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.
Believe it or not, but I too am a human being, so my desire to make mistakes is about as high as yours - almost non-existent. Mistakes are why we so often get frustrated when practising - we want perfection and we want it now! Imagine how much more pleasant your playing would be if you got things right first time, every time! It might depend a little bit on your motivation, so if you're motivated by playing a piece for someone else and getting approval that way, the more pieces you can play perfectly, the better! Or, maybe you're motivated by your love of how the pieces sound when you play them. Again, the fewer mistakes, the more pleasant things will be.
There's a problem in this beautiful imaginary world - it doesn't exist. The idea of doing something perfect the first time you try it just doesn't exist. So, we could spend a lot of energy trying fight reality, or we could accept that making mistakes is part of learning a new skill. And not only is it an inevitable part, it's the most valuable part.
If I'm Winnie the Pooh, your mistakes are my honey. I'm always on the search for the things that you're finding difficult. Why? Because it's my job! If you made zero mistakes, you wouldn't need me! Economics aside, it's a chance for me to do one of my favourite things in the world - problem solve. Each time you make a mistake, I start brainstorming possible solutions to your woes. Honestly, most of the time the solution is to slow things down, but there's also technical considerations, which fingers are being used, the tension in your hands and body, a problem with the sight reading or a misunderstanding of the rhythm.
Each time one of these problems is presented, I'm looking to improve your understanding of that issue so that when it arises again, you're better equipped to be self-reliant in solving the problem yourself. While it might seem like terrible economics, my actual job is to one day make sure that you don't need me to help you play the songs you want to play.
So the next time you're in a lesson and you apologise for making a mistake, you're apologising for giving me something valuable, and offering to help me make you a better musician.
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: