Would you run a marathon if you had been training for only three weeks? Would you decide to do it twelve or nine months earlier but not begin to work for it until the last month?
I’m pretty sure the answer to those questions would be a resounding, “No!”. But if you did do those things, would you still expect to be prepared for the race and anticipate a good result?
You understand the mechanics of running, but does the information in your brain translate to your muscles so they know how to behave? No. The muscles need to learn those new skills.
Playing the piano is no different. Learning an instrument is a cumulative skill. You cannot leave preparation until the last minute and still expect to do well in an exam or perform beautifully at a recital. Throwing extra resources in at the end doesn’t yield the same result as snowballing your skill set.
Creating music is about so much more than just the notes on the page; it is about how they are to be played and the different sounds that may be created, and this requires practised technique. Muscle memory plays a part, but other skills include the balance of the hand and body, rhythm, pitch, technique, body positioning, fine motor skills, dynamics, texture, tonal shading and more. Imagine how frazzled the brain would feel if it were trying to deal with all these things in a very short space of time.
A similar problem occurs when – for a variety of reasons – students want to rush through levels of exams. This often means learning only the minimum number of pieces to get through, and the overall musicianship is sacrificed.
Playing a musical instrument is a skill for life and can be a blessing in so many ways. Cherish it and nurture it with the respect it deserves and it will repay you tenfold.
If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.