Sermon for Seekers Church
[In this sermon, Glen also demonstrated what he talked about.]
Because this season’s theme is Patience and Practice CC has asked me to talk about practice.
I often think of two ideas I heard about practice. Brenda Ueland in her book about writing mentioned Tolstoy saying he wanted to write every day to avoid what he called “the meagernesses.” I think he means the feeling that you have lost a connection to a creative place. The other saying is: you don’t get worse at what you practice. Practice isn’t a guarantee that you will improve.
I love practicing with my guitar. Almost every morning I’m at home I run through a series of exercises.
For practice to be effective I must pay attention to many things at once.
The most important issues are: relaxation and concentration. I continually ask if I am using the proper amount of energy–can I feel any tension anywhere? and am I distracted, or am I keeping a peaceful center?
After those questions I think about tone, pitch, buzzing strings, where to put my fingers.
It’s important to practice slowly. The slower the better.
1. finger weight
warm up routine
free / rest strokes
5. repeat notes
circle of 4ths
scale degrees / modes
There are many other exercises I use. I enjoy discovering the tiny improvements that only I can feel. As I live with the practice I gradually begin to see more connections and resonances between music theory and the physical layout of the guitar fretboard. Practice is not meditation. And for me is not a passive activity.
As I practice, concentration becomes easier, technique becomes internalized and slowly stops being something I am doing, but starts to become part of me; an incarnation of God.