(This is a continuation of a post I wrote a few months ago.)
Your mental attitude, especially about yourself, is all important.
As a piano teacher, I study mental attitude all the time. In each lesson, my students project their attitude both about the music they are playing and about themselves as learners. While other factors such as skill, talent (or the ease with which they learn) and overall drive are important in a student’s progress, their mental attitude pervades every minute they spend with me.
For example, here are some plausible (but hypothetical) attitudes students may have:
- “I love playing music but I’m unsure about my abilities. I tend to doubt myself, but I stick with it anyway.” The attitude here is cautiously optimistic. The student may question themselves constantly, but because of their perseverance, they will still make progress.
- “I get impatient a lot when I’m reading music. I keep doing it, but it’s not as easy as I would like it to be. I get bored easily.” This student is impatient and easily-distracted. They may do many great things, yet they may experience frustration as they judge the speed of their progress.
- “I love how I can stick with a piece of music and slowly get better. It’s very satisfying to see my progress.” This students takes the long view and appreciates gradual improvement. They will take satisfaction from the journey as well as appreciate the results.
- “I am eager to learn everything I can about music. Let’s dive in!” This student is enthused and committed. Not only will they learn a lot, probably in a short amount of time, their positive energy will be a joy to work with.
These are all examples of attitudes piano students might have, but these attitudes could just as easily apply to any endeavor, or to people generally. I love honing on other people’s attitudes. Not only does it help me as a piano teacher, it also helps me as a human being who wants to understand my own attitude and especially how to keep a positive one.