June 22, 2009
Are you a perfectionist? Does every note have to sound right before it comes out of your piano? If so, you might be cheating yourself out of the joy of music making. Most of us learned how to be perfectionists as children, trying to please Mommy or Daddy. We wanted their approval so we tried to get it right.
In the process, we learned that getting it right meant giving up happiness. It wasn't enough that we could express ourselves musically. We had to do a good job of it as well. As good as we could make it. Getting all the notes right. Trying to please music teachers who could care less if we were enjoying ourselves. All for what? To get a grade or a "that's good?"
It's a shame but this happens all the time in music schools. It's not until we become adults that we realize the damage that has been done. By then, it's usually too late and most never pick up an instrument again. What a pity that is. What a shame that we all must create to someone's standard of what good is. And worst of all, when you finally achieve that high standard, you are told that it is never good enough anyway.
The way out of this perfectionist's rut is to let go of the need to please others and refocus on pleasing ourselves. Now there is room to make mistakes and explore what art really is – namely EXPLORATION OF THE UNKNOWN! Here is where the real adventure begins my friends. Here is where excitement truly is! Not knowing what is going to happen next. Not judging what comes out of us but being beholders of it all.
Improvisation is the key that unlocks this door. It is the one art form that is invention from one moment to the next. Experience the joy of improvisation and all need to get things right disappears. Just for a moment you feel like the music is playing you. Isn't that enough?
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!