Piano Music, Perfectionism, and Self-Expression

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Is your heart in the music? If so, it won't matter what you play so much as what is received through your playing. Do you still think you need to learn 43 chords to sound good or are you concerned with the joy of expressing yourself through this wonderful instrument called the piano? People who sound like they know what they are doing may indeed know what they are doing but does that mean you want to listen to the music?

Let's look at pop music for example. Here is a music that is produced so tightly and carefully that nothing is left to chance. Not a crackle or hiss, not one static spot on the entire 3 to 4 minutes of the track. Yet after a few listens or even after a single listen, the mind may grow disinterested.

It's like a sporting event - exciting and enthralling while you are there but once over let down and perhaps even a little depressed. Now most (but not all) pop music is like that. It gets you hooked up for a few minutes, gives you a feeling, usually of excitement, then its gone. New age music on the other hand is a more sincere and heartfelt expression, and as such, mistakes are allowed.

Id like to share something with you. When I recorded both "La Jolla Suite" and "Anza-Borrego Desert Suite" I made mistakes. "La Jolla Suite" was recorded live so I couldn't help that, but the Desert Suite was done in one take. I wasn't so concerned with the production value as the emotion I felt at the time I was playing. I could have gone back and redone the tracks I didn't like so much but then I could have gotten stuck in a perfectionist's rut.

No, I decided that a "wrong" note here and there wouldn't kill what was heard and might even make it sound more authentic. So if you hear a mistake it may sound like I don't know what I'm doing. Perhaps not. But that doesn't concern me. What concerns me is one thing and one thing only - am I present at the piano. Am I there in spirit as well as body? If so, I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at for a FREE piano lesson!

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