In my usual “catching up” with all the threads that I missed before I discovered lines, I came across this one and was disappointed that there wasn’t more to read… @jasonw22 how has practicing been for you since this thread?
I love talking about practicing music, because for me at least, that also implies “practicing creativity”. I have always been interested in the classically or theoretically trained musicians who say “I wish I never learned theory” because while it’s a valuable tool and a powerful language, it hinders the creative mind to stumble freely and discover new, more unconventional things.
I personally have an extremely limited formal education on music. Can’t read music, can’t quickly recall all the notes in an Eminor scale, etc… But I feel like over the years I have found my voice as songwriter, and now I feel like I’m finding my voice as a synthesist. So practicing for me has become divided into two (sometimes three) totally different activities. The first kind of practicing is just “noodling”, be it on guitar or at the modular. Songwriting or just finding new weird sounds that I’ve never made before. All of this is practice, even if it feels aimless, because the next time I sit down to make something, I’m that much closer to growth.
The second type of practicing is the more technical and theoretical kind. I’m going to play scales on my guitar for an hour or jam along with a record and try to find the chords; I’m going to patch Cold Mac for 3 hours and then incorporate it into a patch. I find it the most productive not to force this kind of practicing to take priority over the former, especially if you have limited time. For me at least, I know when I start to get that “I don’t know enough about what I’m doing” feeling, I need to do some more traditional practicing. In a perfect world we would spend half the day practicing theory and techniques and the rest of the day making compositions. Or maybe the other way around.
The (third) type of practicing would be more of what jasonw22 was talking about while being on the train. When you don’t really have the tools in front of you, just thinking about the thing you want to be practicing, giving it more brain time, cycling through different ideas in your head about how to do something new, what you want to learn more of, how you can apply what you already know to what you haven’t already done, etc… Mental organization as a form of practice away from the thing your practicing?
Ok long unearthing reply done now… I just had to chime in on this one