He played "Minuet" by Jean Baptiste Lully — its minor scales lilted and danced through the small apartment. Every so often a pause, a correction, for a note misplayed or a finger misplaced and then onward the themes marched.
The last "D" concluded the piece and it was his teacher's turn to share. Mixed in with the encouragement and the "good jobs" was a reoccurring thought —
"You need to stop practicing your mistakes."
I listened as his musical words of wisdom were given to my son. "When you play a wrong note you remember it for the rest of your life."
He went on to emphasize the importance of knowing exactly what you need to play before jumping into it and how crucial it is to learn it right the first time, even if it takes longer.
Stop practicing your mistakes — there was something about this phrase that stuck with me long after we left his lesson.
The point was not perfection. We are all going to make mistakes. However, the more we make the same ones the more it becomes a habit. Like the same wrong note my son played at a particular measure in the song. He practiced it wrong and it stuck.
Sometimes we make mistakes because of an error in judgement. Sometimes we don't have enough knowledge or information. Or perhaps, we are just being careless.
If we do not approach life with awareness, we are at risk of playing the same wrong note over and over again.
We can be intentional about learning from our mistakes, so we can make different, more informed choices the next time. And we can avoid carelessness, by being more mindful and careful in whatever we pursue.
"The Minuet" wasn't played perfectly (and it probably never will), but the way my son approaches this song as he practices this week could make a huge impact next week.
What "mistakes" do you keep playing over and over again?
What intentional steps could you take to stop practicing your mistakes?
This is a post in a series called, 31 days of Intentional Living. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith
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