March 25, 2021

Doing anything well is hard

(cross posted from HEY World)

Yeah I know, the title of this post is obvious, or it should be. The thing is, when you see someone who is really good at something they make it look easy, and the hours and years of training they went through never enter your mind.

I’m learning how to play piano and it is hard, like really, really hard. I’m learning Invention #10” from J.S. Bach. I plunk through, over and over again, every time getting just the slightest bit better but it’s a slog.

If you haven’t heard of the Inventions they were a series of pieces that Bach wrote, along with the Sinfonias, as exercises for his students. The Inventions in particular are good exercises for learning to play 2 musical lines independently (as always Wikipedia has a good write-up here). As such, when I ran across Simone Dinnerstein playing #10 it killed my enthusiasm.

I’m being a bit hyperbolic because of course Simone has been playing forever and studied at Juilliard. But this is a piece that I am struggling with as a beginning player and she makes it seem so easy; it can be a bit disheartening. That gets back to the title of this piece.

Piano is hard. I know this. Playing piano well is even harder. I’m going to have to put in the work to get good at it. I’m old enough that I won’t ever be as good as Simone Dinnerstein but that’s OK. Part of what I need to remind myself of is that I should also be enjoying this. It should be a lifetime lesson that I enjoy and use to unwind from the realities of life. So here is to putting in the work and enjoying it!


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