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TO MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS

Now when I finally went back to practicing flute, I remember many of my experiences
during school – what I’ve learned from myself and others, about myself and others, and
the most important: about practicing, music and way of thinking.

Some of these “rules” apply specifically to classical musicians, and some are more
general ones and relate to all musicians and artists in general.

1. PRACTICING should be your everyday activity. If it gets hard – leave it for later or
take a break. Practice in a good mood, without being nervous, and remember: when you
enjoy practicing you will get better results.

2. QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY. If, for instance, someone practices 6 hours a day, it
doesn’t mean that this person is better than you – in fact, very often it is quite the
opposite. Quality 3-4 hours of practice is worth more than 8 hours spent on empty
playing.

3. ACTIVATE YOUR BRAIN. Practice effectively. As soon as your focus fades, take a
break.

4. BE ORGANIZED. “I don’t have the time” is a complete and utter excuse of lazy
people – that is a rule in general.

5. LEAVE YOUR EGO IN FRONT OF THE DOOR of a classroom when you go to


instrument/chamber music/orchestra lesson. There is no room for it when you cooperate
with other musicians, especially if you lead the group.

6. FORGET ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS when you arrive to your lesson. Otherwise,
it’s a waste of time for you, your professor and your colleagues.

7. LISTEN TO THE MUSIC – not only performances concerning your instrument, but
others too. You will expand your views in that way.

8. LEARN ABOUT OTHER ARTS – you simply cannot play Bach’s music and not
know how did the paintings from that time look like (and vice versa). In order to consider
yourself an artist, you need to know the background of the piece you practice/perform.
9. BE HUMBLE AND CONSTANTLY IMPROVE YOURSELF. As Schumann said:
“Be humble and know you’re not alone” – be sure that “behind the corner” there is
someone much, much better than you. Even after countless compliments about your
work, stay on the ground always and continue to practice. Accordingly, the following rule
would be:

10. LEARN HOW TO RECEIVE CRITIQUE – take benefit from the constructive ones;
take compliment from the jealous ones. One constructive critique is worth ten
compliments.

11. YOU CAN ALWAYS DO BETTER. Perfectionism can be your friend but don’t let it
control you, otherwise you will never be content with your work.

12. METRONOME should be your friend, not the enemy. Use it wisely and it shall be a
powerful ally during practice.

13. AVOID AUTOTUNING DEVICE – it serves only to determine the frequency of the
instrument you’re tuning with. ALWAYS TUNE USING YOUR OWN HEARING – that
way you will continue to develop your hearing and be able to correct your intonation
during performance – which is a skill so frequently neglected and undermined by so
many.

14. LISTEN TO YOUR COLLEAGUES – at lessons, at competitions, at seminars. You


will learn about solving and overcoming various problems.

15. ATTEND AS MANY SEMINARS AS YOU CAN, especially if lecturers are from
abroad. You will learn a lot whether you are an active or passive participant.

16. LISTEN AND OBSERVE the performers at concerts. You can learn a lot from that.

17. LISTEN CAREFULLY TO YOUR TEACHER AND TRY TO APPLY GAINED


KNOWLEDGE AS SOON AS YOU CAN – professors abroad will not repeat things
more than twice (if that). Think about that, and in what direction would your education
go depending on how much you (don’t) listen to what is being said to you.

18. ALWAYS HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES – keeping your knowledge selfishly will
NOT make you better than others.

19. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX when it comes to technical exercises. Who said you
must play it only how it’s written? Yes, you have to follow what is written but who/what
is stopping you from playing with it a bit while solving some technical problem?
20. USE YOUR IMAGINATION. When you play. When you listen. When you read.
When you observe.

21. DEFEAT YOUR VANITY – because it will not bring you anything good if you let it
control you.

22. TRY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS YOURSELF instead of expecting someone else to do


it for you. Only if you don’t succeed after trying everything you can think of, ask for
help.

23. LEAVE YOUR PERSONAL MARK. Present yourself through the piece, however
much the rules under which that piece was written allow you to. Do not imitate anybody,
let other performers be just an inspiration.

24. DRESS PROPERLY at concerts of classical music – this is addressed especially to


the female performers: nobody is interested in your super high heels, legs or huge
cleavage. Music should be in the forefront, you’re just it’s humble servant.

25. COOPERATE AND SOCIALIZE WITH ARTISTS of other genres and kinds – they
will broaden your mind.