I know this feeling all to well… Being an Intermediate Piano Player
Being an intermediate piano player is probably one of the most frustrating experiences possible. It is almost like a feeling of I can play it, but I can’t play it like that. Many times what is separating an intermediate player from a virtuoso is confidence and their mindset. The word confidence in Latin actually means to trust in. So basically an advanced or virtuoso piano player is able to trust in their ability. And as a virtuoso player, let me add this. One of the biggest differences between me and all of the other players is this… I am not afraid to make mistakes. I mean I do not like to make mistakes, but when I do I am able to trust in myself to quickly correct them or let them go and move on. Recording is a whole other story though.
Thanks for explaining the problem, but what do I do now?
I wish I could give you a magic pill and tell you something really easy to fix this, I wish I could say just become a more confident player and it will fix itself. Unfortunately that is not the case. You need become a more confident player, but how exactly do you do that.
I can remember when I was in my intermediate stages of playing where I was good, but not as good as I wanted to be. There was something missing in my playing and I just could not figure it out. Until it struck me… I wasn’t practicing as much as I used to. It felt like I had hit a plateau and at this moment I had a realization that really hurt. What was that realization you might be wondering… I realized that I sucked.
Now most people would come to the conclusion that realizing you suck is the end of the world, or the end of their piano playing. But let me ask you to take a step back for a moment. Like I said earlier, I was good, I did not suck compared to most other piano players out there. But when it came to the true greats… I was nothing more than a fart in the wind. So in a sense, realizing that I sucked compared to the greats was a huge paradigm shift for me.
I became hungry to get better
As soon as I realized that I sucked, I immediately became obsessed with becoming a better musician. Sure, it was a little bit scary going outside of my comfort zone, but it was also very exciting. I was now in new terrain! I was going to expose myself to all different types of music and search out the most difficult of songs that I could have never imagine playing before! This was my chance to take what I had already mastered and take it to the next level. A new journey of learning how to play the piano.
I learned some very interesting things during this time as I progressed on the piano, and one of the most important things I got to relearn was rehearsal. I had played in a band at a young age so I got use to rehearsing and playing for shows but when I went to college all of the stopped. So when I was asked to be a part of a local cover band, this was a blessing in disguise.
I have always hated making mistakes live so I wanted to make sure when we were playing these 40 plus songs live that I had them down as good as I possibly could with little to no mistakes. This led me to playing an extra 8 hours a week on no gig weeks and 16 hours plus on gig weeks. There were times when I was practicing that I just did not have the strength in my hands to keep going, but some how I was able to draw up the strength from somewhere to keep at it, even if we had a gig that night!
You’ve really got to make your practice time count
No matter what it is that you are working on, be it a scale, arpeggios, or learning cover songs. You need to go in with 100% focus and an attitude of fun. When I was going through my new piano journey, I will admit it was not fun all of the time, but 80% of the time it was fun, and I would always stay disciplined and focused 100% of the time. This really helped me accelerate my progress and eventually I was able to ascend the current plateau I was at and truly level up
I’d like to end by saying this… That is that I would have never got my piano playing to the next level if I didn’t first realize how band/not bad i was. Sure I was good enough to impress my friends and family, but was pretty bad in comparison to my hero’s. I am sure that many of you reading this will not take your playing quite to the level that I did, and that is fine. There are many paths to get to the same destination and would like to wish you the best on your piano journey.
If you are looking to accelerate your progress and take your piano playing to the next level then please take a few moments to fill out our contact form and schedule a free lesson with us. We are here to help you succeed on your piano/singer songwriting goals and I know that you have it within you. It really isn’t that complicated to become an extraordinary player, it’s quite simple actually, but don’t get simple confused with easy.