Sunday, September 16, 2012

Double Playing

My first semester back at the Y, I decided to take piano lessons again. This was my first experience with a male piano teacher. He was a good teacher, but far too intense sometimes and also frequently finished the lesson by telling me what was disappointing about my playing for him that week. But I feel like for some reason,  his unique mannerisms taught me a lesson that I probably won't forget.

I've always been a perfectionist. Ask anyone who knows me. I am the kind of person who is very hard on myself and must always correct any mistake that comes before me. My teacher told me once that I was "double-playing" which made him very "sad." Double-playing basically means that you replay a passage of a piece with the correct notes or you correct a wrong note you played. He told me that this is something we must avoid, we simply have to plow through our mistakes.

I guess I thought of this with my last post that I also posted this night. This incident took place months ago. I gave up on this piano teacher. But I think I sometimes forget about the double-playing. I shouldn't expect my life to be a flawless performance. In fact, if it were a flawless performance, it doesn't seem like there would be much to learn. I am not trying to be particularly profound here, I am just trying to be honest. Perfectionism, while a seemingly good pursuit, can often make you look and sound silly, much like double-playing. Many times, people will not notice the mistakes in your playing or, if they do, they will forgive them. If you do, however, go back and double-play, they will be sure to remember your mistakes. Our lives are like this. If you move on from your mistakes, correct those only needed (in the piano analogy, that correction would come through careful practice; not correcting automatically while playing), and don't try to double-play your life, you will be happier, and your life will be more of the performance that you want. Otherwise, you end up with a sloppy performance that sounds worse than you think because you did double-play.

Bottom line: don't double-play and learn to plow through those mistakes. After all, everyone makes mistakes.

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