Tag: adultpianohongkong

[:en]Adult Piano Beginner Learners[:]

[:en]Adult Piano Beginner Learners

This year we have quite a number of adult students who have come in to learn to play the piano for the first time. I am very glad to see this phenomenon.

I still remember we had this amazing student who came in last year, and the first line of his email wrote, “I am a 51-year-old man who has never learnt to play the piano…”. My eyes beamed with joy when I read that line. I couldn’t be happier! Someone at this mature age wanted to play the piano! Why would that be a problem?

Any age is a good age to learn something new. Any age is a good age to challenge oneself and do something fresh for the first time. Any age is a good age to be nice to oneself and give oneself a Gift.

I believe Music is such a Joy for anyone of any age, and playing the piano is a great gift to receive that joy.

I understand the “awkwardness” for adults to pick up an instrument (or simply learn some new skills) for the first time:

“Can I actually do it?”

“What if I can’t? Would I look stupid or embarrass myself?”

“Am I too old to do it?”

“It’s okay, I don’t really have to do this. Why bother, why waste time and money to do it?”

The list of doubt goes on and on.

I get it. I have that moment too.

Like I couldn’t swim or bike for most of my life – I learnt to do that just a few years ago. I am not good at it, but I can move! And I enjoy them.

Or I remember the first time I saw people run on campus when I was studying for my graduate degree in America. I thought to myself, “Oh! People RUN here.” I never exercised when I was in Hong Kong, almost never. No one told me I had to exercise! I only knew I had to study and practice a lot of piano. So I started running on campus too, and went to the gym and took cycling classes and did circuit weight training. I didn’t know how to do it but I just followed the instructions and that’s it! It was a lot of fun and so I never stopped exercising ever since.

Or I love traveling on my own, a lot. People say, “Oh but it’s dangerous (for a woman) to travel solo” or, “Oh but it’s so boring to travel alone”. I never feel any danger at all. A woman can protect herself just like a man does. And when you travel alone, you can talk with the locals and meet new friends. It’s a lot of fun and a different kind of traveling experience. When you travel alone, you would notice a lot of things you might not otherwise.

Or I never wrote a book. And now I did. I am happy that I finally published it, now I can make it better for the second edition, and work on the Chinese version. And also the course books. I never thought I wanted to or could write an instruction manual (it sounds so boring!). But I did, and I am glad I endured the boredom at the beginning of drafting it.

What I am trying to say is there are a lot of things we thought we didn’t want to do and tried to make a lot of excuses not to of them, and the main reason is most likely this:

We are scared.

We are scared to fail.

We are scared to make mistakes.

We are scared to be ridiculed.

But, what if we make it?

What if we succeed?

What if we are actually good at it?

Or what if, what if we actually enjoy doing it, regardless of how good or bad we are at it?

Isn’t that the most important point of we doing something, that WE ENJOY DOING THE THING WE DO?

Yes, that’s the whole point of we learning to play the piano.

Because PLAYING THE PIANO IS FUN.

So, Adult Piano Beginner Learners, keep coming! We are ready!

Peace,
Teresa Wong[:]

“I Wish I Could Play Better Piano!”

I am going to be quite blunt from now on, and also slightly more philosophical and spiritual with my writing than before.  I feel I am running out of time here..

I find that most people like the idea of playing the piano but not exactly the action of it. 

Why do I say that?

Have you ever heard your friends say, “I wish I could lose some weight”, then they would add, “if I had time to go exercise”, and “but it’s too hard, and I love eating!” etc etc.

Or, “I would love to go ______ (put any sports or hobbies there: e.g. golfing, fishing, hiking, reading, travelling, cooking…) “, BUT, “I don’t have time”. 

IF they are some of those really lucky people in this planet that have TIME, and even when they take action to go do these activities, they actually find that it’s quite an exhausting task to fulfil. 

AND if they so do decide and manage to keep this hobby going, they would find they don’t actually like it that much as they thought they really would before they started doing it. Usually it’s because it’s too HARD, and take too much TIME. 

But now they are STUCK.. Why? Because they have already started doing this thing they have been wanting to do so long, and they have INVESTED TIME, MONEY and maybe some EFFORT, and also THEY TOLD EVERYONE THEY ARE DOING THIS! THEY CANNOT BACK DOWN CAN THEY NOW?? 

“CAN I ?!?!?!?”  (I think that’s the voice screaming inside the back of your head)

Well, my answer to you is, “YES YOU CAN.”

YES YOU REALLY CAN!!! (I want to scream at that voice inside the back of your head too, if I have to. But no, I want to be gentle.)

Because I have been there.

It may not be playing piano (or music in general), because I realise “he” (I have to put a male gender just to be “politically correct” here) is the LOVE OF MY LIFE. I shall never abandon him.

It might not be teaching (piano), as I thought I have loved it for so long and changed my career for him, and devoted hours and hours developing skills for him and in him; although recently I did find my love for him has not been the same anymore and might need to shake things up and change directions in the most dramatic way…

But I do understand, yes I can and I have been there.

For instance, I tried to teach the way everyone was doing here: focus on training in the shortest time frame possible for the highest grade ever in a youngest student in the whole planet, having students competing in every single competition one can find and making them play some horrible music that would not help them to grow just so they could fulfil some exam/competition/performance/school requirements. Ok, I never have done most of them at all. I couldn’t bring myself even close to just do the first one. They did happen only because I focused on what really mattered to me: instil in students their love for music, inspire them to create music, to enjoy and play the piano, provide them with knowledge necessary to understand and enjoy music, all in the long run and for the long run. Again, I am not saying whatever others do is wrong. They are right for their own accord and in their own terms, as long as they are happy with what they want. But I know that was not what I wanted and it will never be what I want and who as a teacher I want to be.

So, I struggled, I moved on, I struggled more, I moved on again, I stumbled, I sat, I paused, I stood up and started walking again, I splinted, I jogged, I was exhausted, I rested. 

Now, I am sitting still whenever I can.

My newest hobby is “chillaxing”. 

I always understand I cannot make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. But I did not ACCEPT that fact completely. I still thought from time to time, “if I just TRIED HARDER…”

No, I realise it’s not about trying harder. 

Everyone has their own journey and their time to grow or not grow.

Everyone has their own rate of growth and progress. 

No one can push them. No one ever did. 

The real reason for those would truly grow and progress much faster than anyone else is because THEY THEMSELVES WANT TO GROW AND PROGRESS THAT FAST, AND THEY DID A LOT OF WORK TO GET THERE.

Even if they fall.

Even if they struggle.

Even when they just want to sit there and cry and feel all this pain inside them and that voice saying “I don’t want to do this anymore, why are you forcing me to do this, are you insane???” 

They sit there and start asking themselves, “do I want to do this anymore? Do I want to stop now?”

They might not have the answer they want to hear. Instead, they might hear, “I don’t know. It’s too hard. I don’t know how to continue.”

If they tell themselves instead, “Ok, I am not doing this anymore.” And then they feel pain, they feel sadness, that voice inside them whisper, “I don’t want to stop actually. I still want to do this.”

Then they realise, they do want to do it. 

But they must also ask themselves, “HOW can I do this better in the future to have less failure and hardship? How can I do it better to have more success and happiness in this journey?”

Caws6CAWEAAN8fCThey must TRY HARDER.

They must BELIEVE, in themselves and whatever this is that they are doing.

They must also have OTHER PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN THEM.

They might need different and better guidance.

They need HELP.

They must REACH OUT.

They must find SOLUTION.

A solution that is different from all those solutions that they tried before and didn’t work for them.

If they decide to continue.

But I would also emphasise again, “You don’t have to do this.”

Don’t do this because everyone is doing it.

Don’t do this because you have already invested all this time and effort and energy and emotion.

Don’t do this for anyone else, not your family, your friends, your peers, your partner, your parents, or your teacher.

YOU CAN STOP NOW. 

TODAY IS THE DAY TO SET YOURSELF FREE.

DO EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF. IT’S YOUR DECISION TO CONTINUE OR STOP.

PLAY THE PIANO FOR YOURSELF AND NOT FOR ANYONE ELSE.

TEACH PIANO BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DO IT.

Peace,

Teresa Wong

P.S. I love this post. One line says, “Mastery is an awesome thing to have, but it comes at great price. The idea of having mastery, without the price, is deeply deeply appealing. ‘I wish I had learned is saying ‘I wish I didn’t have to pay the price- I wish it was already paid back in the days that are already behind me’.”

To that I would sum up with one simple 8-word idiom, “There is no free lunch in the jungle.”