If you don't already have one, try to put a mirror in your practice space as soon as you can. It's one of the most important tools you will have and use (if you dare) as you learn and grow in your piano studies.
If you dare...yes, we have to go there. Can I share with you some of the most common statements that I hear from students are?
Why on Earth would we apologize for making a mistake? And yet...we ALL do it! We can't make mistakes, we won't ever get "it", and on and on. My goodness. We are sooo incredibly hard on ourselves, aren't we?!
The "perfectionist" side is good in the sense that it helps us to be detailed and persistent in our practicing, but then it starts to cross-over into a bit of a negative thinking pattern that can slow down our progress.
Many times, our self berating comes from comparing ourselves to others. This is especially true for musicians that play with other musicians often and are around players who are different levels of playing; some better than us and some not as good as us.
I get it! You work hard on your piano piece, and then you hear someone else just rip it off like it's nothing! Those technical places that you are still mastering seem to be so easy and effortless for another player. What usually happens then is that we start questioning our abilities and if we can even play. Well, yukko - right?!
So why would I encourage you to go to the mirror especially when you're thinking that your incapable of doing what you want to do? We don't exactly have the nicest thoughts about ourselves when our confidence is low, do we?
Because...I want you to become your greatest source of inspiration instead of your greatest critic.
You can do that by being honest. It's fine to notice what you do/did wrong, as long as you're going to notice as well what you did right. You can do this by:
You're going to compare yourself with you only, and not anyone else. You can do this by:
Stop being afraid of making mistakes.
f you weren't learning, you wouldn't be making mistakes! They are a necessary part of life and learning a musical instrument. They teach us. Welcome them...thank them for their lessons, and then move on, because there will always be more waiting for you. :) They do not mean that we're failing, or that we can't play, or that we aren't practicing. Instead, they are landmarks on the path towards the goal, which is to play the new piece. They change as we get closer to our goal and are less frequent; but it's important to use them to help us play better, and not let them be a tool of self doubt.
The mirror is where this is going to happen. You need to get in front of that mirror and practice all of these ideas...have conversations with that face you see...be as accountable for offering praise when due as you may be at shouting about everything that needs to change. The more you do this, the easier it will be to pop in with yourself and say, "way to go", or "wow, see...you DID do it"!!
So...what was the best thing about your piano playing that you can remember from the last time that you played? Now go share that with your mirror! :)
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