As you may know, I took up golf not too long ago.
My instructor, Tracy Roberts (a.k.a. – “Coach”), is an amazing teacher. Like me, he really illustrates the “what,” “how,” and “why” and I’m pleased to be under his guidance, now on the other end as a beginning student.
He gets a kick out of me teasing him about his southern Texas accent. When I do something good, it’s “PAAA—EERRRFECT.”
I’ve even introduced my oldest daughter, Jadyn, to the sport. I figured I could get her started early, seeing that she picks up stuff extremely fast. (3 minutes after taking her training wheels off, she was riding her bike without help. She learned how to swim at 3… something daddy struggled with til’ early adulthood and still isn’t 100% confident even now! She also picks up dance moves pretty quickly — gets that from mommy!)
This week, we started working on my “short game.”
See, in golf, you got your long game and your short game (there may be some stuff in between but I’m not there yet). At any given hole, you start with your long game. You take out your driver – or whatever club it takes to get that ball in the air the desired distance – and you go to town. If you’re Tiger Woods, you’ll hit it up to 300+ yards. If you’re average, according to Golf Digest, maybe up to 205 yards.
But once you get the ball to the green (or close), your short game takes over. According to Coach, this is where it’s won or lost. And surprisingly, I did quite well on first short game lesson. I hit a 25 footer on a pretty curved surface.
But my point is this:
Out there at the practice center, guess what everyone’s working on?
Yup, their long game.
Probably out of no less than 100 golfers there, 95 were working on their long game, trying to hit that ball as far as they could (other more sophisticated golfers are aiming at certain spots or working on getting the ball further with less effort).
Only 5 were over there on the putting green working on their short game.
In competitive team sports, they say “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.”
I think the same can be said about long and short game.
How does this relate to your music playing?
Simply put, it’s fun to work on the cool stuff. It’s exciting to sit down and play Justin Bieber. There are certainly more appealing things than others. And my goal is and has always been for you to enjoy yourself! After all, what’s the point?
But when you get more serious about this, there comes a time when you really saddle down and focus on the fundamentals. The stuff that’ll affect all other areas of your playing.
It may not be the most appealing and no one’s going to stop and applaud you for running scales, doing hanon exercises, taking single chords to all 12 keys, or practicing every chord with the circle of fifths… but these are the things that propel you to the top, FAST!
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my axe.” That means, he’d spend 75% of his time and energy in preparation.
As the Iceberg Theory explains, you only see the tip of the iceberg above water. Majority of the iceberg, you don’t see. Grandma would put it this way: “There’s more than what meets the eye.”
Up until now, I was only working on my long game. I didn’t know any better. But now that I am exposed to the short game (much like you have been to all the techniques and fundamentals you need), I won’t forsake one for the other. I’ll make sure I focus on both.
Sure, being able to eventually hit the ball 220 or 280 yards will feel good. But unless I can seal the deal by getting that ball in the hole, it ain’t gonna do me any good.
The same goes for music. The same goes for life.
As blunt as I can say it — “What got you here won’t necessarily get you there!“
So take an assessment of how you spend your music time. Have you gotten excited over a few things, forsaking other stuff as a result? Are you following the practicing advice I laid out in this free guide.
Are you still playing a song a friend taught you some years back (i.e. – looks good and people think you can play… just like many folks’ “long game”) but still can’t pick up a song on your own (i.e. – get the ball in the hole… “short game”)?
Some things to think about.
Until next time.