Practice makes progress.

Practice makes progress

A good friend of mine and fantastic musician in his own right, Mark Ski commented that on a photo I posted on Instagram a year or two ago. I hadn't heard it before and it really stuck in my head.

We're fortunate to get many different types of bands at Audio Works. We also get varying abilities, from people with no experience, to lifetime musicians. This does mean that some of the rooms sound like a well oiled professional group and some like an after-school jam, BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THIS PLACE IS FOR. I love the fact that people have the drive to come and expose their weaknesses and work on them, it's great to hear the improvements. 

It translates to all walks of life too. Wether you're beginning a get fit programme, removing sugar from your diet, learning a language or have just become a new parent every second you practice something, you're learning and therefore making progress.

Tim Ferriss, someone that I mention almost on a daily basis has a great tool for learning, it's called 'The Four Hour Chef'. The book uses cooking as a vehicle to teach you different learning methods, which you can then apply to any other subject. It's helped me and hundreds of thousand of others, you can actually download the torrent of the book and bonus info for free, HERE. The hard copy is significantly more useful, particularly when trying out the suggested recipes.

So practice something and make some progress. Feel free to share some links to what you're working on at the moment in the comments.

Speak to you Friday.


What I've learnt from 5,000 rehearsals.

I worked out yesterday that we've had somewhere in the region of 5,000 rehearsal sessions booked at Audio Works. That's amazing. It's also really nice to know that people like to rehearse here.

Some people practice on their own, some bands have 10 members. Some sessions are 30 minutes and some are 6 hours. Some bands come in and don't leave the room until their session is finished, and others have a cigarette break every 20 minutes. But what makes a good rehearsal?

Whenever I'm practicing anything I consider it useful, worthwhile or successful if I've improved what I was practising or constructed something that didn't exist before I started. It depends on your objective. I've had successful rehearsals when I've jammed for 60 minutes, and also had good practice when I focussed on one specific, minute detail.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, states that to achieve expertise in any field you need to spend roughly 10,000 hours. Now, clearly this depends on how you define expertise, and not many people start out with the goal of becoming an expert. Most of the fun is in the journey, the learning and failing, and trying again. That does show however, that if 0 hours is no knowledge and 10,000 is maximum knowledge, then we need to start putting some hours in.

Most of the bands at Audio Works rehearse once a week for 2 hours with no breaks. Know, that's not to say that if you don't do that you're good or bad, I think we all know when we've put in the time, and that's what drives me to progress. Whenever I do something that turns out not good enough, I know if I've put the time in so I know what needs to be done and where the mistakes where.

My overriding motto while practising/rehearsing is 'practice makes progress', a good friend of mine, Mark Ski (funkbyfunk) added that as a comment to an image I posted a while ago and it's stuck in my head ever since. I'm not sure perfection can be achieved, but that's OK because most of my most personally satisfying work has come from the pursuit (and failure) of finding perfection.


See you next week,