21 March 2022

Piano lessons

Learn slow to learn fast.

Everyone will say this in one form or another, in passing or in depth. I'm quoting above the exact phrase said by the first piano teacher who first said it to me. It's the cliché that isn't because the more you play, the more you relearn its truth.

You can't make it if you can't hear it.

Fascinating how producing a sound is similar to writing. (As soon as I typed and reread that sentence it seemed so common-sensical!) A haze is in your head and you have to lock it into shape. Now once you go outside of your mind and put things down to words, the shape shifts into something else. Not wholly different but definite.

I am having interpretation problems with a certain section in my repertoire and my teacher advises creating a general story that would make sense throughout the entire piece. I get it, however I am a bit skeptical because I've had enough experience with creative people sharing the backstory of their work, and the theory and philosophizing are often way more interesting than the actual work.

A coherent narrative helps, though. Sure it will not register 100 percent from your mind's ear to your fingers and out the sound board (speaker in my case lol); and the fidelity goes much lower once it reaches an audience. Yet that is not the point. The point is you have an anchor to your act, a North Star to your journey and other such metaphors. I should listen to my teacher more.

Be an idiot.

There are no stupid questions. What we have is little time to ask all of them. My suggestion is to pick your most idiotic idea to discuss with someone else.

It also happens that we think we are super brilliant. So share your brightest idea to someone else and be open to disagreement.

The only place I'm devoid of any trust issues is in front of the keyboard. There is freedom in knowing I have no one to compete with in this discipline. That I won't be, I don't have to be, and I don't want to be the best here. Nothing is at stake. That's why it's easier for me, I guess.

I would participate in recitals and mess up and move on. My motivation undiminished.

I had a teacher who actually made me feel like an idiot and I moved on. My love for music and respect for teachers undiminished.

Oh wait, I joined a 'battle of the bands' in high school and I messed up the keyboard part in one of the songs. I made up for it in the next song. Heh. Good times.

I wish I could be as vulnerable in other areas of my life. Maybe I'll be as happy.

No one does it alone.

Even if solo piano is my vibe, I need at least a coach and an audience to be good and to be happy. Once in a while I feel a pang of loneliness. Sometimes it's a hunger for a thoughtful listener, sometimes a desire to play with others.

Back in my very first year of piano lessons, I was playing a short excercise piece and halfway through, my teacher, who was seated to my left started playing along. Normally I'd panic and would probably be so bothered that I'd stop. Something in the way she snuck into the music made me feel comfortable to the extent that I started enjoying myself.

Few moments had been as magical as that moment in the practice room.

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