I attended one professional boxing match in my life. The reason I went was that a former harp student of mine was making her professional boxing debut. As you might imagine, I felt a little out of my element in the boxing club, which was actually one of the legendary boxing clubs in Philadelphia, but I had never been there before. And I’ve never been there since. What surprised me most was that I could actually relate to the experience a little, not because of my martial arts training, but because of my music training.
There was a nervous tension in the air that was not unlike the anticipation before a performance. I felt the same sense of the importance of the moment, the fact that each competitor needed to bring his or her best effort right at that moment; there was no second chance. Of course, we musicians are fighting a less visible opponent. And we aren’t likely to walk away with a bloody lip or a broken nose.
I also found the strategy of the boxers interesting to watch. You could see one boxer sense an opening and take advantage of it, or another one elude a poorly thrown punch. And it's the strategy that I want to talk about today, specifically the strategy of the one-two punch.
Full disclosure - I’ve never delivered an actual one-two punch. I did learn similar combinations when I was studying karate years ago, but even then I was not very good at fighting. But I understand the concept and if you don’t already, you will too in just a moment.
I’ll explain this more thoroughly in our discussion today, but the success of the one-two punch is because the first punch opens the door, and the second punch packs the power. There is a lesson for us here. The first action we take, the habit we develop or the skill we practice is only the first punch. The power - our progress and growth as harpists - is in the second step. So thinking about and planning for our growth two steps at a time, and being very strategic with each step - can create those knockout wins for us.
Stick with me here. I have a list of 5 combinations - one-two punches - that will inspire you to try this system right now. It’s a different way to create progress in your playing and it’s easy to do. I will also tell you what one-two punches I’m putting into place for myself here at the start of the new year.
Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode:
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