The anxiety of the night before

Friday night. Dreading my piano lesson in the morning. I’ve been taking jazz piano lessons since February and making very little progress. And tonight as I sat at my piano, struggling to pick out chords to go with the dreadful blues song I’ve written — Don’t wanna get up today — I thought, “Maybe I should quit.”

Maybe I am completely untalented with no capacity for learning this stuff. It’s possible. And it’s painful. Especially the lessons. My teacher’s frustration with my inability to master even three simple chords is obvious every Saturday. And I can’t keep a beat with my left hand while improvising with my right. I’m completely uncoordinated and feel as though I’m juggling with a chainsaw and a toothbrush.

For last week’s lesson, when I practiced, I worked on keeping a beat with my left hand and moving smoothly between chords. Right hand improvisation was too much for my brain, so I sang while I played with my left. Made up a blues song, added verses. Nothing written down. That was my improvisation.

I thought it was a pretty good approach for me, a way to learn something, make some progress. But when I went to my lesson and performed my blues song, feeling pretty good that I kept my left hand going, my teacher was less than delighted. I finished up that lesson feeling like a terrible student. Again.

So I’m wondering: Is my problem that playing jazz is beyond my brain power? Am I approaching this all wrong? Or do I have the wrong teacher?

Looking for advice. Thanks.

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2 thoughts on “The anxiety of the night before

  1. Love your blog!! Fun!! And you totally have the wrong teacher! It’s not you. My husband went thru this when he decided to pick up piano at Davidson so he could play billy joel songs… teacher totally frustrated him and was making him play all sorts of classical stuff and scales telling him it would be YEARS before he would be able to play BJ. then years later, in a music store, he ran into a very cool looking guy who turned out to be a pianist who said he could teach him to play Billy Joel in 30 minutes… the rest is history! 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura. I’m going to give her a couple more lessons. Then I may have to toss in the towel. I’m too old to pay money to feel bad about myself.

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