We currently live in a community of duplexes which are built very close together. Our balcony is attached to our neighbor’s balcony; we can literally hop the divider and be on their side. We can see our backyard neighbor’s kitchen from our bedroom. The neighbor across the street has a clear view into our house from his patio. At first, I thought this might be a bit intrusive, but everyone is respectful, and the close quarters have actually created a wonderful feeling of community.
It can also feel a bit like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. As I work from home, I have picked up the pattern of the local community from the first 7:00am car horn picking up kids for school, to our shirtless neighbor having his third cigarette on the patio, to the evening barbeques watching the sunset.
In the movie Rear Window, there is Miss Lonely Heart having dinners on her own, a beautiful showgirl practicing her dance moves, and a composer who creates his work all day and night. We too have a musician. Back in January I started to notice someone practicing the piano weekdays late in the afternoon and randomly on the weekends. The player is working on Mozart’s very difficult Rondo Alla Turca.
As the song is played every day, I am glad it is one of my favorites. The player here is very good but stumbles about one minute into the piece where it shifts. For about a month, I heard the player work and rework and work some more on this transition. By April, the player’s practice paid off with a smooth brilliant transition. Note too, that my local pianist plays the song much faster than the video link. Amazing!
In listening to the player’s ability grow over the months, I was struck by the dedication to this piece. It made me think of what is needed for success: Practice, Consistency, and Patience.
Especially in our current instant-gratification society, having dedication to our practice is challenging. I see this with my own desire to speak and understand the Spanish language. I speak it every time I can, but I also know if I would pick up the CD tutorial or hire a teacher that the daily practice would excel my ability. But committing to the practice is difficult. I was amazed at the player’s daily practice even when the piece was not working well (I heard more than one time all fingers – or whole head – angerly hitting the keys). But then two seconds later, practice would continue. Having the courage to practice even when things are not smooth is the path to success.
The pianist plays daily, sometimes multiple times a day, without fail. When we are trying something new, it is easy to say we aren’t going to do it today because of [insert reason here]. Strength comes from being consistent no matter the circumstances. Have a cold? Play. Friends coming over later? Play. Spent more time than usual practicing the day before? Play. During this spring’s yoga challenge, I learned the strength that comes from consistency. Success comes from dedicating yourself to a practice and holding yourself accountable to make it happen each and every day.
I honor the pianist’s patience. I can tell the days where the piece is not as good as the player thinks it can be. Through the un-Mozart sounds that come after a passage, I can hear frustration. But then I also experience the deep cleansing breath before the player gets back at it again. I don’t know what is going on in the pianist’s head, but just the fact that the player can “get back on the horse” after a musical fall shows great love and self-acceptance. We are often very hard on ourselves. Without patience and acceptance, we often block ourselves and stifle our growth. Be patience, loving and accepting of yourself. Practice patience as you learn and grow.
Whether you are learning something new or just trying to get through your day, look to practice, consistency and patience to help support you toward your definition of success.