Are you continually striving to be better?
There are a number of ways we could view this – healthy or unhealthy.
If though, it becomes chronic and robs you of enjoyment of doing the work or the activity, would you say it has become unhealthy? There is a place for striving.
For someone who is establishing their skill as a Musician, the striving aspect of it has to be managed as much as someone with well established skill and identity as a Musician.
Recently I was surprised to discover that continually striving had become unhealthy for me.
When my teacher mentor Deren Eryilmaz of Taubman Approach in Europe
talked about the eastern view as opposed to the western view of practise, a lightbulb went on for me.
I had been striving and driving myself (in my mind) and no wonder I wasn’t gravitating to the piano like I used to. My piano had become like the girl in the high school playground who I avoided and felt guilty about doing that.
Be where you are.
Coming from the solid place of someone who is well established musically, Deren said, you can now take the position of simply being where you are. Now. Stop the continual striving for more or better or different. Enjoy the skill you have. Play what speaks to you. If it’s the Scarlatti Fminor Sonata that intrigues you at the moment, then play it and get to know it, make friends with it, love it, enjoy it, explore it. This was a lightbulb moment for me! Of course! So I have been playing what I am drawn to and happily playing (notice playing not practising) each weekday morning first thing. The feeling of joy and satisfaction and fulfillment and being deeply nourished keeps me going and sustains me.
If you are someone who is in the early years of their musician journey, you are establishing your skill and knowledge. There are a lot of things you are learning. The way to ‘be where you are’ is to accept where you are right now, knowing that you will grow in understanding more and more as you go along. Wherever you are, is wherever you are and it’s a rich place. There is no point berating yourself that you left it too late to begin or regret that you let something go and now you have to regain it or having expectations worthy of a perfectionist.
When you occupy where you are, and accept where you are, and seek to understand where you are, exploration and discovery and your curiosity will evolve your playing. Your skills will progress naturally.
Wherever you are, is wherever you are, and it’s a rich place full of potential exploration and discovery.
I am here to help.
I am happy to help.
Pamela Jordan is a Music Teacher Mentor and Transformative Coach in Seaforth, Sydney, Australia.
She offers coaching via Zoom as well as in Studio.
Book a free discovery call here