Monday, September 9, 2013
Practicing Mistakes = Creating Bad Habits
I have a lot of students who are so talented, but so lazy. Instead of correcting their mistakes, they just continue to play on and essentially make the same exact mistakes every. single. time. Ok, I admit I am not perfect, and sometimes I am also lazy. Sometimes I breeze through the mistakes saying to myself, "I'll correct it next time. I promise. Seriously I will!" Yeah, it's pretty weird the way I talk to myself.
I realized the other day a connection between making mistakes in music and making mistakes in day-to-day life. When you continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, that is when they become bad habits. First of all, music is learned by making mistakes. You can't become great at your instrument without struggling and messing up all the time. But when we get lazy about fixing the errors, they become permanent habits in our practice. Just like in life.
When I sit down at the piano each night, I usually make mistakes within the first few minutes. I used to hate this. And it would cause me to resist even beginning to practice, because if I can't be perfect immediately, then what is the point, right? What a crazy idea to carry around with me all the time! The perfectionist attitude is a frustrating habit that keeps us from growing and becoming better. Once I tell myself to just suck it up and deal with the mistakes, I give myself a chance to actually strive toward perfection, instead of just beating myself up for not being automatically so.
I find that the more I practice dealing with mistakes in music, the better I get at dealing with the mistakes I make in my day-to-day life. Giving someone a dirty look in traffic? Recognize that mistake and work on not repeating it. Being late to a piano lesson? Recognize the mistake and try again next time. Overall, I am becoming more content with the fact that mistakes are a part of life, but how we deal with them determines whether we grow or get stuck.
My next big project is to start making music videos. I am beyond scared, and the perfectionist in me wants to just say "never mind! we don't need a video!" before I even give it a try. But the new me says not to give up or get lazy. I'm gonna work just as hard at making a great video as I did on making a great album. I'm sure I will make many mistakes along the way, but I will not let it stop me. Wish me luck!