Growing up in the world of classical music, my life revolved around that word: Discipline. The fact that I needed it, whether or not I had it, my peers who obviously did have it, those sad, talented kids who just didn’t have it (“what a shame!”….) Every day of my life was measured in how many hours I had managed to get myself to practice. Did I manage 3? Or an epic, I-can-totally-hang-with-the-cool-crowd 5? Or did I sit on the couch and watch bad re-runs on TV while eating countless bowls of cheerios? In high school, I was surrounded by an incredible group of like-minded, talented friends. they were fiercely loyal, but also fiercely competitive. Any practicing my lazy-ass self ever did during that time in my life was purely to keep up with them. In college, I discovered that I had cultivated a bit of street cred for my ability to get up super early (I mean, 6 am–IN COLLEGE! I deserved a medal!) and get my practicing done. But even that was a matter of pride, rather than discipline. Once people started talking about the fact that I did it, I couldn’t very well STOP doing it, right? After college I went to the New World Symphony in Miami Beach for 3 years, and discovered other reasons to practice that had nothing to do with discipline. Ex. A) wanting to stay on the same work schedule as my ÜBER disciplined boyfriend. Ex B) knowing that if I practiced BEFORE our 10am rehearsal, the Music Director (my boss) would sit and chat with me while I had my coffee outside the hall.
And so, it wasn’t until I moved back to Boston and shared my first grown-up apartment with a non-musician friend that I learned of the true nature of discipline. Continue reading