If the end result of our efforts is to perform a list of songs to a preferred level of achievement, what do we do regularly to achieve this ability?
Would one attend a performance of musicians playing scales in the same manner that many of us ‘practice’ them? Would we attend a performance of musicians stopping and starting at unintended points in the songs; much like we all do early in our learning of new material?
A new student of mine is quite capable of performing fingerstyle blues and told me that he only plays for his own enjoyment. Playing for our own enjoyment is necessary for us to develop a long-term relationship with music and our instruments. This student is interested in lessons to further his ability to understand more about music theory and to learn how to read and sight-play written music.
Frankly, I wanted to ask him why he wanted to ruin his achievement by filling his time with things to do that the lack thereof has not prevented him from becoming a great player, but I thought better of it and figured he must already have his priorities in order.
I, however, still have a great deal of difficulty organizing my efforts in a preferred priority. I should ask myself why I would fill my time with ‘things-to-do’ that are not bringing me closer to my actual goals as a musician.
A current goal for me is to perform as much as possible. Over the years I have discovered that it is better to book gigs and then develop a setlist, thus preventing me from frustrating myself by learning a stack of songs then discovering that nobody wants to hear them.