Changing Habits - Mark Twain

Jun 15, 2017

One of the things I’ve learned as a string teacher is that good habits can often replace a student’s bad habits quickly, because the good habits make playing easier.  But it was Mark Twain, strangely enough, who helped me to realize that the switch can only result from a very conscious and rational process on the student’s part, a process of understanding and acceptance. 


In his essay “Taming the Bicycle,” Twain wrote, “In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature. Against nature, but not against the laws of nature. That is to say, that whatever the needed thing might be, my nature [and] habit… moved me in one way, while some immutable and unsuspected law of physics required that it be done in just the other way…  The intellect has to come to the front, now. It has to teach the limbs to discard their old education and adopt the new.”

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.