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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Great Advice for Fighting Boredom

Andrew Hitz

"If you're bored, raise your standards."
-Joe Kirtley

I heard Joe share this quote during a master class at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts a couple of years ago and it has stuck with me ever since.  It also reminds me of a great tidbit from Marty Hackleman.

Marty does a set routine every morning.  (Note: He chooses to not call it a warm-up but rather a routine where the byproduct of that routine is warming up both his face and his mind.)  When addressing a class at George Mason a few years ago, Marty was asked about getting bored with doing the same thing every day on the horn.  His answer was typical Marty Hackleman and sheds light on why he has been as successful as he has been in his career:

(This was a few years ago so I am paraphrasing a little.)


"Every once in a while I sit down to do my routine and after a few minutes I'm really not that into it.  Whenever this happens I go downstairs, make a cup of coffee, and then go back and continue with the routine.  In the rare event that I still don't feel that into it I simply get over myself and insist that it somehow be a little better than it was yesterday.
Sometimes the only thing that's better than yesterday might be making it easier or more effortless.  But I insist that something be improved from the day before."
-Marty Hackleman


It is the ability of players and teachers like Joe and Marty to always raise their standards no matter what the circumstances that set them apart from the rest of the music world.

What standards do you need to raise today?