Simplify.

I had my first piano lesson last week, and it was a revelation:

Simplify.

You don’t have to play all the 7ths, all the inversions, or all the possible funky rhythms you can come up with. Just play major triads in root position: I, IV, V, I. You’ll actually find yourself playing the piece and not racking your brain on how to make it musical.

I tend to over-complicate things. I’m a music student who wants to have it ALL right NOW; I want to understand everything and get to the Promised Land today; I want to get ahead of the curve and leave everyone else behind in the dust on day one.

And because of that mentality, it takes me forever to learn the simplest things.

I learned this week that you don’t have to do everything now. You don’t have to have it all figured out after one lesson, or after a whole month or year of lessons. Take it one element at a time. It’s a very Zen way to practice, and I love it. I don’t need to play “Danny Boy” in a manner worthy of Carnegie Hall. I can just play it in a manner that has me learn the element that I need to master.

I’m in lessons to learn the skills, not the music. Of course I can’t help but learn the music, but some of us have a habit of learning and absorbing all kinds of music without learning skills. I don’t want to be that kind of musician. I already am that kind of musician, where the piano is concerned. And this is exactly why I’m taking lessons.

I’m perfectly happy to start my piano work where the yogis start their chakra work: in root position. So that’s where I’ll stay until further notice.

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