Practice Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To

Recently, I was asked by a college student to answer some questions for class. One of them inspired this article.

The question: “Is there anything special you’ve learned from your experiences, being raised by two music teachers and then going on to teach music yourself?”

My answer: Music has always been a part of my life as both my parents were music teachers. I started piano lessons from my Dad when I was in kindergarten and harp lessons when I was 10. Classical music lessons offered me the opportunity to develop a strong foundation from which I now, ironically, am able to personally relate and unwind in many of my students. Let me try to explain.

Practicing in our house was not an option as both my parents knew the importance of daily practice. They were firm in their commitment to help me and my siblings grow, so even though I may have felt pushed at times, I knew love was the motivating factor.

When I started teaching, most of my students were older women who carried a heavy weight of judgment from their previous childhood teachers. They had to practice at the risk of being ridiculed or judged. As a teacher, my goal is to unwind the have to emotions and awaken the want to desire; I want my students to be inspired to play music from the inside, not forced to play music from any outside influence. This creates an entirely different experience for both the musician and the listener.

One of the techniques I use is a simple shift of focus – from the notes to the feeling. When a student plays a piece of music I ask them, “What’s your picture? What’s the scene? Pretend you’re playing the soundtrack to a movie. What’s happening?”

Sometimes they’re in the scene and sometimes they’re observing the scene. Some can do this easily and others find it a bit difficult at first. There’s no right or wrong way and over time, they all come to expect the question and gradually allow themselves more freedom to explore the possibilities.

I also emphasize that the scene may change every time they sit down to play the piece. The point is to feel it now, in this moment. When they begin to play again, they feel the shift and the music sounds different. Try it for yourself. It’s really fun and it begins to open a deeper, inner relationship with your music.

Music is such a personal expression and it’s different for every musician. How do you love to share music? Whether it’s performing for audiences or playing for your own enjoyment, play it in your unique way – our world needs all of us to play, play, play!

-Amy Camie - MU Columnist

*Amy Camie is a spiritual harpist, passionate speaker, gifted recording artist, intuitive composer, inspirational writer and Co-Initiator of The ORIGIN Methodology of Self-Discovery. Her strong classical background allows the music from her soul to flow freely through her fingertips creating highways of sound that awaken memories of wholeness, harmony, compassion, and love.

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