Right before my flight to Mexico, I played beach volleyball because I couldn’t resist: Vancouver’s first non-rainy day in ages.
I come home unable to bend my foot, like it’s a giant lego foot. I am becoming sort of an eccentric travel figure suffocating under the weight of everyone’s opinion. Everyone thinks I should’ve gone to a resort in Cancun.
But there is something magical about experiencing a way of life that is so different from mine. If I incorporate some good into my life from each of my travels, then I’d get a bit wiser by the end of it all.
That’s how I found myself at my first dinner in Tulum, sitting on a stump of wood, eating the best veggie burger I’ve had in my life while barefoot reggae musicians in hip-length dreads set up their drums and guitar and mic and start singing lilting Spanish tunes.
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Please don’t tell me I’m strong. I can’t believe it when dishes are cluttering up the sink, clothes are strewn around my room, 30 urgent emails go unanswered, and I’m not talking to one of my best friends.
I can’t help dwelling on that one negative comment even when there are a hundred positive ones on my blog.
I tend to focus on the psychology of practicing piano efficiently on Artiden.
But it doesn’t matter how many psychology tactics you’re solidifying bad habits and hurting your body in the long run.
Readers often ask about how to play more efficiently, the correct posture, and how to be a better piano teacher.
When I taught piano at public schools, the beginner pianists all made similar mistakes— you can tell how much music experience a student has from these three factors alone.
If you want to play beautiful piano music, remember that professional pianists sound good because they’ve set a solid foundation. If you are a teacher, you’ll see how I might explain the concepts to a student– perhaps this will help your teaching.
Take a look at the video below to see the 3 biggest mistakes that beginner pianists make!
“Don’t let the simple music mistakes hold you back.” (Click here to tweet this.)
Watch out for:
1. Tension in the wrists. If your hand looks like a claw, you probably sound that way, too.
2. Nails. The piano sounds great on its own without the clicking nail rhythm.
3. Distance from piano and posture. My favourite way to measure the correct distance to sit from the piano is to have the pianist hold a fist out in front with a straight arm. In general, that is a natural distance to sit, and allows room for arm movement but not awkward leaning.
What is your biggest weakness in music? How are you working on it? Leave a comment to join the conversation below!
Do you believe in Steinways– legendary hand-made pianos?
Whatever type of instrument you love, there’s a way to make music so that people want to listen.
This summer, I am taking intensive ballet classes. During a break, I step into a Tom Lee music store in downtown Vancouver. I ask the saleslady to tell me about the grand pianos–because, why not?
She sits me at seven grand pianos where I play the same Un Sospiro phrase. None of these sounds repulse me anymore— although some are more favourable, nothing feels perfect.
“Come,” she says. “I want to show you the Steinway room.”
Outside, spotlights shine in the main showroom and my ballet bodysuit-shorts combo feels chilly. Inside, the Steinway room is saturated with spotlight-light.
At the first piano, a Boston, two of the keys are a smidge out of tune and most of them feel sticky with something that is, the saleslady suggests, ice cream.
Some of the pianos sound alright. I love white grand pianos, although it’s a rule that white grand pianos in display rooms sound weak.
The Steinway with the touch I like best is a wood-finished concert grand that costs 1/3rd of a small Vancouver condo. I’d rather have the condo, but this reminds me of a study I read last year.
Many people ask about starting a business, in particular, how to teach music.
In January, I met a girl who was building her business and I thought we’d cheer each other on as buddies, because my first rule to excelling in some area is finding a friend in the same space.
I shared my favourite tools and strategies with her. “Friends share their best stuff,” I thought. But every time I asked her opinion, she introduced me to her consulting service.
A few weeks ago, she emailed me:
I’m sorry but I can’t continue with our chats. I don’t have the time to check in every couple of weeks.
Best of luck with everything in your business.
How do people find best friends to grow with?
I don’t have a buddy but I’ve shaken the system up for building a business–here it is.
How to build a community of learners
All my businesses have been based on learning, with a community involved. This is no exception. I thought I’d be running design strategy consulting sessions all summer long, but it has grown beyond that.
Here’s the strategy I ran with this time:
It might sound counter-intuitive, but I encourage people to practice less and then stop practicing— because it helps.
Maybe you’ve tried and gradually faded off practicing your music. Family, friends, things get in the way.
I spent 8 hours practicing the way to park a car perfectly (yes, you read that right– I don’t have a license yet), and fully realized something that many people, including myself, often miss when trying to master a skill.
When would focussing on quantity (not quality), help us improve more?
We should find ways to colour our lives in positive tones.
You probably remember a friend who cannot stop whining about their “sucky” situation; don’t get me wrong– I catch myself whining once in a while– but it won’t do to get carried away.
If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or spreading negative messages, don’t forget to take a deep pause.
Is this negativity necessary? Can we shape it into something more positive?
We all move through slower moments, but the point is that we move through, however we slowly chug along. I’m still learning to drive, and thankfully, improving each time.
Let’s try to get positive. Click here to get 7 songs that will make you feel good, using psychology principles. Some of these are nice, upbeat piano solos that will brighten your day.