Learn and build, play and break

I took piano lessons for a few years when I was a child.

I had always admired how pianists perform for others. I was very interested in playing the written music. But more specifically, the music pieces everyone can recognise. Another thing I found amazing was composing. Or even improvising on stage.

For the eight-year-old me, a piano playing girl who can not only play the famous notes, but also is able to telling stories with her own creativity, is perfection.

But my piano teacher disappointed me by saying that I would have to take one step at a time to get to where I wanted to go. He said I had to “learn the rules so well so that [I] can break them”.

“There are 88 keys on every full-sized piano. There are innumerable ways to make music from tapping on those keys. So many that you can’t even start. But you’ve got to start from somewhere! The lessons we have here is where you will start.

One step at a time. Build the basic blocks, the structure, the system; develop your taste; discover what you like and what you don’t like; maybe then you will be ready to break everything down. Maybe then you will be ready to create something from these 88 keys that is yours.

But today, your job is to practice the third piece from Czerny OP. 599. Let’s go.”

You can’t break and play unless you have done with learn and build.

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