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initK Offline OP
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I bumped into this article today and thought I wouldn't be the only one who would enjoy it:

https://blog.chaddickerson.com/2019/10/27/piano-and-life/

It has new (to me) book recommendation: The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life...

Here is: The Practicing Mind Summary

I placed it on my Amazon wish list and it's going to be one of my x-mas presents to myself smile

I've been away from my piano for three weeks now because of some family emergency travels and miss it very much. So, I'm reading all I can find, listen to past recitals and dreaming how new and organized me will resume my piano journey once I'm back to my sweet home.

Happy Monday!

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I couldn't help reading the comments to see what people made of the book - new revelations perhaps?

This is the most useful comment:

Here are the key takeaways:

Be present-minded
Focus on the process, not the final product/result/goal.
Paradoxically, cultivating either patience or self-discipline requires both of them.
Be non-judgmental, about yourself and your work.
Perfection is a never-ending quest and makes you judgmental.
Focus can be achieved by 4 'S' words: simplify, small (tasks), short (duration) and slow (deliberation).
New habits are formed by practice (60 times per day, 21 days to a new habit).
Old habits are removed by a trigger, a "pre-shot" routine that diverts the focus from the goal to the process instead.


And from the blog:

Lesson #3: Learning something difficult feels like (and is) real work.

The default response from adults I tell about this is, “Oh, that sounds fun!” Ahem. I would say it’s rewarding but I wouldn’t always call it “fun” at this stage. I’ve observed that learning an instrument can be a fantasy for many people, in the same vein as “one day I’ll write a book.” It certainly was for me. When you hear “piano lessons,” it is tempting to fast-forward to some glamorous point in your future where you’re at a holiday party and people gather around to sing songs at the piano as you take requests, all of which you know how to play, of course. The problem with this fantasy is that getting to such a point takes years and hundreds of hours of practice (if not thousands). The only thing that will get you there is doing the real work day after day.



Lesson #4: Focus on fundamentals and really learn them.

I’ve been hacking around on guitar for almost thirty years and I have never progressed beyond playing chords.

Looking back, I have been stuck at this level because I never really focused on playing guitar as a practice. You know, I just wanted to rock. I was impatient, unfocused, and undisciplined.

What I didn’t understand when I was downloading Led Zeppelin tabs and failing to play them is that music isn’t just a paint-by-number put-your-fingers-on-the-right-strings exercise. You have to understand core concepts like rhythm, harmony, and melody. Putting all of those things together at the same time makes great music, not just hitting the right notes in order.
But whether or not you play “by ear” or you know how to read music, you have to learn all of this somehow, and that requires discipline and lots of hours. There is no shortcut.

With piano, this means getting your basic fingering right and that means doing “boring” things like practicing scales. It’s not just hitting the right notes, it’s about hitting the right notes with the right fingers. It’s about how your hand moves up and down the keyboard so you can hit the next right note as the scale progresses. It’s about doing rhythm drills to make sure you can play at accelerating tempos and keep consistent rhythm. In the past six months, I’ve spent 20x the time on this type of work on piano that I spent on guitar in the past 30 years. By the end of my first year really focusing on piano, I’m pretty sure I will be objectively better on piano than I ever was at guitar (and when I go back to guitar, I already feel like I’m better from the work with piano).

All systems revolve around interrelated concepts and the more you study and integrate all of those concepts into your practice, the higher quality the output will be. In my time as an operating executive, I often heard people starting their careers tell me they wanted to go straight to doing “strategic” work with the implication that they wanted to skip over the boring “tactical” stuff. In music as in business (and life), knowing how the tactical stuff works (rhythm, harmony, melody) is the base that gets you to strategic work (playing great songs). Otherwise, you’re just me skipping straight to trying (and failing) to play...

Take the time to learn the fundamentals. Skipping ahead leads to falling behind.


Lesson #5: Pure intrinsic motivation and the absence of external validation are liberating.

To keep going you need a ton of intrinsic motivation to make it through learning the very basics in the beginning. When you’ve done a few lessons and all you can do is tap out a simple version of “Yankee Doodle,” you’re nowhere close to wowing the mythical people gathered around the piano at the mythical holiday party you were dreaming of when you started. No one really cares that you’re learning piano as an adult. Kids learning piano are cute but an adult man just isn’t. In fact, a 47-year-old man asking you to listen to him play a rough version of “Yankee Doodle” can only be described in one word: annoying. You are going to suck for a while and the songs you learn to play will be so simple that they may seem boring.

Just keep going. When I made that commitment to try lessons for a year, it took me about three months of learning basic stuff to come anywhere close to what I would call “fun.”



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All the above have been mentioned in ABF in various forms in various contexts, more times than I can count, yet time and time again, they are ignored by learners.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I did indeed enjoy the article. Thank you initK.


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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Well, not all learners ignore it bennevis smile I get it and I am optimistic that as time goes on more people will get it....


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Quote
No one really cares that you’re learning piano as an adult. Kids learning piano are cute but an adult man just isn’t. In fact, a 47-year-old man asking you to listen to him play a rough version of “Yankee Doodle” can only be described in one word: annoying.

Wrong. The older man or woman learning to play and working hard at basic things is seen, especially among musicians and students, with respect. I have seen this over and over.
The intrinsic motivation part - of course!

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Originally Posted by keystring
Quote
No one really cares that you’re learning piano as an adult. Kids learning piano are cute but an adult man just isn’t. In fact, a 47-year-old man asking you to listen to him play a rough version of “Yankee Doodle” can only be described in one word: annoying.

Wrong. The older man or woman learning to play and working hard at basic things is seen, especially among musicians and students, with respect. I have seen this over and over.
The intrinsic motivation part - of course!



+1 I agree with you keystring!



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Originally Posted by Marvelle
I did indeed enjoy the article. Thank you initK.



I enjoyed it as well. Thanks!



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Originally Posted by bennevis

All the above have been mentioned in ABF in various forms in various contexts, more times than I can count, yet time and time again, they are ignored by learners.......


I know there is nothing new and groundbreaking in the book and/or the blog, but so simply put and so short, that sometime this form creates most resonance in me. I know about real work, simple, short and slow parts too. But the patience bit is something I can't be reminded enough of.

I find it hard to not put goals (like recitals) in front of me non-stop and have burning impatience within myself at times during my sluggish practice. Often, I have a glimpse of what focused and meditative practice can be, but sometimes I stumble around searching for it and stubbornly hoping that if I do something thousand times, my brain and hands will follow.

I find it hard even after years with the teacher in my youth and working with the teacher now again. After almost 10 years - my brain still doesn't want to fully accept the truth of it and haunts me with critical inner dialog, no wonder beginners have trouble with it.

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Originally Posted by initK
Originally Posted by bennevis

All the above have been mentioned in ABF in various forms in various contexts, more times than I can count, yet time and time again, they are ignored by learners.......


I know there is nothing new and groundbreaking in the book and/or the blog, but so simply put and so short, that sometime this form creates most resonance in me. I know about real work, simple, short and slow parts too. But the patience bit is something I can't be reminded enough of.....

Don't let yourself be put off by the negativity of these statements. I'm trying very hard to ignore them. There are at least as many learners who seek out and apply such things. A novice may come in who is still finding his or her way, and they've come to a rich environment here to help them. Thank you for sharing what you found.

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Apropos to this book recommendation, I would also recommend you pick up a copy of the book
‘The Perfect Wrong Note’ by William Westney. Used copies are readily available.

Here is the goodreads link to reviews
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27585.The_Perfect_Wrong_Note?ac=1&from_search=true


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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by initK
Originally Posted by bennevis

All the above have been mentioned in ABF in various forms in various contexts, more times than I can count, yet time and time again, they are ignored by learners.......


I know there is nothing new and groundbreaking in the book and/or the blog, but so simply put and so short, that sometime this form creates most resonance in me. I know about real work, simple, short and slow parts too. But the patience bit is something I can't be reminded enough of.....

Don't let yourself be put off by the negativity of these statements. I'm trying very hard to ignore them. There are at least as many learners who seek out and apply such things. A novice may come in who is still finding his or her way, and they've come to a rich environment here to help them. Thank you for sharing what you found.


Totally agree with this.... more ABFers present and future will find this to be a useful recommendation than you may ever know. I don’t understand the negativity about adult beginners... if that is the impression of any member, why read and post to this forum at all? Stick to the Pianist forum and put this one on ignore.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Stick to the Pianist forum and put this one on ignore.

I would say: please stay on ABF, because most of the time, everybody here is really friendly and helpful, but just skim through some comments. smile


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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I enjoyed the blog post to. This feels like another thread I want to favourite so as to come back to when I return and have a daily piano to play.

My personal big takeaway is resist wanting external validation.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by dogperson
Stick to the Pianist forum and put this one on ignore.

I would say: please stay on ABF, because most of the time, everybody here is really friendly and helpful, but just skim through some comments. smile


You have cut out the first part of my statement, which changes the meaning.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Thanks for the link, I've added the book to my Amazon wish list.

I've just finished Alan Rusbridger and am just starting Playing the Piano for Pleasure.

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Originally Posted by KevinM

My personal big takeaway is resist wanting external validation.


Yes!!! I feel it's one of the most important things for me too. My husband is very supportive and thinks a world of my pursuits, but I have to stop wanting more. It's more important to get all the joy from the process and music for my internal self.

As for patience... anyone who knows me would think that I have TONS of it. With lifetime of arts and crafts like hugely time-consuming lace knitting, painting and gardening, I should be well practiced at that. And don't forget 9 years of musical school as a kid, I found I need yet more patience and of a little bit different kind. When I work on shawl, I see it grow. It's undeniable to see rose flowering and tomatoes ripening. But music grows inside our brain and connects with hands slowly. Sometime the progress is leaps and bounds, and sometimes you spend 3 months and don't feel any forward movement at all. And it's strange for adult, when you learned that hard work always pays off. But this pay-off is so imperceptible for a long while. This is why process is so important.

I'm flying home tomorrow and can't wait to say hi to my piano!

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by initK
Originally Posted by bennevis

All the above have been mentioned in ABF in various forms in various contexts, more times than I can count, yet time and time again, they are ignored by learners.......


I know there is nothing new and groundbreaking in the book and/or the blog, but so simply put and so short, that sometime this form creates most resonance in me. I know about real work, simple, short and slow parts too. But the patience bit is something I can't be reminded enough of.....

Don't let yourself be put off by the negativity of these statements. I'm trying very hard to ignore them. There are at least as many learners who seek out and apply such things. A novice may come in who is still finding his or her way, and they've come to a rich environment here to help them. Thank you for sharing what you found.


Oh, no! I'm not put off. I've read threads here for long enough, I see this comment as helpful and honest, I appreciate that. I also understand why adult beginners fall into that trap and I do feel sympathetic, in time almost all of us come around smile

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by dogperson
Stick to the Pianist forum and put this one on ignore.

I would say: please stay on ABF, because most of the time, everybody here is really friendly and helpful, but just skim through some comments. smile


You have cut out the first part of my statement, which changes the meaning.

I am sorry Dogperson, my bad, I didn't mean it. Just sloppy reading. I really thought that you adviced to put ABF on ignore.

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Phew! That didn't sound like the dogperson I have come to know on this forum so I went back and read you original statement.


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Originally Posted by pianosuzemn
Phew! That didn't sound like the dogperson I have come to know on this forum so I went back and read you original statement.

+1 thumb



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