the messy middle

Looking back at my week’s piano progress, I feel I’ve arrived to the period often described as “the messy middle”.

Yes, when I started to finally see progress, since I got to a point where I was able to play three pages from my piano book, I thought this was the time to set a goal. After I spent a fair amount of time thinking, I figured out which song I’d like to learn by the end of my EC&I 831 ed tech class. I chose an Ellie Goulding song “How long will I love you”. I first heard this song in the movie “About Time”. I felt a strong connection between the movie and my piano learning, so I printed the music sheets and shared my idea with my piano teacher.

And listening to the song, you probably already know what my piano teacher’s response was. He said it is doable, but not by this December, but next April. I know, I did not set a reasonable goal, but how could one set a reasonable goal when there is not enough knowledge in the respective area? Then I reached out and asked for my colleagues’ advice regarding choosing a beginner level song.

Thanks to my supportive colleagues, I came across “Heart and Soul” which seems to be doable.

You’re probably asking that after working on the parallel motion of the five scale and practicing the octave and three songs, how did I get to the point where I started feeling discouraged and dissatisfied? As I started learning more complex concepts, I realized that my fingers not only fly, but I am also struggling with finger independence. My fingers just won’t move separately. A friend of mine came up with a brilliant idea of getting finger extensions Hmmmmm…..

Instead, my goal is to focus on finger independence and finger dexterity by doing various finger exercises which means I am literally back at square one.

Beside building finger independence while working on the five scale and octave, as well as practicing my new Mozart song, I am constantly reminding myself not to compare myself with other piano players, stay positive and enjoy the journey. Please listen to my podcast to get a feel of what I am really going through.

Thank you! Until next time…

4 thoughts on “the messy middle

  1. Thanks for sharing! It can be very frustrating and discouraging when we experience setbacks, but you described it perfectly with the Messy Middle. In the beginning we are excited, eager, encouraged, and have a goal, but we often don’t fully understand what all is involved or how long it might take for us to reach that end goal. Even though you may not be able to play the Ellie Goulding song by December, you are still learning making progress every week, even if it is learning how to overcome setbacks as opposed to learning more on the piano, learning is learning. Keep up the good work, you’re doing great!

  2. I am so impressed with your dedication to this project. It is hard to believe you have only been playing piano for one month. At the end of your podcast, you mention the feeling of one step forward, two steps back. I remember my first lesson when I started my music degree in university. My teacher assigned me a piece that was so easy, almost embarrassing. I was so discouraged that I had to work on such a boring piece! Turns out taking that time going back to the basics was extremely valuable for my playing. So you are on the right track! Keep working on those finger exercises to develop muscle strength. And maybe you could try learning the melody (right hand) of the Elie Goulding piece! Just to keep things interesting πŸ™‚ love your blog and podcast! It’s so easy to listen to!

    • Thanks so much for all your encouragement, Catherine! It helps a lot! I never thought of learning just the right hand of the Ellie Goulding song, but I like the idea. Maybe I should take another look at that song. πŸ™‚

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