The latest piano forum quandary surrounds daily practicing. Parents are wringing their hands as teachers impart the latest advice of the week.
Even adult students are plagued by “shoulds” and perfect routes to success, planted in their psyche in early childhood.
They’ll cancel their own lessons if they didn’t get to the piano every day.
Take it one step further,” An EVERY other week student might never show up given such a perfect personal practicing paradigm. (I call it “pppp,” and it corresponds with super duper soft playing–the type that’s very inhibited and boxed in)
On that low note, I have a pupil who shows up if the weather is cooperating, relatives have departed, she’s touched the piano each day, and it’s been recently tuned–all requirements having been met for a positive lesson, on her terms, with a heavy control component.
(She thinks she won’t PLEASE ME, otherwise) It goes with the punitive parent syndrome…”pps”
But Piano lessons SHOULD NOT be orchestrated to be END-oriented in the first place. They SHOULD be PROCESS-centered.
It means a child or adult comes to lessons to learn more about himself, and how to express profound emotions through music.
Keep it SIMPLE and not saddled with baggage that should have left when the last cousin visitor hit the road.
It’s common sense that if students spend the week following a lesson typing out notes mindlessly, even daily, it does not amount to a form of creative self-realization….
Which draws on my own personal musical development: I practiced whenever I was so inclined as child, and my parents, non-musicians, did not put me under strict surveillance. I was not FORCED to practice, or threatened with loss of lessons if I didn’t. Why inject intimidation into music study even with a Cold War backdrop? (Krushchev pounded his shoe at the U.N. and Sputnik launched an insidious space RACE in my day)
Fast forward to the mega sports Millennium:
Kids who might want to practice now and then, are IMPEDED by an impossible after-school athletic itinerary.
If they manage to sit down in between activities, it’s going to be a quickee race to the finish line..
One parent placed an egg-timer on the spinet beside a ticking metronome. (the antithesis of a music-loving journey)
Obviously, it didn’t work and the child gave up piano, never returning as an adult. I call those individuals “pcbr.” (Permanently crippled and beyond rehab)
In my considered opinion, the only way to motivate thoughtful, self-blossoming practicing is to model it as teachers and parents in our daily lives, not just in our professional undertakings.
Loving what we do, and embracing time spent, being inquisitive, focused, and patient are transferable to our children in any number of activities.. You can say, by osmosis, we learn ways of knowing, experiencing, embracing.
If I love my work, if I love daily expression, if I can live in a non-combative environment and grow in increments, but not by perfect measurement, then I will have nourished a part of me that enriches my life.
Youngsters today are on a quick gratification treadmill; they communicate by cell phone; drag iPods around, barely making it to the next sports romp.
How can they begin to practice piano in an environment that is not harmonious with artistic expression?
There’s little more to be said and lots to think about.