My piano student’s incredible dream

Have you ever had a dream where you found yourself onstage or at a piano and didn’t know what to play? Or maybe you were acting in a play but didn’t know your lines?

A lot of musicians and actors have dreams like these, where you’re expected to perform but don’t know what to do.

Recently, one of my piano students, whom I teach on Skype, had a dream that added a delightful perspective to this scenario. Mike is classically trained and has spent the last year or so learning how to improvise. He can now play several Elton John songs really well, is learning a few jazz standards including “Autumn Leaves” and “Bye, Bye, Blackbird,” and can sit down at his keyboard and effortlessly spin out flowing melodies over the 12-bar Blues as well as his own chord progressions. He’s having fun and everyone who hears him play enjoys hearing his improvisations.

Well, I logged onto Skype for our lesson and Mike greeted me with a big smile. He said, “Before we begin, I have to tell you about my dream!”

Mike began by relating that he occasionally had the type of dream I described above. He’d find himself sitting at a piano before an expectant audience, and draw a complete “blank” because he didn’t have any sheet music and had no idea whatsoever what to play.

But this time, the dream was different.

He still found himself seated at a piano before an expectant audience. But this time, instead of freezing up, he stayed relaxed and said to himself, “Oh, this is easy… I can just improvise.”

And then he did it! He improvised in his dream!

Hearing things like this makes it all worthwhile. Not only is Mike enjoying playing the piano more than ever in “real life,” but this dream shows that being able to improvise takes the stress completely out of playing the piano. Even in dreams!!!

I wish you the very best with your piano playing as well as in all your musical activities. Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”


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