One of the greatest teachers in history was a Soviet pianist and pedagogue by the name of Heinrich Neuhaus. He wrote one of the most authoritative books in his realm of study, entitled The Art of Piano Playing. I recommend it to all musicians, regardless of their instrument of study.
In the book, Neuhaus gives an analogy that can be applied to everyday living. He talks about boiling water. Piano practice, or any endeavor in life worth pursuing, can be likened to the act of boiling a pot of water. When we first put the water on to boil, it begins to heat up slowly. This is like the initial stages of practicing a particular musical passage. The water then heats more quickly - the practicing intensifies. However, many people become satisfied with sub-perfection, content with something that isn't completely mastered. The heat is removed from the water, and it starts to cool. This process is repeated as many times as the student can handle, until he or she becomes so frustrated and discontent that they finally stick with it until it's perfected. The water finally boils, becoming pure.
In life, we often stretch ourselves so thin that we are only able to raise the temperature of a particular pot of water by a few degrees per day. We are attending to so many pots, that the "heating progress" on each is almost unnoticeable. When possible, get rid of all unnecessary pots, and you'll be left with boiling pots of the most important water.
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The musings of a (crazy) concert pianist
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