When Unwillingness in Practice is a Good Thing

In Bruce Berr’s column of the latest American Music Teacher magazine, he talks about relearning pieces and particularly the importance of good fingerings. I really appreciated the whole article, but was especially struck by one sentence toward the end:

“The new approach I’ve adopted is about mindfulness, physical awareness and an ironclad unwillingness to accept a passage feeling difficult.”

Isn’t that a marvelous philosophy for practicing the piano, or any instrument? Not only have I underlined it and taken it to heart in my own practicing, I’ve also shared it with several students this week and used it as a launching pad for what we worked on during their lessons. The last characteristic has been the primary motivation, “an ironclad unwillingness to accept a passage feeling difficult.” Now that’s an unwillingness I’d be happy to see in all of my students!

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