The Cornered Cat
Knowing the tune but missing the music

When my husband and I were newlyweds, we visited a church where the worship leader had recently introduced one of our favorite songs. The song was an upbeat, bouncy tune, and we were happy when we saw its title in the morning bulletin. Finally, a fast-paced song we could tap our toes to in church! But as the first few notes drifted softly and slowly out over the congregation, my husband and I looked at each other in confusion. Was this even the same song? The melody was the same, and the words were right, but the timing was all wrong.

Talking to the worship leader after church, we discovered that he had never heard the song anywhere else. He’d simply seen it on a sheet of music one day, liked the words, and taught himself how to play it based on what he’d read. The poor guy had no idea — literally no idea! — how badly he had butchered the song for his people. He did not know how that song was supposed to sound, but he believed that he did know. In reality, he had simply read the written notation and then guessed at what he thought it should sound like. He was happily, confidently wrong in his idea. (We didn’t tell him, either. We simply smiled politely at his excitement, and moved on to other subjects.)

Like playing a piece of music, shooting a firearm is a physical skill with a big informational component. You can get a lot of good information from books and websites like this one. You can get a little more from videos and DVDs. But the real learning, the best learning, will always take place on the range and in person.

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