Developing control through music?

Control is a human characteristic. We are always trying to control our lives and the things around us to suit our circumstances. Maybe it is an image we try to project. If we look at the design of our homes, perhaps they reflect the aspirational ideas that we try to give off. In other words, if we want to be noticed or perceived as glamorous, then we surround our homes with things that give off that sort of impression, like expensive vases or designer stuff. The way we dress is a way of control over the environment too. We are trying to impose an impression onto passers-by and influence what they think of us. Ever been on public transport and encountered people who just want to talk loudly. It is a form of control, albeit in a slightly lower form, in the guise of influence. Those that do so frequently want others to listen in on their conversation, to give the idea that their lives were so exciting and full of detail, influencing our impressions of them. Unfortunately, the impression we form of them is of anti-social idiots, even as they revel in the attention.

If you encounter some one like that, what do you do? If you see it from a control over of view, it is trying to dominate that social landscape. And your best form of defence is to demonstrate that they have not been successful. If someone is seeking attention, don’t just passively sit and listen to them drone on and on in their attempt at attention, for passiveness is meekness. Actively yawn at them is what is often suggested – it is a more verbal show that you are not interested!

Control sounds like a bad word, but it is not necessarily so. If we establish control over our lives, we will be satisfied and have a sense of self-assurance. It has been said that perhaps we should teach young children to control various aspects of their lives so they grow up to be self-assured, positive individuals. One way to do so is to involve them in activities that teach these skills, such as piano lessons. Learning the piano involves six or seven different skills, reading music, translating the dots into physical actions, and using the ear to refine what is heard as an additional layer control over the hands. According to the Piano Teachers N4 website, learning to handle these skills simultaneously, instead of focussing on one skill seven times, translates into a multi-tasking ability that helps in life.

Summary: Control isn’t bad – and you can develop control through various activities. Give it a shot!

New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year!

A new year is something to celebrate. It suggests doing away with the old hubris, sweeping aside the old year and starting on a clean slate. Starting afresh is good for the mind and the spirit. If you were to live life on a chronological basis from the time you were born, and catalogued and totalled up all your past mistakes, you might think that it is impossible to ever do good because your mistakes would be too many! Starting afresh is the only chance we have for a positive direction in life.

One of the ways people like to start the new year and mark it is by making resolutions. A resolution is a promise or a way of indicating how you would like to live at least the way ahead, and give yourself some direction. It is not surprising that within social circles people often get asked, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?” Note that the term always comes in the plural, because hardly anyone who makes resolutions ever only makes one to adhere to. To do so would be slightly pompous, as if to suggest that one’s life is so perfect that no other positive change is needed.

Sometimes looking to do “new” things can lead to new changes, ones that positively impact our lives. For example, Johannes Gutenberg, the famous inventor of the printing press, had looked at presses which were used for grapes in the productions of wine, and with fresh perspectives, realised he could use them for printing music. Without this spark of inspiration, he might have never come up with his invention, one that allowed books to be cheaply mass-produced and music to be circulated widely throughout the Western world. (You can read more about this from the Piano Teachers N10 blog.)

Perhaps this could be your New Year’s Resolution. In 2019, let your mind be open to new creative perspectives. Let your eyes be open to new ways of doing things. And who knows, perhaps you will come up with the next new invention, and harken a new way of life for yourself!

The Forties

The forties are a defining moment in your career. At your forties, you are likely to have had a stable job, children, mortgage, It is an important time of your life – the consolidation of your work and life so far.

Another reason for the importance of the forties is a negative one. If you get passed over for an opportunity, unfortunately this means your slow decline within the organisation. Getting managed by people your aged is not the problem. It could be worse. At least you are not being bossed around by some young twenty something graduate with little work or life experience. Unless you happen to be some non commissioned career soldier in the army having to kowtow to orders from a recent graduate officer. But if you get passed over for managerial positions it means you get lumped together with the young new graduates, who will be eager to please, have more energy to expend, have less life commitments. And if opportunities present themselves to all you junior employees, it is them, young and still having years to give to the organisation, that will be considered.

You could take a lesson from the military. Many start off on the non-commissioned scale, moving up as specialists to sergeant majors. A few then go off to officer training school, where they end up as lieutenants, the most junior of officers. But it gives them a shot at being general, the highest of the officers. You can’t be a general from being a sergeant major. Making the leap to the officer ranks gives you more avenues for promotion.

If, by your forties, you don’t make the transition towards managerial positions, in some sort of junior management role, then your career is likely to stall. That is because you are going to be overlooked in favour of the younger colleagues. Put it this way, if there is a promotion due upstairs, and all things being equal, employers know they can promote the younger person because it would be getting a cheaper salaried person to do the job.

Did you know the Italian music composer Giaocchino Rossini was already well established by the time he was in his forties? At the age of thirty seven he was already travelling and semi-retiring. He made his money off operas, and never wrote a work until three decades later! You can find out more about Rossini here and also read more music trivia from the Piano Teacher Crouch End N8 website.
Don’t let your forties slip by without planning!

The value of patience

Often you will hear people decry that they are no good with numbers, as if it excuses a lack of effort by confusing it with predetermined inability. Is there really an inborn inability to deal with numbers? We also hear misguided generalisms such as one being better with words than with numbers, as if the skills of language and mathematics cannot exist together side by side. But there really is no lack of understanding, it is more a lack of effort. And when I state a lack of effort, I don’t mean a lack of effort at working hard, I mean the lack of effort at patience and understanding.

When we attempt a new skill, we are more than likely not going to get it right the first time. If we do, then that skill was probably not that difficult in the first place and we would have actually not even considered it a new skill to begin with. After all, a skill implies something that requires some form of sustained effort to master. It is unlike you could play the piano to a good standard without even having touched it before.
Piano playing is a skill. But you could play the piano because you have mastered another instrument like the flute, and the crossover in musical knowledge allows you to attain a good entry level at the piano in a short attempt.

When we try something new without any previous overlap, we will make mistakes and not get it right. And this is where the patience comes in. We need to focus less on the end product and think about how we can achieve it. Often the realisation that one has to devote time and effort to get to that stage puts people off, because they realise they don’t have the patience to work at it, or the patience to try slowly. They are willing to do repetitions of an activity, but not patient enough to analyse if the activity is of value to warrant the time in it.

Learning a musical instrument can be a good way of teaching this kind of patience. With a keyboard instrument, you get the instant gratification of multiple sounds, and the realisation that if you are patient enough to work at it you can produce something quite good. And if you live in the Harringay area, why not get in touch with a piano teacher in N15? You learn songs you like, while developing the patience at getting better!