Paynesville Press - March 29, 2006

Community Perspective

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

By Lindsey Pelton

(Editor's Note: March is Music In Our Schools Month, and the Press - with help from the music faculty - will feature perspectives on the importance of music this month.)

When I was younger, I remember sitting at the piano and bawling my eyes out. I would scream - "WHY CAN'T I PLAY IT RIGHT!?" - as the tears streamed down my face.

My dad would come up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and ask, "Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?" To which, I would hesitantly reply, "Practice. Practice. Practice."

That simple question has been running through my head since as long as I can remember. Its answer stays with me every time I pick up a saxophone, play a piano, pluck a guitar, or even open my mouth to sing.

With a little determination and perserverance, practice changes notes into music; it changes people into musicians. The clear-cut philosophy of "practice, practice, practice" is one that works for anyone, no matter how musically talented they are.

Music is obviously something that has always played a huge part in my life. When I was little, I remember dad walking around the house and singing a song. My mom was the first person to make me sing in a choir at church, and I've been there ever since. Both my parents are very musically talented and are very involved in music in the community, and I think that I'm following in their footsteps.

Music in school has also been influential in my life. Through band and choir, I've learned a vast number of skills that I can take with me wherever I go in life.

But I would not have these skills and discipline if it wasn't for one important thing: practice.

Practice is something that people just generally don't like. I think people have the notion that the minute they pick up a guitar that they're going to sound just like Jimi Hendrix. Even though everyone would love for that to be true, it's not. Plain and simple.

I can not even begin to think of all the times I've threatened to give up on music because my practicing just never seemed to pay off. I am so thankful to have parents that never gave in to my protests. Never will I be able to thank them fully for that.

When I look at where I am now, there is no doubt in my mind that practicing has paid off.

Music is not unlike a sport, in the fact that if you didn't practice, you wouldn't get anywhere. I think that's a very big idea that people need to get into their heads. No one has a problem spending two hours a day at a sports practice, and the same should be true for music.

A band or a choir is nothing but a team. Just as in a sport, everyone plays their own part to make one working unit. The more the group practices, the better the rewards.

If I could give a little advice to kids that are just starting to pick up an instrument, I would tell them that they just need to work through the hard times. I know how difficult it can be to play something over and over again and not get it right. You just need to think about how rewarding it will be when you finally do get it right.

I think the most gratifying part of music is seeing where all your time and dedication takes you. For me, that came when I won a state piano competition twice or when I was named "Best of Site" in both band and choir. But more than that, it is the gratification of knowing you've accomplished something.

Kids, don't give up. The older you get, the better you'll getŠif you practice. One day you'll look back at your old music and laugh that you used to get frustrated over it.

Parents, encourage your kids. Don't let music be just a recreation, because music is much more than a pastime. It is a discipline. Without your encouragement, that discipline will never stick.

Music is important in everyone's life, and there is nothing better than being able to make an impact on people with music. I might not ever get to Carnegie Hall, but I know that practice has made a huge difference in my life.

Lindsey Pelton, a senior at PAHS, plays in the band and sings in the choir.

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