The following is from a blog post by Samantha Coates. Over the next 5 Mondays, I’ll post her sport / music analogies
When it comes to playing piano – in fact any musical instrument – I think there are enormous similarities between sport and music. For example:
1. It is a physically demanding activity that takes hours of practice/training each week to do it well;
2. It is not possible to ‘cram’ – that is, ignore practice on a daily basis, and then practice madly the night before a game/an exam and still pull off a great result;
3. It requires muscle fitness, endurance, coordination, and a huge amount of mental focus.
In this wonderful sport-obsessed country of ours, even the least ‘sporty’ children participate in sport in some way, even if only at school. Therefore I have found that sporting analogies work extremely well with my piano students.
Getting a passage right
So many students practice piano by trying a passage over and over again, getting it wrong each time, persisting until they get it right… and then move on! The problem here is that the passage has been played many times wrong and only one time right. Yes, you have been practising, but you have been practising in the wrong notes. Try this sport analogy:
Imagine you have just finished some drills with your soccer team and now the coach wants you to practice kicking penalty goals. You kick the ball towards the goal…. And miss. You try again, and miss. You try again, and miss again. Fourth time, still no luck. Finally on the fifth try, the ball goes in. Now, would your coach tell you that was a fantastic practice session and send you home? NO. You missed the goal 80% of the time! The coach would make you stay and keep practising until you were kicking goals most of the time.
(This analogy also works really well with netball goals, basketball foul shots and tennis serves! It’s great if you can relate it to a sport that you actually take part in.)