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?
Experiments! Trying different things can be one of the quickest ways to find an easier way of doing something, particularly when it comes to improving your technique. A big part of my job is to make sure that playing the piano is as easy as it can possibly be for you, and often that will mean that I'll have to take you outside of your comfort zone by doing things that you wouldn't ordinarily try. Sometimes it might be holding your arms out like a zombie or flailing them like an elephant trunk!
Each time we try something in a different way than we're used to, that stubbornness that comes from familiarity will rear its ugly head and tell you, "No! This is strange and weird and different! Different is bad!" But different is just different. There's no need to make a judgement on it, other than to acknowledge that it is different. And once you're okay with it being different, then we can make a further observation - other than the 'different', can I notice how this affects my coordination at the piano?
Does the experiment result in more, or less tension? Does it result in a change in the sound? Does it result in an easier way to do something?
If it's easier, that's what we're searching for. Easy is the goal. The strange or different is to be embraced on the way to reaching that goal.
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: