In a vocal coach CD I learned the phrase “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”. I know the statement is fairly corny, but there is so much truth within the five words.
Proper signifies that there is a right and a wrong way to do things. There have been many occasions where I’ve “Mickey-moused” certain things just to get a task accomplished. I believe that to set yourself apart, you must first do things properly. I learned from a friend a few years back that shortcuts are a Satanic means of getting to the goal without working or suffering through the task(s). He used various examples like cheating, gambling, and steroids. Those are all improper methods to reaching a desired goal.
Preparation connotes working towards the goal. I understand that it sometimes feels good to just be spontaneous and random, but if we want to properly do things and accomplish them correctly, it is vital that we prepare. Maybe it’s just me, but musically speaking, one would never just “wing-it” during an important gig or overall professional event. I’ve played with musicians who glissando [a continuous slide up or down between two notes]and guess notes even though I’ve taken time to type up the chord charts and place them in their respective positions relative to the song. There have even been a few occassions where I’ve led a rehearsal and someone still manages to not know where we are at. It is so frustrating. Maybe that’s why I’m such a micromanager.
Prevents promotes the feeling of safety. We, as musicians, must see proper preparation as a means to prevent a potential mess. My piano teacher always told me, “Robert, you need to practice and memorize your music so that you prevent any mistakes”. She also stated, “If you do make a mistake, just don’t show it”. It is so humorous to reflect on her words because having been a musician for quite some time now, I’ve had my fair share of faces, mistakes, and lack of preparation.
Poor, in my opinion, is the result of the lack of the former three words. It is a poor shame when an individual or overall band lacks the proper preparation to prevent any foreseeable mistakes. I don’t easily get embarrassed. However, I feel embarrassed when I see another person make mistakes that could have been prevented with proper preparation. Honestly, the word poor shows how destitute an individual is musically.
Performance in any venue must contain the previously four words. As Christians, we play for the Lord, but he is the overall judge of what we play. Although the phrase “Proper preparation prevents poor performance” isn’t necessarily a Christian phrase, I believe it should be integrated in our daily lives as musicians and believers. Our work is unto the Lord and not to men, so why should we bring an offering that is blemished with improper and poor preparation.
I have seen with my own eyes the great value in quality rather than quantity. We are to bring a sacrifice unto the Lord that is pleasing to Him.