Let the process flow

As pianists, we’re often in a hurry to learn something quickly. In a way, this tendency is understandable: we hear Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, or Tori Amos play something and we want to learn how to play that way too.

If we can quickly learn something new, that’s great! Go for it! But real artistic evolution takes time and involves a process.

Herbie Hancock didn’t start out playing like he did on “E.S.P.” It took him years to arrive there and he went through several stylistic changes along the way. Same with Billy Joel, who spent years playing in piano bars and even in a heavy metal band!

It’s a process of gradually expanding and not trying to do it all at once. Even the “E.S.P.” phase of Herbie with Miles Davis’ group was the product of a few years of hinting at it, but not knowing quite how to go.

In a sense, we’re all in a phase of “hinting at it, but not knowing quite how to go.”

When I’m talking about “Flow,” I’m often referring to playing the music itself. But the learning process has a flow too, as does the trajectory of our musical development.

Let the process flow. Enjoy the journey and each step along the way!


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