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Beating Those Practice-Time Blues

Josh Harris • Archives • March 27, 2009

Did Grammy-winning musicians always like to practice when they were kids or did they moan and groan about it, just like the kids in your band or orchestra? I asked some Grammy winners how they felt about practicing when they were youngsters. Here are a few of the responses from them that I have presented in my book, The Young Musician’s Survival Guide, which has just been released in a newly updated and greatly expanded second edition.

From Joshua Bell, Grammy-winning violinist:
“‘My mother insisted I practice violin every day, even if only for half an hour. Then I could do other things,’ he reports. ‘I had plenty of fights about not wanting to practice. I liked practicing much of the time, just not always.’ In his mid-teens, he went through a phase of sometimes taking off several days. ‘I goofed off a little too much then. I was able to learn quickly and pull everything together a few days before a lesson.'” (Page 23)

From Wynton Marsalis, Grammy-winning trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer:
“‘Before eighth grade, I didn’t want to play music. I wanted to play basketball,’ says Wynton Marsalis, who first tooted a trumpet at age six. This future Grammy winner took some lessons in elementary school and was in the school band, but he didn’t practice much. Instead he practiced basketball

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