last night’s piano lesson was a catastrophe from the get-go. i had not practiced in over 2 weeks and i probably should have cancelled because lessons tend to go very poorly and are are extremely extremely difficult when i don’t practice. but i also knew having a really horrible lesson would be the stimulus i need to return to practice. i am committed to the lessons and the only way to get through them is to lessen the fear factor, which can only happen if I practice.
as you can see, this is more about practicing than about learning an instrument. the piano is merely the material object.
i faced a lot of uncertainty in my life over the months while working on my latest video, but the one thing i was absolutely certain about was that i would finish it. which is a big thing for me. how many times have i committed to something and failed to fulfill that commitment? Proposal commitments, phone/skype call commitments, social commitments, work commitments, looking for other work commitments, health commitments, writing commitments, family commitments, social commitments, commitment commitments -with this sarcastic inner voice that tells me, “right. like you’re actually going to do this.” how many times? i often feel that i make little gestures of effort towards an intention, but then I manage to intentionally or unintentionally let distractions distract me from my intentions.
which partially explains the piano lessons, which are not just about discipline but also about facing fear. Because i am sometimes intimidated by my piano teacher. and when i feel intimidated, i freeze up.
last night he was trying to explain basic music theory. major chords. minor chords. how to move from one to the other. And then he would ask me to play an A major chord, followed by an A minor chord. I could play the major chord correctly, but then I would forget the instructions for playing the minor chord. This happened about a dozen times in a row.
He would say, “I don’t quite get what you’re not getting.”
And then I’d say, “I’m sorry. I’m just not getting it.”
And then he would say, “this is basically asking you what 2 + 2 equals.”
And I would say, “but I don’t know how to answer that either.” because, at that moment, i had frozen up.
And then he would say, “You’re over-thinking!”
And I would protest, “No, I’m under-thinking.”
And he would respond, “No, you’re over-thinking.”
Finally I would say, “No, I’m just not a very good thinker when people are asking me to think.” As a case in point, I showed him the results of my S.A.T. exams.
And then we would try it again.