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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

We're All Creatures of Habit

Andrew Hitz

Musicians are all creatures of habit. So do you grab the soap or the shampoo first in the shower? I'm personally a soap first kind of guy.  This is not for religious reasons.  It is not a family rule that's been handed down through the generations.  It is not for any practical reason.  And yet every single day, 365 days a year (I have a rule to never bathe on February 29th,) I grab the soap before grabbing the shampoo.  Without exception.

This is because I, like all of us, am a creature of habit.  Everything you ever do on your instrument, on the podium, on stage, anywhere is establishing or reinforcing a habit.  This is why it is imperative to play with your absolute best sound possible at all times.  As in every time you ever play a note.  Whether you are "testing" a note an octave lower in order to get a higher pitch in your ear, you are noodling around while a conductor is talking to another section, or you are "just" warming up, you must play with your absolute best sound possible or you are more likely to play with the same sub-par sound next time.

We are all creatures of habit, both on and off the horn.  When realized, this can be harnessed and used to take great strides in our craft.  If not, we are doomed to repeat our past failures.

(More tomorrow on the myth of breaking bad habits.)