Don’t be perfect, be great!

Earlier this week, a 13-year old piano student of mine handed me a nice, handmade note card. It said “Thanks for being such a wonderful teacher!” It was a nice gesture, of course, but something else about the note made me smile. It’s hard to describe, but the handwriting was “alive” and I could imagine the smile the girl must have had as she wrote it. It made me feel happy.

Now here’s the interesting thing. When I thanked her for the card, she shook her head and apologized, saying “Oh, I’m sorry. I wrote it in a hurry and my handwriting is sloppy. I wish I had done better!”

Well, as the saying goes, “What’s up with that?” She had given me a wonderful card, but since it wasn’t “perfect” according to what she thinks it should be, she didn’t feel good about the card.

Something’s wrong here. The card might not have been “perfect” in a technical sense, but it was actually much better. It accomplished its goals of looking great and uplifting me.

Are you like this with your piano playing? Do you sacrifice spirit in the quest for a “perfect” performance? Do you apologize after playing wonderful music? (Most piano students do, BTW.)

Don’t be perfect, be great!

Take your left hand playing to a new level with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You’ll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration

Leave a Comment

Sign up for Blog Updates