Becoming a Pianist?

Four surprising truths...

By the end of this article, you will have come to realise and accept a few truths that you may never have previously considered.  That is not to say that they are outlandish  or bizarre; simply a new, unique way of seeing yourself which brings with it nothing but benefits and positivity.

It is such a common idea that one 'begins' and  'progresses' in pianism, yet nobody ever speaks of an 'ending'.  Why is that?  Surely if teachers and books 'start' and help in 'progress', there absolutely must be a final book which says "Congratulations! You are now a Pianist!" - and then you go and become some other kind of instrumentalist, until...? 

This is the first truth:  Although it is common to believe there is a beginning and that progress is being made, there is no end; this automatically implies that there is no beginning or process, either.

(Consider my new eBook: Water Pianism)

The result is that You are never to become a 'Pianist' because the term in the traditional sense does not, in fact, refer to any one kind of person or ability.  Have you ever considered at what point one may 'become' a Pianist?  Is it on reaching your 18th birthday?  Knowing 100 songs?  Having played for 10 years?  Acquiring 1,000 hours of instruction?

Indeed not.  So, understand that labelling yourself, or others, as a Pianist, with a capital P, is simply an irrelevant, ego-based notion that only creates imaginary obstacles and gives you the incorrect feeling of going up-hill towards a limit which, as you will discover, does not exist.  What you are, in fact, is You; a You who simply wishes to self-express using the tool of the piano; a lower-case 'p' pianist who has decided one day to use this empty, lifeless box as a blank canvas.

I am reminded of an excellent teaching:  When you reach the top of a mountain, keep climbing.  Think about this within the context of the article.

The second truth:  There is no one age beyond which it is too late to start playing the piano.  Why should there be?  Since we now understand that the word 'Pianist' does not refer to a single, pure, incomparable state of being, each and every individual need simply enjoy playing the piano and continue heading towards whatever their sense of the word 'better' is.

In other words, the moment you decide to play the piano and have an ideal in mind, no matter your experience, you are now a pianist, and good for You!  A great freedom to experience, unbound by the chains of tradition and unattached to unnecessary expectations.

The third truth:  Even without your piano, you are still a pianist, much in the same way a writer is still a writer without a pen and an artist without a brush.  Pianos, pens, brushes - simply tools to express what is already within using skills acquired enjoyably, patiently and as and when they are required to complement Your journey.

Being a pianist is 90% about the mind and 10% about the fingers on the piano (1% for each finger).  If you have an idea for a story in your mind but no notebook or pen, do you want to forget the story and give up?  Surely not.  You would play the story over and over, thinking about what could happen next; creating a macro-environment in your mind with associated colours, emotions and character personalities until the time comes for you to finally write it down.

The same goes for a pianist:  your internal piano can be used to master your twelve major scales, visualise chord shapes and memorise melodies if you only have the score available.  You see, what happens in your mind when at the piano is exactly the same as when you're not at the piano; this is a secret of which so many are unaware so they believe that improvement and betterment can only take place at the piano and nowhere else.

This is, as you now see, completely incorrect.

The fourth and final truth is simply that You are already the pianist you think you want to become and once again I would like to express this by way of a teaching:

Every day, a young boy would walk past a sculptor's workshop on his way to and from school.  One morning, he noticed a big block of stone on a table about two metres high.  During the next week, the sculptor chiseled very happily at this stone block until one day, the boy decided to introduce himself.

"What is that stone block going to be?" he asked inquisitively.  The sculptor smiled and replied in a grand voice, "It is already a sculptor of myself!"  The boy looked at the stone and looked at the man and said, "But it looks nothing like you!"  The sculptor laughed harder and responded, "Return in two weeks!"

Days and days passed until finally the young boy entered and saw that the stone block had been made to look exactly like its creator.  "Wow", said the boy, "How did you know you were in there?"

The sculptor roared with laughter this time and said, "Even you are in a block of stone!"  The boy raised an eyebrow and asked the man to explain what he meant.  "Well", he began with a chuckle, "Everybody already is that which they believe they must become.  It was only through the joyful repetition of my constant dedication that I am now able to show myself to the world having removed the seemingly impenetrable outer layers which were restricting my every move!"

Now re-read the opening image of this post and see if you read it in a different way.  Your pianist is in there somewhere, no matter what You or others say.

Happy chiseling!

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