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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Sports specialists — opinion: Practice makes perfect

  • I have a friend who is one of the best banjo players alive today. Part of the reason is he practices five or six hours per day, and has done so since he was in the fifth grade. If you ask him, his only regret is that he does not have more time to practice, because you only get better the more you practice.
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  • I have a friend who is one of the best banjo players alive today. Part of the reason is he practices five or six hours per day, and has done so since he was in the fifth grade. If you ask him, his only regret is that he does not have more time to practice, because you only get better the more you practice.
    You don't get to be an elite musician by not being committed to your craft. That is pretty much how it is regardless of the undertaking. To be the best, you have to work at it a lot.
    People rightfully admire his ability, but few realize the level of work it takes.
    Anyone can play a banjo, guitar, or any other instrument, but only those that pay their dues of endless practice can be the best.
    “You can be as good as you want to be,” my friend said recently. “Just depends on how much you want to work.”
    But what if he played baseball instead? What if he worked on his curve ball five hours a day, every day the entire year? What if he went to pitching clinics and played on travel clubs in the off season? What if his parents paid for a private coach to refine nuances in his windup?
    Would you say the parents are too obsessed with sports?
    Are they more obsessed than parents who pay for private lessons for musicians?
    Why is being a great banjo player more noble than being a great baseball player?
    I would submit both are artists in their own right, and both their achievements should be celebrated.
    For most people, being a banjo player or a baseball player is a hobby. Working at it for a few months a year, and playing a season for a few months, is plenty. They are able to enjoy the hobby and that is a noble endeavor.
    To go beyond that level takes more than a couple of months a year. It takes more than a casual approach. To be the best at anything, you do have to make some choices, and that may mean year-round work toward your goal.
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