What My Broken Fridge Taught Me About Music Practice

What My Broken Fridge Taught Me About PianoI’m getting a new fridge because my old one started leaking.

What do my broken fridge and piano practice have in common? Let me explain.

We push the fridge out of the cabinet and I’m trying to disconnect the water line with a wrench. Am I supposed to twist the top or bottom part? I don’t know but I try both and neither work.

“Get me pliers!” I shout.

My sister hands me the needlenose pliers and for goodness’ sake even I know that’s not what needlenose pliers are for.

So I’m using a wrench to twist the nut–it fits around the nut but it won’t move at all, solid like if you tried to collapse a wall with your body.

Shit, I’m not strong enough.

I’ve seen my dad twist things and it looked so simple.

So I’m just standing around feeling bad about myself because the nut didn’t even wiggle a little.

Later, the handyman comes, and uses these large pliers that I’ve seen my dad use, to twist the nut. It comes loose in seconds.

Oh, I think to myself, I just needed the right pliers, not superhuman strength.

How many times have we been using a wrench to twist at problems when all we needed was the right pliers?


See, you know when you’re practicing piano, and at a certain point you don’t know whether you’re being productive because there doesn’t seem to be a difference from one practice session to another?


I used to practice piano by playing the piece over and over again, and wonder why nothing was changing–turns out, I just needed to play one bar of music (plus one extra beat, I call this chunking) ten times, not 500 bars twice.

Final plot twist:

I was trying to disconnect the wrong end of the copper tubing–it was really a good thing it didn’t work, because it wasn’t supposed to.

Sometimes, if we relax a bit, the pieces start falling into place.

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