What your strict piano teacher might be missing

A strict piano teacher who demands perfection might be missing a key opportunity to develop freedom and ability in his or her students.


 

All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. — J.S. Bach

We all know that you’re supposed to play classical music right. After all, there are just so many things to get wrong, aren’t there? Wrong notes, wrong rhythms, wrong dynamics, wrong phrasing, wrong articulation, wrong attitude.

However, what if there were no way to do it wrong? Are there benefits to getting rid of the concept of “wrong”? Even just for a bit?

Yes, you would be lying to yourself (everyone knows there’s a right and wrong, right?). Of course, you would be disrespecting your teacher, the composer, and the great art of music. Certainly, you would disappoint your audience and embarrass yourself. Without a doubt, you might never make any progress whatsoever, and you might even go backwards. If you’re in school, you might fail. If you’re working, you might get fired. You might get a nasty look from the conductor.

Let’s not argue with any of that.

Now, I don’t mean to take this lightly (well, part of me does). But my question is only: are there any benefits to doing it wrong?

For instance, would it be more fun? How about freer? More personal? Maybe it would it hurt less? Or, would it let you give up the strictness of trying to get it right? Once that stress is gone, would you be more relaxed, more observant, more willing to take risks?

Even just for a moment?

It’s only a question.

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