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The Bain of musicians’….. Impatience
How many times do I have to learn this one? I wonder. They say to make a mistake is human but to make the same mistake over and over again is a sign of madness. Well if this is the case then I am definitely going nuts. I am sure they only speak in jest but I have been wondering why my wife won’t let me near anything sharper than a crayon. The mistake I refer to is impatience.
With my students I am really good. I realize that it takes time to create a musician. All skills require slow steady and regular practice before we become effective with the technique. I encourage them to take it slow and be patient with themselves when learning new passages in pieces or perhaps new chord progressions. When it comes to me however I am in there with a passion trying to make something work at speed far too early and therefore making a mess of it.
I know without a doubt that I need to heed my own advice. I also know that my students tend to also make the impatience mistake when they are away from me doing their own practice. Why?
Well I believe it is because we are musicians. The only difference between myself and my students is the experience and training. Some of my students are well trained and do also have great musical experience to draw on. We all however want to hear it how we know it should sound. We all have expectations beyond where we are in the moment and we all come from a fundamentally impatient culture.
We have structures like reading ages or certain levels at college that a student should have reached by a certain age or time spent studying. The concept of letting a student develop at their own pace is not one we take to well, except if they can go faster than the norm and then we really go for it. It would perhaps be wiser here to create some balance in the person’s life particularly if you want to create an expressive musician or give someone a good varied life to live. Instead we go at it like it is some kind of competition.
- There have been numerous times when students or, colleagues or friends have used the expression in conversation with myself. “I just want to get ahead” I have probably even used it myself as I am no less flawed than the rest of us. It is very interesting however when the response is the question. “Ahead of what?” This really is a thought worth pondering. To me at least life is not a race or a competition. Life is an opportunity to enjoy a moment to be aware of what is in the present for you and take pleasure from that moment. This is something to strive for this puts you ahead everyday and this being grateful for the moment is how I manage to curb my impatience.
- The whole concept of this blog came to me last weekend when we were playing Malvina Major’s rest home. Our playing group “The Friday Club” had put together a wonderful repertoire of Movie music. Ranging from the 1930s up to 2012. The day was beautiful and sunny with flashes of rain so we were treated to a rainbow. This I photographed for my facebook blog Introduction.
- As I listened to all the different movie themes I had an enjoyable nostalgic time thinking of all the different memories that each movie brought up to me. My Fair Lady, South Pacific reminded me of childhood times, watching these things with my parents. I played Harry Potter and also A Thousand Years from the Twilght Movie series. Click her for the recordings https://soundcloud.com/peter-feehan These made me think of the times I spent at movies with my children. It made me very grateful for enjoying the moment and also made me think of all the slow patient practice that had to take place to perform all this wonderful music. The concert was a great success and they were a most appreciative audience.
All these thoughts and the occasion had brought back something my mother had said to me when I was a boy. I had been wishing Christmas forward because I had wanted to get at those toys hidden under the bed (that I was not supposed to know about). I had said “I wish Christmas was here” and she said “be careful not to wish your life away”
- So true! After all if I really want to get ahead why not just move into Malvina Major’s now. Beat the lot of you! Sure I want to play as brilliantly as I can but without the actual struggle to get there it is not going to be satisfying and this particular performance was very satisfying. So the solution here really is to be patient and enjoy the journey. Know that if you are struggling with something then your practice is probably worthwhile. I use these thoughts to keep me at it and they really help.