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"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.

on October 22, 2012

J. Bach

So as a pianist and organist, let me just say… shut up Bach.  Bach is one of the most prolific musicians in history, the undisputed master of counterpoint, and perhaps one of the most influential composers ever.  For him, it might have been that easy, especially since he had to write new compositions for church every Sunday.  For most musicians, even the masters, it is not that easy.  They could, but would never, perform pieces from their repertoire with little preparation.  Instead, they insist on practicing for weeks until their muscle memory carries them.  It’s the same for a lot of other disciplines too:

Inventors have a lot of bad ideas before they come up with their big breakthrough.

Statisticians run hundreds of regressions before they find one that means something.

Writers go through a lot of drafts before they have a manuscript they can publish.

Still, you never see any of the hard work that goes into it, just the final product.  It’s important not to lose sight of that.  Just because you’re a work in progress does not mean that everyone sees you that way.  Just keep working, and when you go to perform that sonata, you’ll hit all the right keys.

Have a great week everyone.

R

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One response to “There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.

  1. Nemo says:

    “All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time” LOL, that’s the tricky part.

    “the instrument plays itself” Yeah, right.

    I’m reminded of an anecdote of the great violinist Jascha Heifetz. A lady came up to Heifetz after one of his performances and said “Your violin produces the most beautiful sound!” Heifetz held up his violin to his ear and listened attentively for a moment, and said “It’s funny. I don’t hear anything”.

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