Saturday, September 14, 2013

Comparisons Are Dangerous

  Anytime I start learning something new, my first thought going into it is, "maybe I'll be a natural at this!" I don't know if that's setting myself up for failure or not. I like to be optimistic, but it might be smarter to go into something expecting to not be great at it and then discover I'm better at it than anticipated. Regardless, that's not how my brain works. Thus far I've yet to be magically amazing at anything from the get-go, but there's always hope for the next thing I learn. I just hope I don't end up being a knitting prodigy or something. That would be sort of a bummer.

  A friend of mine who knows I recently started learning piano sent me a link to a video of a this 5 year-old piano wiz which I fired up so I could see what an actual prodigy looks like. My initial reaction was to throw my hands in the air and shout, "I give up!" That is probably how people feel who've told me they watched that show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" and found themselves lacking. I always thought it was strange people would get depressed by that, though I might feel the same if I'd ever seen the show, who knows. But young minds are made to soak up knowledge. Plus when's the last time you really needed to know the electron configuration of zinc?
  Young, sponge-like mind or no, this kid is clearly a natural and has a gift. Initially frustrated, I allowed myself to be inspired rather than daunted and decided to try and tackle a new song. Then I became daunted when the song said, "nope, you will not learn me for I am far too complex". I've been riding up on my high horse the last few weeks because I've felt my progress has been going really well so it didn't occur to me that something might be beyond my current abilities. This took the legs right out from under aforementioned high-horse:

It doesn't seems so bad now, but in front of me at the piano, it looked like Greek.

  My hands aren't quite ready to do lots of rapidly changing individual notes with both hands yet. Chords with both hands? Fine. Sustained chords with one hand and notes with the other? Okay. But not this. It appears this is the next mountain I need to climb. And it seems a lot higher than the staccato mountain I recently overcame.

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