Friday, July 30, 2010

Practice Makes Brilliant

Brilliance surrounds me right now. First, I am listening to J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” on CD. I am blown away by how brilliantly J.K. not only tied up all of her story’s threads, but also by how she set those threads up, stitching them innocuously into little flowers at the beginning of her series, and then allowing them to bloom into a fully layered and embroidered plot by the end. How did she do it? Did she plan the entire thing out, bit by bit, with charts and timelines, going backward and forward, making plot connections, and filling holes? Or did it all just flow from the muse on her shoulder and present itself in happy coincidences for her to take and set on a bookshelf, handed over like a wish from a rubbed bottle?

Second, I am in the presence of one of the most brilliant musicians I have ever had the privilege to work with. (Okay, given the scope of my experience, that’s not saying nearly enough. He’s the most brilliant musician I’ve ever heard of anyone I know working with.) Music, composition, and performance flow out of Mark Andersen as if in place of DNA he has notes and cadence, progression, and theme. I’ve never sung with anyone who can accompany, transpose so the song sits more finely on my voice, switch arrangements, and adjust the style of a piece, all on the fly and without any music on the stand before him. How does he do this?

I believe that in art, as well as in life, one cannot take too seriously the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.”  How can anyone believe that a series such as that written by J.K. Rowling, or music played as an extension of the body, the way my dear friend Mark plays it, is something that can happen any other way? Even with the boatloads of talent these two obviously possess? We must practice. There is nothing we can do, and do well, without paying a price.
Nothing worth doing comes easily.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Never, never, never, never give up.
Practice makes perfect.

There is a reason these sayings exist. They need to mean everything to us if want to create anything of lasting value.


Sara B. Larson said...

I am in awe of Jo Rowling also. Is she amazing, or what? Her genius in the HP series knows no bounds. As I have mentioned on my blog multiple times, I wish I had one tenth the talent that she does. Absolutely my favorite book series ever.

Janiel Miller said...

Absolutely agree!