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Things I learned while practicing piano

May 18th 2020

I started learning piano almost three years ago at age of 26. According to norm that is very late. I got interested in piano and music more while reading Gödel, Escher, Bach. Next thing I know I walked into a tutor's office and asked him to teach me. I rented a piano from him and started practicing a lot. Following are few things I learned due to practicing piano which also affect other aspects of my life.

Rushing through is not same as going fast

In the beginning, my tutor called me せっかち a lot. It just means impatient in Japanese. I am pretty good at memorizing a piece of tune. Whenever the tune demanded higher tempo, I would panic and just press the keys faster. But that made the tune sound horrible. My tutor would almost yell at me every time. The interval between notes mattered a lot too. I realized I do same kind of thing sometimes while doing other things too. This was not a big revelation but still felt good to be reminded.

Spoken language is just another medium of communication

When I started going to the tutor, my Japanese skills were very limited. At the same time my tutor does not speak any English. So all our communication is in Japanese, except some musical terms. But he was still able to teach me well enough. Whatever he would say, he would demonstrate too. So the language did not matter much the first time he introduced me to a concept. I would co-relate the words to what he demonstrated and use them next time when we came across same concept. But the words did not really matter to me the first time. I started using the same technique at work too, I would use white board a lot while talking to non native English speakers. I wasn't afraid at all discussing with them anymore.

Some things can never be learned completely

My tutor has been practicing piano for 40 something years. He still says its a long way to go for him to learn every aspect of piano music. As a programmer I can always learn a technology in its entirety. Even though that technology is evolving, if I focus only on that technology, I can always keep up. But piano music seems different. I have heard same things about other skills too but experienced it for the first time.

These are just few of many things I have realized and can articulate in words. But I'm pretty sure there are more things I learned just because of practicing piano everyday.