Training is training

I recently had a conversation with a drummer who is a true “pop music” insider, and told him I didn’t know anything about pop music, since I was classically trained. His reply? “Music is music.”

Well, here is an article about Olympic swimming hopeful Ryan Lochte’s training techniques, illustrating that “Training is training,” whether it’s athletics, music, or anything that requires mind and muscle coordination, memory, and fitness.

These highlights include many reminders I tell my own students about practicing violin:

  • Even though Lochte (age 23) has been swimming since he was 9, he has not yet perfected his strokes. “I spend more time on stroke mechanics now than I ever have,” he said. In other words, it takes years, and there is always something more to work on.
  • He also spends part of each practice slowing things way down. “The only way to really work on technique is to swim very slowly and really think about every little thing that you’re doing,” he said. Practice slowly. Sound familiar?
  • Using a buoy, Troy said, can be useful for swimmers, because “you start to feel proper body positioning, then you replicate that” without the buoy. Violinists: this is like using a wrist guide, tapes on the fingerboard, or lying on the floor to play!
  • “I love competition, ” Lochte said. “I always have. That’s my idea of fun, to compete against your teammates, to compete in races, to compete against yourself. Every day in practice I like to see if I can maybe kick an extra meter farther underwater than I did yesterday or beat something that I did before.” Today was good, but tomorrow must be better.
  • He also advises setting attainable goals, perhaps one of the more overlooked elements of a fitness regimen. Work on mastering simple things before adding on.
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