Thursday, September 01, 2011

That Gandalf Attitude

Practicing can be hard, lonely work. Sometimes we all need a little inspiration.
In my teaching, I often find myself helping students to discover those bad habits that are holding them back. Of course, once discovered, it's not as if these habits are just going to go away!
To be honest, we all let little things slide in our playing. Perhaps we're on a deadline. Perhaps we're tired. Perhaps we're lazy.
Still, I think there is that point in your development where you have to draw a line in the sand, so to speak, and say,
"I'm not going to allow those uncentered attacks.
I'll slow it down until I can REALLY play every note so it sounds great."

Of course this isn't much fun. It take loads of patience and a dash of inspiration to keep on going.
Enter Gandalf.
If you've seen "The Fellowship of the Ring," you'll probably remember that scene near the end where, in the mines of Moria, Gandalf faces down this gigantic fire monster with the dramatic words:

Maybe we all could stand to have that "Gandalf" attititude when confronting those really stubborn bad habits that hold us back.
For purists, here's the full quote (and a little more artwork):
I am a servant of the Secret Fire,
Wielder of the flame of Anor.
Dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Ud√Ľn.
Go back to the shadow!
You shall not pass!

You shall not pass!