Understanding music vs playing it

Understanding music you want to perform is one of the important, necessary steps. It’s like with many other activities that require skill. You may understand how to be quick with a race car, or how to shoot accurately with a bow. However, it doesn’t automatically give you the ability to complete these tasks. It’s one of those traps a musician will have to recognize and avoid.

Understanding music doesn’t equal having the skills

Smart, intelligent people – especially the ones who are naturally talented – are in high danger when it comes to this problem. Why is that, you may ask. It’s because when one has a quick mind for understanding music, to grasp and get a feel for a certain piece, it will often feel tedious for him or her to have to practice it. And as we know, physical practice for playing an instrument is unavoidable. So if this kind of person “gets” most music easily, they will often lack the patience to go through the motions that earn them the motor skills to perform the piece. understanding musicThat’s probably the reason why we know quite a lot of musical geniuses who didn’t really learn to play any instrument in depth. They simply got bored with it. For a short while, it was fun for them, but there was a point when they stumbled into a wall, so to say. Then they quickly picked up another instrument, and the same process started over again.

Understanding music doesn’t equal having the skills

But what is this wall that stops some very talented people to learn to play an instrument properly? It is the limited rate at which our body and mind are capable of learning things. And how to overcome this obstacle? Use the force, bro. But seriously. To get over the frustration of this whole crap, one needs a good amount of what we call “inner piece”. Some people goes further and call this special state of mind happiness. Oops. The ever elusive secret of humankind is to patiently learn to play pieces of music? Bingo. Csíkszentmihályi calls is the “flow”, but this peculiar state has been recognized and described in many ancient cultures as well. Practically all of them. Once you are able to ride the flow, you will find great joy in the process. That’s when on top of only understanding music, you will gain the other part of the experience, too.

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