The Well-Tempered Piano Student: Free Your Inner Child

Sculpture of the inner child

Children can teach us an important lesson about the learning process. They do this by demonstrating the value of freeing our inner child. Typically, an adult piano student will spend fifty percent of their lesson time explaining how incompetent they are. On the other hand, when children encounter a difficulty they often giggle and laugh at themselves. Children in their innocence expect good at every turn. They imagine they can achieve anything—and they often do. The most important element in any learning process is the emotional capacity to relax and be innocent no matter what your age.


Letting Go

Let go of your inhibitions and recapture the spontaneity of your inner child by trying the following experiment. I recommend doing it alone first. Later as “letting go” becomes more natural, you can invite your family and friends to join you:

  1. Put on your favorite recording or ask Google Home to play some music that appeals to you.
  2. Lie on the floor letting your arms and legs sprawl wherever they happen to fall.
  3. While the music plays, keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply. At this point in the experiment, you will notice a fluctuation in your breathing pattern, influenced, of course, by the kind of music to which you happen to be listening. Also, the music will affect various muscular responses throughout your body. Do not inhibit them; rather, allow the music to inspire unconscious feelings and movements.
  4. As you continue to lie there with the music flowing through you, the following may occur: your right arm makes a circular motion in the air as the melody climbs higher and higher; a persistent rhythm causes your toes to move up and down seemingly of their own volition; suddenly, your left knee bends in response to a musical climax; before you know it, you roll to one side, resting on both knees, body erect, with your arms weaving in and out like seaweed undulating in the tide.



Taken from  Seymour Bernstein's book titled "With Your Own Two Hands: Self Discovery Through Music."


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