Just over a month ago, I had my first piano lesson. It was very hard. The teacher kept trying to teach me about “Middle C”, a term that had little meaning and even less perceived value to me. And she taught me to play music that was so inanely simplistic that I was bored before I’d finished playing the first bar. But the experience was fascinating. Especially when you know how good some pre-school students are!
After getting bored with drills intended to train me like they might train a 3-year-old, who will take an average of 1200 hours of formal practice to achieve Grade 5 (according to Sloboda’s Leverhulme Project), I decided to just learn how to play a piece of music. I chose to play one of my favourites, Gymnopedie. It looked easy enough.
It wasn’t easy. To start with, it was hard. Very hard. And it was hard in very specific ways.
And it has already highlighted two key aspects of learning for me: One conscious, one unconscious.