Sunday, September 26, 2010

Practice for Fun

People sometimes ask if I still practice law.  Like practicing medicine, it may say something about humility.  If I answer "yes," I'm lying.  If I answer, "no," then it sounds as if I'm bragging -- "nope, finally got it figured out and don't need to 'practice' any more."

Then they ask if I still play piano (or violin).  The older I get, the more I like that question.  As a young person, it sounded child-like and immature.  Think of Picasso admiring the art of children.  I like the idea that musicians play.  What a wonderful profession or avocation!  It's play.  The key is to keep it play.

A local radio station's jazz announcer recently quoted Dr. Lonnie Smith, the Hammond B3 jazz organist, as having said, "It's not important how you play; what's important is how you feel."  I'm sure he didn't mean you shouldn't practice or play.   I doubt he meant you should practice how you feel.  Rather, you should play how you feel and feel when you play. 

"In opera, we got to play and act," says Virginia.  "I tried to keep work to the minimum, and practicing fun.  It became too much of a challenge."

She reminds me of the piano instructor I had in Chapel Hill, who once said, "I envy you.  Whenever you play piano, it's fun.  For me, it's always work."  Sorry, teach.


  1. I actually met Dr. Lonnie Smith . He plays in Sweet Lou Donaldson's quartet when he is in St Louis. Lou's Portrait is on my blog. One of my favs. Dr. Smith didn't grab my interest though. He wears a turban and plays a roller rink organ. What did I know.

  2. I'd like to hear him next time we visit. Can you arrange that? I've only heard him on the radio and on You Tube.