Going out of our comfort zones

The only way for us to truly grow as musicians is to go out of our comfort zones, at least occasionally.

Depending on what our individual comfort zone is, this can mean simply practicing a new type of music or it may mean going to the local nightclub and sitting in on a jam session.

Or, we might put on a recording and try to play along, without knowing the musical key or chord progression in advance.

But whatever it is, we need to sometimes go out of our comfort zones in order to become better pianists and well-rounded musicians. We also need to get over our fear of going out of our comfort zones.

This past year, I made two videos which took me way out of my comfort zone. Ironically (or perhaps not), the support was overwhelming in each case. They’re both unique, and among the best videos I’ve ever made.

The first is my piano improv “take” on the Beatles Revolution 9, which was more of a sound collage than an actual song. I improvised on the piano recordings that John Lennon had used as source material on the original, and also used avant garde pianistic techniques to evoke the sound effects on Lennon’s tape. Perhaps most boldly, for me, was the use of “Lennon white” and shadows on the video along with intoning the words “Number 9, Number 9” from time to time.

Here is it; the first full-length piano cover of Revolution 9 ever recorded:
Revolution 9

The second is my humorous plea for all of us pianists to lighten up a little and relax about playing wrong notes and making mistakes. This is the only video I’ve ever made where I wrote out the entire script ahead of time and planned every moment, down to the smallest detail. It was a lot of fun to make and the response has been very enthusiastic.

The Real difference between guitarists and piano players!

I’m sharing these with you to encourage you to go out of your own comfort zones and let the experience take your playing to the next level. And who knows, you may have a lot of fun in the process!

Good luck, and “let the music flow!”

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