It’s Not All Black & White
“Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.”
It also depends on how you go about learning it. Taking that a little further, it depends on how you choose to perceive your learning experience.
The point I’m wanting to make here is that a student of the piano has a whole lot more to learn than playing music. The learning journey itself has a lot to offer in many respects. In short, the process of learning to play piano, including the many different phases of it, can serve as a vehicle for improving many aspects of your life.
A Basic Fact
With all my experience in conducting piano lessons to people of all ages and levels, I can honestly say that no two people are exactly alike. It’s what keeps what I do so interesting and rewarding. Along with that, I can also say with confidence that they all have something in common as well:
How a person goes about learning something new says a lot about that individual’s perception of himself or herself.
A number of years ago, while attending a seminar, the speaker shared some words that never left me. He said:
“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
Upon seeing or hearing those words for the first time, once could easily argue, “Well, an attorney who is tops in his or her field with no experience playing piano obviously doesn’t play the instrument like (s)he performs in a courtroom.”
The meaning of that quote goes much deeper than that, of course, as do most profound statements.
I have enjoyed the pleasure and privilege of providing piano lessons to attornies, nurses, doctors, full-time moms, and more. In each of their chosen fields, I wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to any of them. It’s true that, as a beginning piano student, each of these individuals does what they do with authority and integrity in their own right.
That said, their approach to learning something new, whether it’s learning to associate the names of the keys on the keyboard with the grand staff or learning how to play a piano version of McCartney’s Let It Be, reveals this:
We are all subject to approaching challenges from the unique perspective that we have of ourselves. Each of us maintains a certain self-image along with own unique brand of self-esteem and confidence. We bring that to the table in all that we do. In short, the person you internally see yourself as is the one who “shows up for the lesson.”
It’s that person who “shows up” for everything.
A Super Way To Expand Your Self Awareness
I know that a certain number of clients of mine who show up for weekly lessons are in touch with this truth.
Let’s consider the retired attorney who took himself through a successful career while being tops in his game shows up because he is aware that the challenge of reaching a specific pianistic goal allows him to enhance his perspective of himself. He knows that learning a new “boogie-woogie” left-hand pattern will allow him to prove to himself that what once was considered impossible is now possible. He sees the breakthrough as worth every iota of effort. He has the ability to make his way through obstacles. He uses the piano as a tool to prove that.
Then there’s the semi-retired educator who shows up each and every week for the simple reason that she realizes that she is worth that commitment to herself. Upon entering the studio, she humorously confesses, “I didn’t even touch the piano this week” while knowing that she’s still going to learn something during that session and is aware that I’m totally accepting of her situation as I remind her, “You’re doing this to enhance your lifestyle – not overtake it.” She smiles, knowing that I understand where she’s coming from. She knows why she shows up. The person she sees herself as is one who doesn’t retreat in the face of trials. She shows up to nurture that fact.
Across the ocean, in Australia, there is the man who writes to me while sitting on the train on his way to work. After investing in my latest online cocktail piano video lesson, he shares his appreciation and feedback, shares how it has helped him. He also offers what he would like to see in an upcoming video tutorial.
I enjoy the privilege of servicing these people and others like them, each with his or her own background and goals, of course. Most of them are not interested in performing publicly. Rather, they’ve set their own stage for personal growth and are enjoying the benefits. You know who you are, I take off my hat and bow to you.
The Journey Means More Than The Destiny
You may have ascertained by now that I view each and every one-on-one session that I participate in as more than a piano lesson. You see, when a person enters my studio, for the first time or the fiftieth, I’m interested in the person behind the student. It’s you that matters – not what I have to teach you.
This takes us back to the truth behind that quote. Certain clients of mine know the reason they are involved with piano lessons because they enjoy overcoming obstacles and want to improve how they approach them. They know this applies to much more than getting through the first eight bars of a Bach Minuet. They see it as more personal than that.
What it takes to progress through certain pianistic challenges involves a lot, including visualizing, memorizing, coordinating, muscle memory, and more. The fantastic side to this is that all the benefits received by pursuing these challenges manifest in a natural way while simply having some fun with it all.
I often remind my clients that a person who plays piano for a certain amount of time develops levels of cognitive and physical skills that most other people don’t. I’m convinced that, if most people genuinely knew this to be true, almost everyone would want to take piano lessons!
You Matter: Where Do You Stand?
This takes me to you, dear reader. Specifically, YOU. What brings you here? It’s possible that you arrived here searching for some information that might help you to complement your own experience on the piano. You may have even arrived here with intending to. The fact is you’re here and I’m glad! Having read this far, how can I help you?
Where are you along your journey? I’m interested in learning more about you and your musical involvement, whether you’ve never touched a piano before or you’re simply looking to elevate your improvisational skills. The fact that you have taken some of your valuable time to arrive here and stay awhile is totally appreciated by me. Is there a way I can make it worth it for you? Share your experience with me. I would certainly appreciate that.
What You Can Expect
As this blog is in its initial stages of development, I would like to let you know that it’s my intention to provide valuable information that you can use in a very practical way. Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced player, you’ll find helpful tips, techniques, and strategies that you can utilize to enhance your own playing and appreciation of yourself as a creator. I’m pretty certain that the information you find in this blog will enhance your experience with any learning tools that you may have purchased in our store. From my perspective, it would be fantastic if they work well in conjunction with each other to enhance your experience. I’ll keep this in mind as I continue adding to this blog.
The initial posts will be specifically designed to help the beginning piano enthusiast. One of my strongest aspirations is to turn non-believers into doers. If you have ever had any reservation about your ability to make music at the piano, I would ask that you put those thoughts on hold for a little while. Allow what you find here to serve you in a positive way. The truth is this: you have what it takes to make music and to experience all the peripheral benefits that go along with it!
As this blog matures, the various posts will be categorized so that you can easily see which posts may apply more specifically to you and your situation.
Please correspond with me to let me know how the material here is helpful to you or how it could more specifically be of help to you. Truly, I honor your perspective and am certain to read every email I receive.
88 Keys To Learning
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