Monday, February 17, 2014

Piano Practice and Grace

 "Why do I need to practice?"  That's what I've been hearing lately around my house a lot from my son who doesn't catch the vision of what piano practice can do for him.  I  listened to a speech this morning while exercising that totally resonated with me.  I love all of the "piano practicing" analogies that relate to improving ourselves spiritually in this life.  Following is the link to the full speech:
 "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox


If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.

 This quote reminds me of conversation I had earlier this week with my son who wanted to rush out the door to play before completing piano practice because "its too hard."  We discussed the character traits that develop through doing hard things, after a little moaning and groaning, he finally got it done.  I thought this quote by Richard G. Scott expresses what I wanted to convey to him perfectly.

"The bedrock of character is integrity. Worthy character will strengthen your capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit and be obedient to it. Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished." (from Living a Life of Peace, Joy and Purpose. Ensign February 2014).

And a few more of my favorite excerpts from Brad Wilcox's speech:
“But Brother Wilcox, don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?

When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives.

7 comments:

  1. I've never really considered the character development aspect of practice, or the need for grace in it, but this post really expresses how important that is. Thank you!

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  2. Your welcome, glad I could pass on some inspiration :)

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  3. Really interesting post, Heidi. I appreciate how you really tie together practicing the piano with growing as a person and never giving up. They say practice makes perfect, but it's really not about perfection. It's about, like anything in life, just becoming better and more experienced every single day.

    Really glad I found your blog!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your comment about becoming better.

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  4. Hey Heidi, what an excellent post. The thoughts you shared here doesn't only relate to Piano practice, but with all things of our lives. Practice is to make you better and better, it never ends. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I will refer this post to my 11y old son, who has started out with his Piano practice :)

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  5. Thanks so much Heldi. It's really helpful for me. Keep going

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