The Trinity: Mind, Soul and Piano

_schimmel1One of the most amazing aspects of piano-playing is how well it can unify our minds, our bodies, and maybe even our souls!
Unlike nearly any other hobby a person can take up, learning music -and especially piano- is a true “all body” experience.  It uses both sides of the brain, as well as both sides of the body.  Right- and left-hands are treated nearly equally, while mental processing of music requires effort from many brain regions at once.
This is undoubtedly one of the reasons piano is seen as such a fulfilling or even spiritually-uplifting exercise.
There are few other activities one can engage in that can so perfectly unify their entire self.
Playing Piano For Fun And Personal Growth
It’s easy to talk about best practices in piano teaching as though there’s a “right way” and a “wrong way” to play piano, but really, there’s not.  If you’re making music you enjoy and expanding your mind as you do so, you’re already doing it right… no matter what music you play, or what style you have.
1 – Don’t self-criticize.
You’re not playing it wrong.  Ever.  At worst, you’re simply learning and learning is always a process of getting slowly better.  Even an absolute beginner is doing the best they can, and should keep that in mind.
Never ‘beat yourself up’ over being unable to play a piece.  Keep at it, and one day you will.
2 – Take plenty of improv time.
A piano isn’t a mechanical master demanding you only play the Great Works by the Great Masters.  Some of the most productive practice time spent at a piano comes from simply noodling.  Make funny sounds.  Try out different chords.  Play with jazzy little finger runs.
This is how the great pianists develop their own musical voice.  It doesn’t come from simply playing sheet music as written!
3 – Let the music flow.atlanta-piano-movers2
If you find yourself suddenly inspired, with a theme or chord progression coming into your head and hands… run with it!  See where it goes.  Shut down that internal censor saying it’s not good enough, and just let the music flow through your hands.
Often, the greatest of piano-playing experiences are when you truly forget yourself and allow your hands to channel the music.
4 – Keep musical notes.
No learner is too green to start thinking in terms of composition.   Keep some blank scoring paper around, and jot down musical ideas you have.  As your skills grow, this notebook will have seeds you could grointo fully-fledged pieces.
The single most important element in learning piano is having fun.  Do that, and you’ll quickly see how well piano-playing can unify the mind, body, and soul.

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