Practice Makes Perfect

Andres Segovia was one of the best classical guitarists of all times. One of his students wrote an interesting article about how Segovia practiced:

This is what he taught me and told me was his method. Practice in setsof fifteen minutes, divided into two sets of seven to eight minutes with ashort break between. At the end of each fifteen minutes, take a 3 minutebreak, stand up, get a glass of water, stretch, etc. but be sure to take amoment to focus your eyes on something far away to relax your eyes from the close work of the page and the fret board and to clear your mind. Startagain and do three fifteen minute sets, totaling 45 minutes of intensepractice. This time at the end of the third set take a real break ofabout fifteen minutes. Repeat this 3-set practice routine for a total of five times. At that point you will have spent around five and a half hours.

via Classical Guitar – Segovia’s Advice About Practicing | Eric Henderson Blog.

Five and a half hours of practice? On top of this, he would do the same routine in the afternoon, and I believe also in the evening. I wonder if the reason why I don’t play better, is because I don’t spend much time practicing. I really don’t have fifteen or so hours to practice a day. Some days, I don’t practice at all. I’m sure that if I spent even one hour a day in practice I’d play guitar much, much, better. Practice transforms me and my ability to  play.

I’ve come to believe that the same transformation that comes from practice in sports, music, and other activities, is also available to our spiritual lives through spiritual practices. What and how we practice determines what we do and how we do it. When we practice for sports, music, or anything, the way we practice impacts our actions and abilities. When we engage in spiritual practices, our lives are transformed through God’s grace.

Practicing in the spiritual life means practicing spiritual disciplines. When we practice spiritual disciples we are giving God a means to transform us from the inside out. When we fail to practice, we neglect opportunities to connect with God, and in some ways, keep him at the edges of our lives. When we make spiritual disciples a part of our daily practices, especially when we enter them being open and receptive to God, we find our lives shifting over time. What do we shift to? I believe if we are open and receptive as we practice prayer, scripture reading/reflection, and other disciplines, our lives shift toward love.

I might not ever become a first-class guitarist. However, through practicing spiritual disciplines daily, I may just become the person God has created me to be.

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