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Blog 61 Opurtunities, The one that got away.)



March 17, 2016

What an awesome time of year we have just been through. A year has been completed, good or bad it is complete. There is a sense in that alone that is satisfying. We take a well-deserved moment to spend time celebrating, holidaying and most importantly spend time on our loved ones. The stress of the year starts to dissipate and we even get a chance to think about the year that has just been. Seeing it in a more favourable light.
The summer this year was beautiful. I was lucky enough to have some holiday time in Auckland with my brother and as I sat on his deck enjoying the great view I relaxed and started to experience that excitement that is born out of the hope of the new. This is of course where all the new year’s resolutions come from. Sometimes a little overly optimistic and possibly even fuelled by an overconsumption of the Christmas spirit, but they are in lots or respects positive. I think the best ones are attitude shifts or desires to be creative.

In some ways this is just simple goal setting. I want to lose weight, write a book and exercise more. Perhaps the freshness from being rested helps us to think of things that we would love to do like take up sport or learn an instrument like piano. Regardless of the goals they all share common requirements to make them a reality. Regular commitment from self being one of the bigger requirements.

If you want to lose weight for instance or as I am putting it improve my overall health. You must be committed to regular exercise otherwise it is just a pipe dream. Flash diets, trips to the doctor or gym memberships are just a starting point. Expensive exercise toys like bikes or home work out tools will achieve nothing if you simply don’t use them. The real ground breaking action is in the attitude that commits to regular exercise. The decision to listen to the advice of the expert and take some real action. Then you will start to achieve your goals.
The decision to study and learn any skill does not really take place when you buy the books or enrol in a course of study. It takes place in the doing. The reading of the books, the regular attendance of lectures and other learning opportunities and of course the commitment to doing the work. The need to work at your skills regularly is inescapable. It exists within all our endeavours even gaming. Why do we get so good at computer games? Because we play them regularly.
Therefore, the age old advice of the piano teacher is still good.
Regular practice and regular lessons are the keys to being a good musician.
I use to attend lesson with Mrs Ariadne Danilow both as a college boy and then later as an adult after I returned from Melbourne. She would say “there was no such thing as talent”. “It all just comes down to hard work”. As a young guy I was disappointed by this statement. I believed I had talent, but I sure as didn’t work hard enough.
As an adult however I understood her more. The talent is really in taking joy in the hard regular work. Without the constant desire to grow learn and do the music the potential of the musician will not be achieved. It is “the workers” as Mrs D would say. That really achieve.
This is so regardless of music genre or even of occupation.

The tools that are available to us through technology and the internet are often put forward as a replacement to hard work. The just push a few buttons and your away approach. Or the it’s easy I can play piano in 7 weeks and no lessons. Well….. In reality, It’s not really fair to blame technology or the internet, there have always been schemes around like this. I have heard players who have this kind of lazy arse approach to their music and simply wished I had not taken the time to listen to them. They have a lack of awareness of how they really sound and as they believe they do not need a teacher they will not receive any input on how to really listen to their own playing. If they are unfortunate enough to play in public this may change. Audiences are an awesome thing if they like you, but their opinion is based on your performance. They hear very quickly if you are truly any good or not and if you are in a venue that involves alcohol….. well I think you will see where I am leading with this. It can be a very unpleasant way for a player to find out they are not sounding as good as they thought they were.
Ask yourself. Have you ever been inspired by a musician who learnt through a do it overnight course? I think you will find the answer is no. Good musicians learn and work at their craft all the time. So if you are being offered a short cut or someone is trying to tell you it is easy treat it with a great deal of skepticism and then move on to doing some real work at your music

Net tools and technology are wonderful but do not replace hard work.
If you think that it so, you will be passed by the natural competition of human beings never sounding as good as those who do choose to work. Technology has made so much more available to the average musician. I can now record my piano with ease and place them on the internet for others to listen to. No studio fees and no record company to deal with. This type of technology is now available to almost every musician. So I believe our big point of difference or competitive edge are in how we work at our craft. From observing my students, it is always the workers that get the results they want. For myself, regular practice at my repertoire is what has led to the good performances and the successful recordings for my soundcloud.
So this is my advice for anyone who would truly wish to be a musician. Work at your music regularly and get a good teacher who will listen objectively. Avoid any method that says it is easy, if it was we could all sound like Bruno Mars next week.
Always, I believe, success requires regular effort to achieve and regular effort to maintain.

Bye 4 now

Peter