Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chopin Challenge

One thing that I truly love is playing the piano. It's been therapy for me since I was young. My mom once said that she could always tell when I had been through the wringer, I wouldn't talk, I would just go and sit at the piano and play for as long as it took to regain peace of mind. Recently, I have again found solace in playing. A couple months ago, I started teaching a grade eight piano student. I was feeling very challenged to teach at that level. I decided to break out my old classical books and start playing again. It has been wonderful. Not only do I get to play beautiful music, I feel like I have something to offer my student as well. Playing myself seems to sharpen my awareness when it comes to teaching.

One of the pieces that I've been in love with for a long time is called Prelude in D Flat by Frederic Chopin. The piece also has a nickname, Raindrop. If you've ever heard the song, the raindrop is undeniable. It is one note played throughout almost the entire song. It's beautiful and haunting. I always thought that somehow this piece was beyond my reach, way too difficult for me to learn. Well, let's just say, I've tackled it! It feels so amazing to sit and play this song in my house, filling the rooms with raindrops. I didn't take on this challenge for anyone but myself, to prove that I can do it. I have it in me to work hard at something and see it through to the end. Practicing takes work and discipline. Two things that I seem to need right now. 

I've been thinking a lot about practicing and how it's something we should never stop doing. Whatever you're into, there will never be a point when you have arrived and have nothing left to learn. The old adage that practice makes perfect has a flaw...perfection says that you have achieved the ultimate and you can quit. I don't buy this for a second because I know that I will always have something to work on in terms of technique and repertoire. I think about the time when  eventually I will be asking my own kids to practice the piano or the guitar or free throws or whatever. I need them to have an example of what that looks like. If they have never seen me practice anything, where is the credibility in what I am asking them to do? So, turn off the TV. Pick up your paint brush, your cello, your badminton racket, or your soccer ball and practice. Make dates with the important people in your life and practice relationship. Love is a skill that will never be perfected. Don't ever quit.


  1. So good, Lisa! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It's been so much fun taking lessons from you... a good opportunity for me to keep practicing :)


  2. Katie,
    You are one of the reasons for this post! I truly have enjoyed teaching you....never quit practicing!!! Hugs!