Now, time for number 6 on the list of 8 Ways to Improve Your Musicianship:
Your whole body is free to move and co-ordinate when you’re balanced.
For some of you, this is a topic that we've looked at in-depth, for some of you it's something that we're yet to visit, but this point is a crucial one when it comes to playing the piano. Most of the time when we sit, we're looking to relax. We sit back, we put our weight on our bottom, and the mere thought of reaching for the remote is groan-inducing. This is where playing the piano is different.
With the COVID-19 advice changing at a rapid rate, the expectation is that a decision will be made in the near future by the State or Federal Government that enforces a restriction on non-essential businesses and travel. At the moment, the advice is to reconsider your need to travel outside your home, with the emphasis on using your "common sense".
With this in mind, I am recommending that all lessons be moved to online lessons from now until further notice so that we can all play our part in trying to flatten the curve of the rate of infection. While the studio will remain open to in-person lessons until required to close, this is a great opportunity for us all to be proactive about the situation.
You can find details on how to prepare for your online lessons here.
There will continue to be a 20% discount across online lessons this week to allow us some time in each lesson to make sure that everything is working.
To join your online lesson, follow the link in your Lesson Reminder. I'll also be adding the link to the Evernote folders for those who are already using that platform for lesson notes.
I welcome your feedback at any time and am happy to discuss any of the above or to help you set yourself up. It's certainly a strange time for everyone, and I hope that your lessons can continue to be a welcome contribution to your quality of life over this period.
It's time to continue our journey down the 8 Steps to Improving your Musicianship with step 5:
You can’t change something that has already happened. Don’t let it stop you.
This step is all about how we react to the much feared, and ever present... MISTAKES! I spend a lot of time with all of you talking about your mistakes, and for good reason - we all make them! I've mentioned to many of my students that I've never played a song perfectly, and the looks that I get usually suggest that you don't believe me. However, it is very true.
It's time to continue our journey along the 8 Steps to Improving your Musicianship! On to number 4:
If you don’t listen to music, you won’t get better at playing music.
Sounds pretty simple right? In fact, it's about the easiest homework you can do, because you don't need to be anywhere near a piano to do it! So how does the sing-along in the car or your headphones helping you through your daily commute help you become better at playing the piano?
Continuing the theme of the past couple of weeks, it's time to look at the third item on the 8 Steps to Improving Your Musicianship:
3. Start with a positive intention. Play how you want the music to sound.
Straight off the bat, I've done enough research and had enough experience to know that the power of positive thinking is not a magic cure-all, and I'm not about to tell you that you'll magically become a better player if you just believe in yourself. So if that's not the case, then what's the point of starting with a positive intention?
After spending some time last week elaborating on the virtues of making mistakes (and how they keep me happy), it's time for to investigate the second item on the 8 Steps to Improving Your Musicianship:
What feels strange or different might also feel easier. Focus on the easy.
This is something that I hold near and dear to my heart as a former student who has now become a teacher. I'll be the first to admit - I can be really, really stubborn sometimes! Often I feel like I have a solid reason that makes sense in my own brain, but the more I investigate why I do something in a certain way, the more I start to admit that there's more than one way of doing something. So how does this play in to your developing musicianship?
Around a year ago I created a resource called "8 Steps to Improving Your Musicianship" and I think it's worth investigating the steps in some finer detail. Some of you may have already seen this document before, but if you haven't, it's worth printing out and putting at the front of your folder or sticking it on your wall as a handy reminder of some of the things that you might do more often if given the reminder. So, to begin, let's look at Step 1:
Every mistake you make is an offering, a chance for your teacher to help you.
As with every Monday, I often wake up a little tired and a little sore from playing social Ultimate Frisbee on a Sunday evening. It's one of the highlights of my week because it's so much fun and it scratches the strong competitive itch that I have. The next-day consequences are a reasonable by-product, but they have a habit of affecting my motivation to do the less fun things in life. The harder I ran, the more stiff my legs, the less likely I'm going to be happy about standing up off the couch to unpack the dishwasher. So, like many of you, I battle with two key aspects of my life that are closely linked with your practise time - routine and resilience.
I've just finished watching what's probably the most viewed annual musical performances in the world - the Superbowl Half-Time Show! This year featured Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, who can now claim their place on a very exclusive club of performers who have played at the Superbowl. With a performance by two headliners, it's always going to be a balancing act of how to structure the show to make sure that each performer gets to present themselves to the world in the best possible light. With that in mind, here's my key takeaway from watching the performance.
What a hot sleepy day! I'm in need of a burst of energy after seeing the one and only Elton John live in concert last night - and incredible performer who played for over two-and-a-half hours. And he does that multiple nights in a row! A late night always leaves my energy a little short the day after so I've had to come up with some strategies over the years for continuing to do the things I love, like make music, when I'm feeling fatigued.