I Am Not the Best Pianist in the World
If you’ve had a chance to take one of my online piano lessons or watch a video of me playing piano, you already know this fact – I’m not a great piano player.
And, I’ll probably never be a great piano player. It doesn’t bother me.
Why? Because in order to become great, you have to give it your all. And when I say your all, I mean exactly that. I mean spending a minimum of 6-8 hours a day practicing and practicing and getting ready for performance.
This vigorous routine is usually reserved for the classical pianist who wants a career as a performer.
The idea is to get so good at playing that expression and interpretation become priority. And there it ends. For while this pianist can play other people’s music extremely well, the odds are good that this same piano player, who’s practiced for thousands of hours, won’t be able to just sit down and play something original. Something not created by others.
And that dear friend is sad. Because while there’s no denying the music of Bach, Beethoven, etc is ‘good’ music, it makes me wonder why anyone would devote literally their entire life recreating it.
I’m not the best pianist in the world. But I can sit down at a piano and reach for a chord that calls to me. The dance then begins as melody, harmony, and rhythm come to life -right before me. Music flows forth and heart and mind become unified – instantly. What a gift to be able to do this!
I can’t play a Bach prelude or Chopin etude. But I can be myself at the piano and experience an intimacy that always leaves me feeling rejuvenated – like a cool breeze does on a hot summer day.
I don’t spend countless hours practicing either. No need to. I’m not entering a competition or preparing for a recital. My interest lies firmly with experience and experience alone. What I’m after is connection and release, mystery and the satisfaction that always comes when I allow the music to ‘play me.’ I let go of the need to create something good, something perfect, or something masterful. Instead, I focus on and enjoy the process and, forever how long it lasts, I am free.
Isn’t this ‘being at the piano’ worthy of respect? Is not the ability to do this priceless? I think so and have devoted myself to getting others to ‘have a go’ at it. Because once students taste the freedom of improvisation and free play, it’s as if a wellspring has been opened inside them. They finally have discovered what’s been missing all those years, namely the ability to play what one feels.