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Having the wrong mindset (Read 989 times)

Offline perprocrastinate

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Having the wrong mindset
« on: December 15, 2015, 09:56:34 PM »
Over the past year, I've tried more than once to get back into playing the piano, and failed. I quit in the first place because I was frustrated about my progress, and felt that I was never going to be where I wanted to be. I'm a very competitive person by nature, and I know this is the doing of my ego. Even now, when I know what matters is that I enjoy myself, and "it's not the destination that matters, it's the journey," yada yada yada, this need to be the best still hides in the back of my mind. In fact, this unreasonable level of ambition doesn't just regard this matter, but affects me as a person. It's good to have a source of motivation, but I don't believe having this mindset is healthy. Everything in life I've committed to doing in life, speaking long-term, had me expecting success in the end, and it's scary when success isn't apparent.

I really want to come back to the piano this time, for good. Perhaps there's no easy way to answer this, but how do I just enjoying the learning process, and take things as they go? I want to be serious about music, but at the same time, I just want to relax.

This is a tad unrelated, but I do appreciate the impact learning the piano has had on my life. I was a lazy, unmotivated kid until I discovered classical music and the piano, and even though I've since found a new pursuit I'm more passionate about, I've gained a never-ending curiosity and drive to discover as much as I can about the field I'm studying.

Sorry for the semi-melodramatic rant, but thanks for reading.

Offline Bob

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #1 on: December 16, 2015, 12:33:48 AM »
What do you consider success?
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline outin

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #2 on: December 16, 2015, 04:41:58 AM »
Over the past year, I've tried more than once to get back into playing the piano, and failed. I quit in the first place because I was frustrated about my progress, and felt that I was never going to be where I wanted to be. I'm a very competitive person by nature, and I know this is the doing of my ego. Even now, when I know what matters is that I enjoy myself, and "it's not the destination that matters, it's the journey," yada yada yada, this need to be the best still hides in the back of my mind. In fact, this unreasonable level of ambition doesn't just regard this matter, but affects me as a person. It's good to have a source of motivation, but I don't believe having this mindset is healthy. Everything in life I've committed to doing in life, speaking long-term, had me expecting success in the end, and it's scary when success isn't apparent.

I really want to come back to the piano this time, for good. Perhaps there's no easy way to answer this, but how do I just enjoying the learning process, and take things as they go? I want to be serious about music, but at the same time, I just want to relax.

This is a tad unrelated, but I do appreciate the impact learning the piano has had on my life. I was a lazy, unmotivated kid until I discovered classical music and the piano, and even though I've since found a new pursuit I'm more passionate about, I've gained a never-ending curiosity and drive to discover as much as I can about the field I'm studying.

Sorry for the semi-melodramatic rant, but thanks for reading.

I assume that you are not a teenager anymore.

Despite all the self-help books and phsycho business, I firmly believe that one cannot really change an adult mindset by decision and thinking, analyzing and reflecting. The only way to change one's deeply rooted mental behavior models is to change one's real behavior first.

In practice this means to just do and do again until something become your second nature or at least some routines are formed. Then after a few years you can look back and see some improvement on your mental side as well.

So what you need to do is just work on your piano playing, deliberately NOT thinking of your long time goals and instead just concentrate on the tasks at hand. Getting a teacher to pace your study can be very helpful in this too.

If after trying you still find that your goal to be great is much stronger than your ability to modify your behavior in real time, you might just be better off just dreaming about greatness and do something that you already are good at.

And yes, I speak from experience ;)

Offline siveron

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #3 on: December 17, 2015, 11:38:38 AM »
You can succeed, and you will.

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #4 on: December 17, 2015, 12:28:04 PM »
I get you very well because myself, I have the very same mindset as far as playing the piano is concerned. If I do bad at the piano my whole day is bad. Playing the piano is for me a constant journey of euphoria and frustration. It is very tiring, indeed and makes me quit practicing for a day or 2 at times. But I try to not analyze too much and just concentrate on doing the practice - just as outin advised you above.
I read it here in the forum somewhere that progress is like dust - 1 thin, invisible layer settling every day of practice. You do not see it but after some time - you will.
I also think that getting to the point where you can play advanced repertoire nicely is a long-term process. It requires years of devotion and that is what probably all excellent pianists have gone thru.
I cannot expect to get their skills in a year or two of work - even though I work hard.
My teacher however reminds me sometimes that I am trying too hard - I am so obsessed with my goal that it hinders my progress. So I try to take things in a more relaxed way - it is difficult but I am working on it.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #5 on: December 17, 2015, 04:07:14 PM »

this mindset is from focusing on yourself not the music.   

I've tried more than once to get back into playing the piano, and failed.
I quit in the first place because I was frustrated about my progress,
I was never going to be where I wanted to be.
I'm a very competitive person by nature, and
I know this is the doing of my ego.
 I know what matters is that I enjoy myself,
I don't believe having this mindset is healthy.
 I've committed to doing in life, speaking long-term, had
 me expecting success in the end, and
it's scary when success isn't apparent.

 I want to be serious about music, but at the same time, I just want to relax.

 I do appreciate the impact learning the piano has had on my life.
 I was a lazy, unmotivated kid until I discovered classical music and the piano,
 I've since found a new pursuit I'm more passionate about,
I've gained a never-ending curiosity and drive to discover as much as I can about the field I'm studying.



so many "I" statements...   so little about the music...

if you make this all about you... you are missing the entire point. 

your statements suggest that your goal is to shore-up your self-esteem by succeeding at something you have failed at in the past...  piano is not a good choice for this kind of pursuit... that "I am so awesome because I can play the piano"---never happens...ever.   I won this competition so that makes me a better pianist than you... NOPE... ask anyone.   lol.

you are right about one thing... that mindset is not healthy for a pianist.

I apologize if I am incorrect in my assumptions...  just observing what you wrote.

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 08:54:13 PM »
I do not think this mindset is wrong. On the contrary, I think that it is a mindset pretty typical of an ambitious and eventually - a successful person, but only provided it is accompanied by hard work. If you only thinking about succeeding in music and not putting enough work in - than it won't work - you won't get anywhere and you won't even be able to play just for fun, either.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 04:41:43 AM »
I think the common mistake when approaching musical instrument studies that you should have stepwise progressive improvement that is noticeable. Improvement can happen in bursts and you can get excited learning a new skill but developing those skills furthermore is often gradual, it is like watching a plant grow. You will only notice a change if you compare your abilities with a large time distance inbetween. I sometimes demonstrate my students own improvement by going back a year in our lesson notes and compare the workload to the present. It often is very motivational to observe the difference. Don't get so caught up measuring your improvement while you are trying to improve, it is a distraction from the work at hand, look back after you have done much work.

If you are ever in a situation where you don't know what to play or study then you need a teacher or some serious self exploration. Self study can be impossible for those who simply get overwhelmed by the info or give bias to bad advice. Just go out there and learn much music, don't make laboring on single pieces your only focus.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline yewtree

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Re: Having the wrong mindset
«Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 06:32:39 AM »
DCStudio, always gets to the nub of the matter, I agree 100%.  

I think the pre-condition for success is hard work, dedication, commitment, passion.
There maybe a small number of geniuses who can put minimum effort in and learn enormous amounts in output, but I am sure that does not apply for the vast majority of people and including myself.  An example is language learning or instrument playing and there are some people that can get the hang of it very quickly, but most of us simply have to keep obsessively going over the same ground to make sure the stuff penetrates.    
What you will find with learning is pretty much common to everyone which is that there is an early phase when what you learn in graph terms, ends towards the vertical in that you learn more and more over quite a short period then you come to a kind of plateau when things seem to level of and you put more effort in.  But what is happening here and a lot of studies have been done on this, is that your mind is consolidating what it has learnt.