Being Watched

Preparing your mind
A few days ago I had a piano lesson and my piano teacher was just finishing with another customer and he was a boy of around 10 years old.

He asked me to warm up so I went into the room with the Mini Grand Piano.

I love it when this happens because I can play on a great piano and for a few minutes I am not being watched, but I am “sort of” being listened to.

Not being watched meant I could perform much better.

The boy went into the front room to wait and said that he liked the Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata I was playing and wanted to stay and listen, he said that the piano teacher could go in and he would stay and listen.

My piano teacher said 'no', he would stay and I think he knew I was going to perform better. He listened for a bit.

When he did come in he told me the above story and explained that due to lockdown some violin exams are recorded and mistakes are made and when they re-record them there are other mistakes.

The only way to truly improve is to go away and practice to raise the standard.

One of my work colleagues suggested that I play on the piano and record it on my phone and play a bit on the sound system at work and then we can all have a listen.

My wife kindly turned the pages so I played Strauss' Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz and recorded it.

I was nervous at the thought of my colleagues hearing this and then I thought I need to be vulnerable about my abilities to get better.

I did not play it to my usual standard because my colleagues will be hearing it and the nerves kicked in.

I was so grateful for my colleague for suggesting this and then setting up my iPhone to synch with the sound system.

If I get embarrassed, it would be good for my development.

Last week I had a customer and the plan was to drive to her sisters and then do some more driving.

We were practicing how to manage the distraction of the SatNav.

Her performance dropped with her sister in the back, I explained that this was normal and that it can happen if we have been criticised in the past and sometimes we need to look into our past and 'break' it.

But it can be also trying to do things well.

You will be watched for your driving test and it helps to be prepared for a potential drop in performance and spend some time thinking about how you can combat this.

Perhaps aim for a higher performance or being aware that the above has a reasonable chance of happening and get mentally prepared.

Artwork © 2021 Lindsey Fletcher