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Practice makes better, No need for perfect

Joined
Mar 16, 2023
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Mystic, CT
I’ve burned past my 10,000 hours of practice on the saxophone. Now I’m practicing turning and have found that a lot of things I’ve learned from practicing music are just as valuable at the lathe; here are a few.
Noodling around is productive practice time. We can discover weird and wonderfull things when we are not trying to make a finished piece…. When was the last time you chucked something up and just turned for the sake of seeing what comes…?
If I have any chance of finding something uniquely my own in woodturning, I’m not likely going to discover it by thinking and planning: I’ll stumble onto it by cutting wood and watching closely for what happens — noodling.
Practice more than you perform. When I’m turning, I’m alone physically, but in my mind I usually have a gallery of ghosts with me: my Dad, all the great turners whose work I admire, and especially my Mom who is an inspirational artist of unlimited media. When I find myself turning in front of this audience, I just don’t do nearly the quality of work that I do when I imagine that I might show them my piece when it’s done. This approach also helps me go more slowly.
Lastly, the famous jazz drummer Art Blakey used to tell his students, “Don’t practice when you don’t want to!”
As apocryphal as it sounds, sometimes the best way to be productive is to step away from the work. Don’t berate yourself when you hear that inner voice say, “time for a break.” You can always come back when you’re hungry for it.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
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Parkersburg, West Virginia
Good practice makes better. Bad practice doesn’t do any good. One example is a buddy of mine had a woman in his woodturning class two different times. Every time she makes cuts on a bowl she turns the flute straight up and scrapes with the tip. He keeps going over to correct her and as soon as he walks away he can hear where she turned it again and is scraping off the tip. That type of practice will never help.
 

odie

TOTW Team
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
Keeping the momentum going takes more than motivation.....it takes discipline.

For those of you who have a regular workout routine, and have stuck to it, you might confirm that sometimes you really want to stop the workout. When you do that, you've defeated yourself. When you stick to your plan, you nearly always find yourself glad you pressed yourself to persevere and go on.

The same strategy applies to anything you feel is important enough to have made a personal commitment. :)

-o-
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
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Baltimore, MD
Keeping the momentum going takes more than motivation.....it takes discipline.

For those of you who have a regular workout routine, and have stuck to it, you might confirm that sometimes you really want to stop the workout. When you do that, you've defeated yourself. When you stick to your plan, you nearly always find yourself glad you pressed yourself to persevere and go on.

The same strategy applies to anything you feel is important enough to have made a personal commitment. :)

-o-
I agree completely Odie, with one exception. Fatigue, whether mental or physical can be dangerous at the lathe (or anywhere in the shop). Perhaps just a break is needed, or a chance to recharge completely, but focus is hard if your mind is elsewhere or your muscles are saying “I need a break.”
 

odie

TOTW Team
Joined
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
I agree completely Odie, with one exception. Fatigue, whether mental or physical can be dangerous at the lathe (or anywhere in the shop). Perhaps just a break is needed, or a chance to recharge completely, but focus is hard if your mind is elsewhere or your muscles are saying “I need a break.”

Oh yes....for sure....you are correct, Lou.....:)

-o-
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
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Lebanon, Missouri
When was the last time you chucked something up and just turned for the sake of seeing what comes…?
Quite often. Sure, I have a plan when I look at a chunk of log. One sawcut may change that plan. Once the wood is on the lathe, I intend to make a shape, but a few cuts in something unexpected shows up, which can drastically change the shape, or one piece becomes 2 due to a defect, etc. Its exploratory surgery…..
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2023
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Columbia, TN
There's a business book called Good to Great. In the book, the author says, "Good is the enemy of great." The idea being if you settle for good, you will never be great.

For most of us (turning gods, excluded) I would say, "Perfect is the enemy of great."
 
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