How well do you observe and acknowledge your achievements in your piano playing?
Many times...those of us that are musicians are perfectionists. <---that's in part what makes us good musicians!
But...seeing our results through the lens of a perfectionist might not be the most productive way to measure how well we're reaching our goals in our piano playing!
If we're too critical about ourselves and the results of our hard work, we're only going to focus on what we did wrong and what we didn't succeed in learning.
Aren't we supposed to notice what we're doing wrong?...you might ask. Yes but we can't use that critical observation as our only source of measuring our success because it will end up becoming a weapon of self sabotage.
To really have an accurate conclusion about how well you're achieving your goals in your piano playing, you have to be aware of the good things you do each day in your practicing and playing; as well as the areas that you need to keep working on.
One of the ways you can do this is to set small and simple goals for each practice session. Don't go into your practicing expecting to play a whole piece with no mistakes when you just started it 2 weeks ago.
Break it down.
Set a goal of learning 10 measures a day - for example. Your goal is to learn the notes, rhythm, and articulations for 10 measures at a time, and be able to play through just those 10 measures pretty much mistake-free for that day.
** Is 10 measures too much in one day? Then cut it back to 5 **
The next day, you tackle learning the next 10 (or 5) measures just like you did the day before. Go back and play the 10 measures you learned before to review and help reinforce them.
Keep doing this each day for a week. Now...
Instead of looking at what you didn't learn...what DID you learn and play well this week? Did you learn all 10 measure each day or did you need to cut it back to just 5 measures? Either way, at the end of the week, how well did you play all of the measures that you worked on that week? Probably pretty well!!
Did you play the right notes, key signatures, rhythms, and articulations?
No? OK...then what of those DID you do correctly?
Always notice first...what you did well and successfully. Always.
Then...look at what you may still need to work on. Avoid going into that trap of, "I'll never get this...this is too hard...I've worked on this and I still can't play it". Just...don't go there.
Instead, tell yourself that you can see how your hard work paid off in some areas, and other areas may need another week of work. Also be aware that this is true for ALL of us!
Some things will be easier to learn than others. One pianist may learn rhythms with no trouble but may have a hard time understanding the different key signatures.
When you are able to see the areas that need more work, then you can set new goals that will help you overcome those challenges...just break it down again.
Make it a goal the next week to practice on those challenging areas first in the 10 measure groups. If it's learning your notes on the keyboard that's challenging you, then practice scales in the same key as your piece. If rhythm is confusing you, go back and review any rhythm lessons you have taken or participated in to help you remember how to count specific sections.
The trick in really seeing the areas you need to work on more, is to look at the good things you've accomplished first! Then you don't waste time working on the easy things...you know exactly where to work, to make those important improvements. Then your work will pay off more, and you'll see even more accomplishments in your piano playing.
It's really and act of loving yourself. If you're too critical in your piano playing, you're probably too critical in a lot of other areas of your life as well.
You know what being too critical does? It makes us anxious, insecure, frustrated, and stuck in a pattern of yuk! It doesn't really serve any purpose in our lives that is good.
When we're able to see the good things along with the things that still need work, we end up feeling more encouraged, more positive and confident, AND we accomplish our goals better and faster because we're being more truthful and realistic with ourselves.
So break it down...be willing to pat yourself on the back for the great things that you accomplish in your practice and performing sessions, and tackle those areas that challenge you with small, simple, doable daily goals that will give you results and a better attitude!
Stay Tuned to PianoLessonsOnTheWeb.com to learn much more and achieve your dreams of playing the piano!
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