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A loonie appears from behind the child’s ear. A sword goes right through the box, but the assistant comes out whole. And the classic –a rabbit pulled from an empty hat! We love to see magic tricks performed by the masters. We ooooh and aaaaah. We’re spell-bound!

Technique is the musician’s magic. The trumpeter’s triple tonguing. The violinist’s triple and quadruple stops. And the vocalist’s amazing high ‘C’. Feats of remarkable technique – just like magic.

Last week we talked about technique and practice: practice makes progress, not perfect. If you want to make magic, you need technique.

Good technique will get you a long way as a musician or a magician, a visual artist or a dancer, a writer or a preacher. Each creative endeavor has a different set of basic skills that set the foundation for improvement. Knowing the basics of your craft means that your practice begins to become progress. But the magic happens somewhere between good and great. As technique becomes muscle memory and as practice becomes instinctive, the magic reveals itself and exponential development can occur.

No matter how much innate talent or gift one possesses, we each must give our attention to technique in order to steward our gifts well and to elicit the spark and sparkle of magic in ourselves and our listeners.

This week enjoy these women artists dedicated to the magic of technique.

Renee Fleming

Ave Maria from Othello by Giuseppe Verdi

Song to the Moon by Antonin Dvorak

Esperanza Spalding

Smile Like That Live

Little Fly (poem by William Blake)


Nikky Yanofsky

Scat singing at the Montreux Festival