We recently held a Studio 237 Music recital. Students prepare months in advance for their moment of performing on a stage for family and friends. We are proud of them and their performances. Each student puts forth great effort to walk up to the stage, present themselves, and play their best. I want that day to be perfect for the students and families, and yet, “life is not perfect.” It takes work and time to refine.
Several weeks ago, one of my younger students sat on the piano bench and with a downtrodden discouraged look on her face said, “It’s not perfect, so I will not play today.” I decided to pause a moment and let her statement “sink in”. Silence is golden and I am gathering my thoughts. After all, this is a piano lesson. My goal is to help the student overcome what is challenging her learning progress.
I then said, “Mistakes are how we learn.” and paused. “Without mistakes, we will never achieve perfection.” Sometimes, students paralyze their progress or block new experiences simply because they have detected one blemishing “imperfection”. If it is an all or nothing world out there, many choose nothing. Educators spend much thought, time, and study learning how to develop a student’s self-motivation to learn. I would rather have a student reach for perfection with a safety net understanding that mistakes are a natural part of their learning. In other words, “It’s ok to make mistakes, now let’s fix some of them.”
She looked down at the piano keys, rather distraught. I then said, “There is a way to get rid of mistakes.” Her face lightened up. “We break the mistake down into small pieces, find the real problem area, and fix it. Then play it 5 times in a row perfectly.” We took it one hand at a time, I played the other hand along with her. Then began the refining process and I tallied up her 5 perfect plays. Before she knew it, she played well through the entire song. Her mountain had been conquered! She was rightfully proud because she had taken an imperfection and permanently made it perfect. Break through!
I then said, “Mistakes are important. They help us play (become) better. We can learn from our mistakes.” It was a real “a-ha” moment for myself too.
All the above words reveal the process that a student goes through before they walk up onto a stage and play their hearts out before an audience or judge. When you hear that amazing song played with control, feeling, and technique, see the expression of confidence and focus on their face, watch their hands craftly dance over the keys, as you totally enjoy even up to their last note played, and then see their broad smile as they bow. Now you know, the story behind perfection is mistakes.
Studio 237 Music Lessons is in Santa Rosa Beach. Our staff teach: guitar, piano, drums, voice, ukulele, and more. Call (850) 231-3199 to schedule a visit or lessons. www.Studio237Music.com.