Have you ever watch Tom & Jerry’s The Piano Concerto? If you haven’t here’s the link:
So why did I introduce this cartoon to you? That’s because this cartoon describes how music can paint a picture in your head.
If you are listening to that YouTube now, you can probably imagine Tom’s snobbish face while playing the piano in the beginning. And you know the chase begins when the speed of the music changes! You can even picture Tom’s angry face and Jerry’s mischievously running around the piano. Oh! And the part where Tom accidentally pressed the mouse trap! You can clearly see, or rather hear Tom is furious while Jerry dances on the keys with a smug on his face. Such a naughty pair! They never fail to entertain me since young.
Alright, enough about Tom & Jerry. What I'm trying to tell you is that with imagination, you can paint a picture using music. And this is what I call music making.
Music making is all about causing a piece called "The Bumble Bee 🐝" ? evoke a feelings and mental images of a busy bee buzzing and flying from a flower to another flower. Or if you prefer, from a person to another person, getting ready to sting someone! It's figuring out how make a piece entitled "Aloha Oe" transport you to a tropical place where the sound of sea and Hawaiian dance music fills the evening air.
You can even see those Hawaiians wearing their famous grass skirt dancing Interesting isn't it! But why do so many students quit? I mean, it's not practical for everyone to take lessons for their whole life (although it sounds amazing!). But still, there are so many people regret they didn't continue the lessons while they were younger. Yes, it could be due to time constraint and having a tight schedule. After all, we only have 24 hours a day and there's so much to do! You can't just do everything in one day!
Personally, I think that there is another important reason, which is lack of inspiration. Think about it, what happens to an artist if there is no inspiration? No paintings. How about a writer? No story. A musician? No music. When inspiration is gone, music making becomes a robotic tasks. Students no longer produce music. They are just producing sounds. When music lessons is all about getting all the notes right, maintaining a steady beat, following the rhythms, making sure they get a certain amount of practice done each day. Sounds like an endless boring task every day.
No wonder students quit!
Remember, these are important but they are not the end goal. These are only some of the many possible means to end goal. The real end goal is the story you tell or the picture you paint through music.
So start imagining, and keep your creativity juice working! When engaging the imagination becomes the end goal, practice doesn't feel like practice anymore. Time constraints are no longer an issue as well because you are doing something you truly enjoy. I have phrase that I always tell my students in class and now I'm giving that phrase to you...
"You are not here to play the notes, you are here to paint the notes." Happy practicing! Happy imagining!