Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Two Types of Practice: Different Roads to Success

There are two types of practice: Point A to Point B practice and then there’s just Point A practice.

Point A to Point B practice is the most common. This is when we’ve identified a problem that needs to be solved, and we take the necessary steps to conquer those challenges. This could be working through a difficult fingering, sound control, navigating our way through a set of chord changes, or simply trying to find that perfect ending to a new song we’re writing. It’s a systematic approach whereby we methodically move from step to step toward our goal until we have succeeded.

Point A practice is much more elusive. This is the practice of simply arriving. It either works or it doesn’t. Unlike Point A to Point B practice, which is an accumulation of small successes that result in one big success, Point A is comprised mostly of failures until you reach a breakthrough. Trial and error is at the heart of this approach.

Most of my successes come from Point A practice. There are countless amounts of recorded material on my iPhone that simply sound horrible. But it’s through those numerous experiments I’ve been able to enjoy many creative breakthroughs and musical successes

Originality can be honed. It’s not this intuitive gift bestowed only on the select few by the merciful gods. It’s there for the taking for all to have. We just have to give ourselves the permission to receive it. More importantly, we have to become comfortable with failing. The truth of the matter is that failure is the surest path to success and innovation.

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