When it comes to practicing piano, many people seem to subscribe to that old-fashioned mindset of “doing good” or “doing bad” for the week. This train of thought was a trap that was laid out ages ago, based on the concept that “if I punish myself, I’ll be considered ‘okay'” and continues to prevail to this day. A student will show up at his or her lesson and, even before sitting down on the bench, will state with a look of shame, “I had a bad week. I hardly practiced” or some similar remark.
Thinking in terms of duality – “good” or “bad” – is just that, a trap. There is no winning with this kind of thinking or this approach to learning. Even when you’ve had a “good” week, the possibility of having had a “bad” week is implied along with that. Does this make sense?
What if every week was considered a “winner,” whatever amount of effort you put forth or results you realized? The truth is that it can indeed be this way for you.
“80% of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen
One thing you cannot deny is that you did get results, one way or another. Maybe you put in some good, honest practice time and amazed yourself long before the week was close to being over. Perhaps you didn’t go to the piano for 5 days in a row and felt you didn’t have a thing to feel good about. But you did get a result that you can learn from. When you really grasp the lesson here, your entire experience with piano lessons (or anything else, for that matter) will become a whole lot more rewarding for you.
The key lies in looking at the big picture, or what’s most important throughout your entire journey to you. For example, when you view your entire experience in a manner that helps you learn more about yourself, failure simply is not an option. So, okay, you didn’t touch the piano for a few days and you know it. Looking back at that, you have a choice of how you decide to process that information. If you choose to say that you flopped, that’s a choice. But then again, if you choose to honestly look at the reason why you didn’t feel inspired to go tickle those ivories for that amount of time, you might learn something about yourself. Very likely, it’s something you can share with your piano teacher. If he or she is truly qualified to play the role of “instructor” effectively, what you share will be welcomed with open arms.
So, what is the big picture for you as it pertains to your involvement with piano lessons? Are you traveling this journey to appreciate yourself more? To enhance your appreciation of music? To become more proficient at a craft? What’s the real underlying reason to it all for you? When you really touch base with that – when you are completely honest with yourself – you will easily recognize the truth that no amount of self-punishment or self-judgment has any real place in your world. You’ll be a better friend to yourself by accepting yourself and your actions (or lack of them) up to this point, learn from it all, and move on. Your engagement with lessons can really be instrumental (pun intended) in leading you to self-realization. When you use your experience as a way to become more connected with yourself, it’s always a win.