If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zonesRoy Bennett
A few weeks ago I went rock climbing for the first time.
I’m not great with heights so it was quite a big deal for me. I’ve been a few times to watch other people and always thought how brave they were. But when it came to my turn I certainly didn’t feel brave!
There were a couple of moments when I really didn’t think I’d be able to pull myself up, but I got to the top and collapsed on the floor in a relieved heap! Afterwards, the whole experience did get me thinking though, and particularly so when I sat down to play the piano.
As a music teacher it’s great to have a playing session purely for me every so often. No practising of piano accompaniments or looking through pieces for students. I’m not sitting at the piano as a teacher but as a player.
Hands up if in a playing session you automatically reach for the music you can play or feel you have a good chance of performing successfully! I know I find myself doing it. It’s so easy to pick out known pieces or sight-read those that don’t look quite so busy on the page.
Is this really pushing us forward as players though?
As I climbed up the rocks there were certain bits that jutted out and I didn’t know how I was going to get past them. The temptation to find a way back down and give up was strong (although probably not possible or sensible!). It can be like that with music. You reach a section that seems impassable or hard work and there can be a great desire to turn the page and move on to something else .
After the rock climbing session I have tried not to turn the page on music that looks out of my comfort zone. By continually challenging myself I’m hopeful it will help me progress even further as a player. I might even discover new favourites in the process!
What have you played recently that took you out of your comfort zone?