How many of you recall being told to practice or to practice more? How many of you have had conditions of practicing waved as an ultimatum in your face by either your teacher or parents or both? For the adults reading this blog, let me reinterpret these questions. How many of you have been asked whether you have done your job on the job by someone with a threatening voice? How many of you have supervisors hanging over your shoulders every time you start to work? How many of you are threatened by a supervisor on a daily basis? How many of you are required to go to a job evaluation meeting on a weekly basis to be told yet again to work harder or else? How motivated would you feel under this leadership? Would you like your job? Would you want to quit? What would it take to change your attitude towards your job?
Wow! Am I glad my Mom never told me to practice piano. I remember how my hackles raised though when on one occasion, one of my wonderful piano teachers wrote on a report card that more practice would be beneficial. Of course, he was right but to me that comment seemed unnecessary. In my mind, I was already practicing as much as I could in my busy teenage life. What eased the burn of that innocent statement was my Mom saying that she was proud of me; that when my parents had signed me up for lessons their only hope was that I would love making music because it was so beautiful. Mom often commented how they never imagined the outcome.
I am grateful for that memory as it set the foundation for my teaching career. As complex and challenging as learning can be, there has to be joy in the discovery process and as the teacher of a creative art, there must be time allotted to lots of experimentation. A full spectrum of emotion is welcomed in this rewarding process. That means tears, frustration, annoyance among many other emotions are part of the joyful process.
My challenge to all of you is to consider your attitude towards practicing. Attitudes are learned and therefore can be changed. One day a mother entered my studio expressing disbelief at the positive change in her child’s willingness to practice. With a beaming smile, her son interrupted her saying, “MAMMA,
I do not practice. I ONLY PLAY!” Apparently, some of us have the same attitude as the famous Wanda Landowska (1879-1959).
© Copyright 2014 by Heidi Peter. All rights reserved. Winnipeg, Canada. Contact me.