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.
I had a great first week back teaching, it was great to get back in to a few routines and help set some goals for new and returning students. I like to check in regularly to keep on top of your goals and make sure you're working towards the areas you'd like, and from there it's my job to facilitate the learning of the skills that will get you there.
You might notice a small change in my studio setup this week - I've upgraded my music stands behind my keyboard so that I can now accomodate six sheets of music. It's not uncommon for me to learn songs for HDPiano tutorials that have five or six sheets, so this will make that part of my work much easier. I'm always on the lookout for ways to make my setup more efficient for learning and teaching and those of you who have been having lessons for the past few years have seen quite a few upgrades and changes in that time.
Happy Monday, and Happy 2020!
I hope you've all had a fantastic holiday and new year period and that you're as excited as I am to start lessons again after a short break. Maybe some of you were lucky enough to have received musical presents?