Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Come on! You've got this!
It's a little odd how our species is capable of offering generic advice that can travel the world and be seen by other members who are completely unknown to the person giving the advice; as is the time of day, the circumstances of their day, and their mental state at the time.
But heck, a lot of people make a good living offering positive, affirming support to people they barely know, and presumably those folks are grateful for it. And now, in the middle of January, seems as good a time as ever to be putting it out there.
That's because I assume many of you made resolutions to practice the piano more this year, and, let's face it, right about now, that moment of euphoria when you made the decision and thought about how wonderful it would be when the results poured in, is probably wearing off, and the road is getting a little rough. Your schedule is probably not helping, and if you haven't got a long history of practice, so is your resolve.
So I say: keep going! Tough it out! You can do it, unknown person!
Sure, there's a little bit of humor in it: people who gather at the roadsides for marathons with those encouraging signs sometimes put on them "Go, random stranger!" which may or may not be all that helpful, but a little silliness helps sometimes, too.
I can tell you this, however. It's bound to get hard. And you are most definitely going to have to work harder than you thought you would to get the results you want. You will have to repeat that first measure many more times than you think anybody should have too. And you will think you must be stupid for not getting it sooner. Unless I'm the only one.
I doubt it. And since I'm a professional pianist and have the results of all that work to prove it, I'm not so embarrassed to say that today, tomorrow, and every day I practice (which is nearly every day and for several hours) I never get things learned and fluid as fast as I would like.
So swallow that pride and keep working. And when you skip a day because you thought you'd practice EVERY day but you just couldn't that one day, dust yourself off, and keep going. Because if you really want it, you're going to fail, a lot. And you have to get tough. And when it isn't that much fun, you have to learn to tolerate that, work through it, and flex those muscles, because eventually you will learn to be able to practice longer and harder, but only if you condition those mental muscles of yours to accept the pain of trying hard to do something that is just out of your reach.
Ultimately, you'll need to learn to practice smarter, too, not just forever. That's where teachers help. Also, this blog will visit that question many times in the coming months.
But for now, it's kick in the pants time!
So stop wasting time reading this and get back to Chopin! (or whomever).
I'll be here later. But for now, get practicing!