"So You Make Mistakes When You
Practice Piano? Let Us Give Thanks!"
When you practice piano, what is your instant reaction to making what are often referred to as "mistakes?" Do you cringe? Do you put yourself down? Do your facial and neck muscles become tight? Do mistakes make you want to throw in the towel?
If you have ever reacted to mistakes in a negative fashion while practicing piano, mark this day on your calendar as a turnaround day for you, because I don't ever want you to do it again!
What we really need to do is define what a mistake is. So how do you personally define the word? This is important, so please give it some thought. Here's how I define a mistake:
mis-take: a key that opens new doors to understanding and creativity
Now, with that as my viewpoint of what a mistake (or "error") is, how do you think I react whenever I make one of them on the piano? How about this for an instant reaction... "Wow, how great! Another possibility!"
It might not surprise you, if you read into this a little further, that I welcome mistakes while I play - I really do! As a matter of fact, I'm grateful for them!
Throughout all my years of coaching people on piano - all ages and levels - it has never ceased to amaze me of a basiccontradiction that exists in the minds of most people. It goes something like this:
1) I want to learn piano
2) I don't want to make the mistakes that go along with the process of learning
Think about that for a moment or two. It may seem a little ridiculous as you read that, but it is true a good portion of the time. When I study the reactions of people as they "hit that wrong note," their actions confirm this mind set.
Author Scott Adams put it this way (I love this, because it's so very true): "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
Mistakes are something to be thankful for. They are necessary. They are the first and foremost assets that we have in our favor when it comes to learning. They breed creativity.
Please read that again. Adopt that mindset and just have fun observing the progress that is ahead of you. You'll be improving by leaps and bounds every second you practice piano. Why? Because you can do no wrong!
You may have seen Tony's first piano lesson with me. He never played the piano prior to our little experience that you see
in this video
... if you haven't taken a look, do so now...
Well, after that video session, which was impromptu and took only about ten minutes, including the time it took to setup the camera, Tony actually apologized to me for missing a note here and there! He really did! Now, if you viewthat session, knowing it was Tony's first experience at the piano ever, I think you'll agree he did totally remarkably!
I decided to view Tony's reaction to "making a mistake" as a blessing to all of us because, with his help, we producedanother short video illustrating how a "mistake" really can (and should) be viewed as an opportunity for further learning and creativity:
The next time you practice that piano lesson, remember Tony's experience and make it work for you. Remember... mistakes are opportunities. Say it to yourself ten or twenty times every time you sit at that piano keyboard of yours.
Do that and, within a very short period of time, you'll be noticing a huge difference in your experience and how much more you enjoy each and every second you sit down to practice piano!
Enjoy those mistakes!
Tony, thank you again for inspiring our viewers!
By the way, Tony and I since had a third piano session together. Want to view it?
Return from Making Mistakes to Practice Piano
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