Art follows craft
One Thousand Balls
Somewhere I read that a professional golfer hits 1,000 golf balls every day. The magnitude of that task startled me. My first thought was of the mind-numbing boredom of such a daily routine because I don’t handle boredom well.
Do I not handle boredom well? Or is that my excuse for not handling discipline well? Think of the mental discipline required to endure the monotonous routine of hitting 1,000 balls every day, striving for the perfect drive, the perfect chip, the perfect putt. Think of the determination to force the body's muscles to obey the mental will to hit the ideal shot.
The golfer does not become great by playing in many tournaments. In the tournament, he displays his skill and earns his reward. He becomes great by enduring the many lonely days hitting 1,000 balls. But isn’t that true of any endeavor? We see the results, not the effort.
“Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” Whatever the field, mastery of the craft comes first; expression of the art follows. No more so than in a recent experience of mine.
A few weeks ago, we attended a concert performed by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra. The featured artist was violinist Sirena Huang performing the Violin Concert No 1 in G minor, op 26 by Max Bruch. The piece was in three movements: Allegro moderato, Adagio, and Allegro energico. I’m guessing the performance was about forty minutes long.
I’m not a great fan of violin music. I had never heard of Sirena Huang. I know of Max Bruch only in passing that he was a 19th-century German composer, and I never listened to his Violin Concerto No 1. Still, I was awed by the performance I witnessed. Huang stood in front of the orchestra for over half an hour with no music score. During that time, she extracted technically complex sounds from her instrument, as if it were part of her, without interruption, pausing only between movements.
I heartily joined the standing ovation that followed. What talent! Talent in abundance – Sirena, the orchestra musicians, Max Bruch; the art that follows the craft. As I applauded Sirena Huang and the Brevard Symphony performance, one thought kept running through my mind – 1,000 balls.