2 Things I’ve Learnt From Playing the Piano

18 06 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly had an urge to play the piano again. I had decided to stop playing the piano seriously a few years back because the three hours of daily practice bored me, but I now had this desire to touch those keys again and hear the music flow from my fingers…

So I opened up the piano and sat down. I took out some Beethoven that I had played years before – sonata no. 8 – and started cautiously weaving my fingers around the notes. It was a little bumpy to start with, and I knew that my piano playing was a tad rusty, but soon enough, the sonata began to sound good enough to be called ‘music’.

It felt good. There I was at the piano, steadily feeling more and more confident as the notes slid over each other. And as I sat there playing, I thought: what have I learnt from all those years of playing the piano?

1. “You become a champion by fighting one more round.”                                                     As with anything, practice is what nails it 95% of the time. I was playing a Dutch card game with a friend once, and she said to me – “The game’s about luck, but also about how you play your luck”. The concept is similar enough with playing the piano – sure, a little talent helps, but it’s also about how you develop that talent. Playing the piano taught me that if I wanted to do something be better than other people, I had to do more than they did, practice more than they did, and fight one more round.

2. Work smart and work hard.                                                                                             Practicing three hours a day was ‘working hard’, but practicing three hours a day without a method wasn’t ‘working smart’. Playing the piano taught me to practice smart. There’s no point in playing the whole piece countless of times – it would be smooth but mediocre at best. The trick was to spot out parts that I had problems with and work on those in isolation. Then I would repeat that one part five times until I got it perfect each time, before moving on to the next problematic section. Now I use this method in a whole range of other areas: golf, running, studying etc. – and it works great.

Now I’m off to play some piano.


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4 responses

18 06 2011

it really makes me laugh!! i remember all those good old time of playing piano with you!!!

19 06 2011

“The game’s about luck, but also about how you play your luck”.

haa, so true! that applies to life :p

19 06 2011

Interesting you said that, because that’s exactly what I thought when Marlies said “The game’s about luck, but also about how you play your luck” while explaining the game klaverjassen to me!

21 06 2011
Benson Chiu

That’s what we called “Effectiveness” and “Efficiency”. If you can identify where is your problematic area, then practice smart, both Effectiveness and Efficiency can be fulfilled. Otherwise, no matter how many countless practice or how efficient doing work, the effort is in vain. So, priority should be given to “effective” rather than “efficient”.

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