Want to make sure you play piano badly? It’s easy: focus exclusively on pleasing your your listeners.
The more we try to please others with our playing, the worse we play.
I’m speaking about when we take the short-view about pleasing others, not the long view. The short -view says, “I hope they like this.” The long-view says, “If I focus on pleasing myself with my music right now, there’s a good chance that I’ll play my best and anyone listening will enjoy it too.”
The key when performing is to please yourself, in the context of
whatever situation you’re in at the time.
This means that when you’re in a piano lesson, you try to play your piece like your teacher suggests, but you don’t obsess whether they like it or not as your in the act of playing. You enjoy trying what they ask.
This means that when you’re performing in public, you lose yourself in the music, so your audience does too.
This means that when you’re playing for a ballet class, you focus on locking into the correct tempo for the dancers, and merge with their movement instead of obsessing about “how well am I playing?”
This means that when you’re playing in a jazz group, you let your piano playing become part of the overall sound, instead of wondering what the other musicians think about you as a musician.
I’ll say it one more time: The more we try to please others with our playing, the worse we play.
Try this out in actual practice, many times, until you experience it for yourself!
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