Thursday, August 23, 2012

Preparing for the "Piano Olympics"

As we begin a new school year, I want to encourage my piano students with this note.

Train like an athlete.

Many of you probably enjoyed watching the London 2012 Summer Olympics. I know I did.

As I watched I was reminded that athletes and musicians have a lot in common when it comes to TRAINING and PRACTICE. If you’re going to get good at something—and I mean REALLY good at something—it takes hard work and discipline.

Those Olympic athletes practiced with a goal in mind: they wanted to make the Olympic team. They worked their bodies and their minds over and over and over again. As spectators we often see just the final results: the 3-second dive into the pool, the 40-second sprint to the finish, the 30-second lap in the pool, the 10-second vault into the air. We often don't see the YEARS of preparation that went into that final competition. It takes TRAINING. It takes preparation.

Now we really don’t have “Piano Olympics.” But there are times when you will be called upon to perform what you have practiced. We are headed for our Olympic-themed spring recital this year, and we are going to train and prepare for that, just as if we were getting ready for an Olympic sport. I’ll be your coach. I’ll help you train. But you have to be ready to WORK.

I have heard many times, “I played it perfectly at home. What happened?” Many times it’s due to lack of mental preparation. This year we are going to focus on playing with distractions: what happens when the nerves hit, what happens when my music falls down, what happens when I can’t remember where middle C is?

We’ll work at it. We’ll get better. We’re preparing for the “Piano Olympics.” Are you ready?


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