I was a Victim of piano lessons

As a music student, I didn't take risks.

I saw myself as having to defend territory. It was my job to avoid mistakes, so that I didn't get blamed.

I looked to the teacher to give me a stamp of approval.

I wasn't a Creator. If I were a Creator, I wouldn't have avoided mistakes. I would have let myself get blamed, because taking risks in music has a huge payoff.

If I were a Creator, I wouldn't have looked to the teacher to give me approval. I would have looked to the teacher for help when I had a problem, but I would have given myself approval when approval was needed. This would have enabled me to accept or reject a teacher's advice based solely on how useful the advice was.

As a student in piano lessons, I would play a piece of music, then stop and wait for the teacher's judgment.

While playing, I could barely focus on the music. I was so preoccupied with what the teacher must be thinking.

This went on for years.

Then, something weird happened during the dress rehearsal for my master's degree recital.

My teacher was in the audience. Normally, I would have been thinking constantly about her judgment, but that day I was tired, and wasn't in the mood to play so cautiously.

Instead of “play the piece the way it's supposed to go”, the thought came into my head: “play the piece the way you would want to hear it.”

That changed everything. Suddenly, it was like I was the only one who mattered. I was free to take risks, because hey, it was only me who got to say how I would want to hear it.

Seeking the teacher's approval is a form of Victim mentality. It is viewing the teacher as a Rescuer, rather than as a Coach.

It is viewing your own (lazy/careless/underachieving) self as a Persecutor.

It's much more fun to play the piano as a Creator than as a Victim.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *