The story of my experience with the piano is a familiar one. I was fortunate to have lessons as a child and went on to study the first two years of a performance degree. This was curtailed by chronic injury and a growing understanding of the difficulty in earning a living as a musician. I pursued an alternative career and stopped playing altogether, often thinking about playing again, but always putting this off for “another time” as the usual vagaries of life took precedence.
After a hiatus after over a decade, an attempt to resume playing ended up as a false start due to a recurrence of injury. Many of my injury problems stemmed from a lack of knowledge and poor habits installed at an early stage. I yearned for some form of involvement with the piano and found an alternative in setting up Informance, a publisher of digital resources for pianists. This provided me with a positive way of engaging despite the circumstances as I set about sourcing, collating and publishing information that I wish I’d had.
A few years later I finally experienced some minor breakthroughs on the injury front and tentatively began playing again. This time I was able continue, albeit with very limited playing time and much caution. Even though I’m obviously not nearly at the level I once was and have to limit the time spent practising, being able to play again feels like a long-awaited homecoming.
This was not without its difficulties and I faced a number of challenges when attempting to enjoy playing in an amateur capacity. My inner critic had not deteriorated to the same extent as my technique and although useful at a more competitive level, it now undermined my confidence in a destructive manner. This was exacerbated by the physical limitations of not being able to practise sufficiently and then there was the frustration of having to relearn things and avoid tension from a persistent fear of being injured (ironically making injury more likely!).
The immeasurable joy that can be derived from overcoming these challenges has made me passionate about encouraging other prodigal pianists to rediscover their love for the instrument. I’ve therefore set about documenting my journey and sharing my experiences and things I’ve learnt both as an amateur pianist and a publisher of resources for pianists. I’m by no means a professional pedagogue and share things from the perspective of the student rather than teacher. It is my hope that this will inspire others to begin playing again and support them in deriving maximum enjoyment out of this immensely fulfilling endeavour.
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