Training = Turning pro
[Special thanks to Maxima Kahn for bringing back one of my favorite posts. And even more special thanks to Rosanne Cash for inspiring it. Here it is:]
Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have professional habits.
How does the pro acquire professional habits?
(The amateur by contrast either trains like an amateur or doesn’t train at all.)
The passage below comes from Rosanne Cash’s wonderful 2011 memoir, Composed.
From that moment I changed the way I approached songwriting, I changed how I sang, I changed my work ethic, and I changed my life. I sought out Marge Rivingston in New York to work on my voice and I started training, as if I were a runner, in both technique and stamina. I started paying attention to everything, both in the studio and out. If I found myself drifting off into daydreams–an old, entrenched habit–I pulled myself awake and back into the present moment. Instead of toying with ideas, I examined them, and I tested the authenticity of my instincts musically. I stretched my attention span consciously. I read books on writing by Natalie Goldberg and Carolyn Heilbrun and began to self-edit and refine more. I went deeper into every process involved with writing and musicianship. I realized I had earlier been working only within my known range–never pushing far outside the comfort zone to take any real risks. I started painting, so I could learn about the absence of words and sound, and why I needed them. I took painting lessons from Sharon Orr, who had a series of classes at a studio called Art and Soul.
There’s a word for the changes Rosanne incorporated into her life.
And another one: Turning pro.
I remained completely humbled by the dream [that had precipitated these external changes] and it stayed with me through every waking hour of completing King’s Record Shop … I vowed the next record would reflect my new commitment. Rodney [Crowell, Rosanne’s then-husband] was at the top of his game as a record producer, but I had come to feel curiously like a neophyte in the studio after the dream. Everything seemed new, frightening, and tremendously exciting. I had awakened from the morphine sleep of success into the life of an artist.
When we take ourselves and our artistic aspirations seriously, we resolve to move from working like an amateur to working like a pro.
We ask ourselves, “How can I get better? What do I have to do to become a worthy vessel for my gift? How can I elevate myself from where I am now to the higher, truer, more realized artist I know I can be?”
There’s a word for that answer.
It starts with a “T.”