Let’s ask ourselves a question: When a baseball player is up at the plate, are they trying to keep their eye on the ball, or are they trying to get a hit?
There are similar situations in all sports, and if you’ve ever played baseball, you know this scenario very well. Batters will often strike out because they’re trying to “swing for the fences.” In other words, their desire to hit a home run over the fence is so great that they use all their might to hit it as far as they can. But in the process, they forget the basic fundamentals; they don’t look at the ball and end up missing it completely.
They sabotage themselves.
So to revisit our question, “When a baseball player is up at the plate, are they trying to keep their eye on the ball, or are they trying to get a hit?” The answer is: A little bit of both. They need to tap into their emotional desire to get a hit, while at the same time being aware of the technical demands of watching the ball carefully and swinging the bat in a fluid, level manner. The problem is that players often go too far in one direction or the other. Then they either hit the ball without any force, or miss it completely.
Playing the piano is like this too, and we can benefit in huge ways by studying this when we practice or play in public.
We all go through periods when we sabotage our own piano playing. By worrying too much what others think, or by trying so much to be 100% accurate that we play with no emotion.
Try to find the right balance. Yes, you want to sound good. But even more than that, I’ll bet that you want to enjoy yourself at the piano.
Enjoy the journey, and "let the music flow!"