher I’ve heard before. She encourages me to “enjoy your practice”, “I want you to love your scales”, “really savour your time” like the kind of feeling when tucking into a salted caramel Italian meringue with freshly extracted honeycomb (Yum!) For me, this was totally new. Piano practice usually felt more like swallowing a garlic tablet, hoping that it’s gonna help your immune system fight a cold!

I’ve taken on a very technical piece by Bach, “Sinfonia No 8”. This piece has been extremely difficult to study. A Christian, Bach is known for weaving three simultaneous voices in many of his pieces, reflecting the Trinity. But it’s like trying to play three melodies at the same time when you only have two hands! As difficult as this piece looks and sounds, Susie’s advice is helping me achieve something that I honestly didn’t think was possible.

I’ve had to remember that patience is key in savouring my practice. It requires adopting a long term view to my personal goals, but it is more sustainable. This back to basics, humble approach is truly something to cherish. It’s good for the soul in a world that seems to be rampant with worry.

With our new found spare time at home, responsibly flattening the curve, I hope you’d consider this refreshing wide-open approach to your practice. Clean your space and light a scented candle as you sit at your piano, pick up your guitar or cradle your violin, allowing the natural smells, textures and sounds evoke a sense of peace and serenity, helping you to savour your practice.

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [centre your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]”.
Philippians 4:8

Francesca Olson

 

Francesca is a volunteer on our Hills creative in Sydney, Australia, and is a highly qualified vocal coach. You can find more information about her online vocal coaching here, and read more from her blog.