Often times my students psych themselves out at our lessons. They have practiced all week and have worked really hard and then they get to me and get nervous. Do I have high expectations? Sure I do. But not in the way that anyone might think. I highly expect my students to do their best. I expect them to have fun. I also expect them to play at the speed that is most comfortable for them. Just because you are performing for me, that does not mean you have to go at record speeds. Play how you have been playing all week. If it is slower than the song may call for, play it that way and we can easily make it faster later. If there is a way that I can help you to get better at playing faster, I will only know it if I can see where you stand currently. I don't want to see frustrations, I want to help facilitate accomplishment. I think, for everyone including myself, we have higher expectations for ourselves. We want to be better than how we are right now. But if we keep putting that kind of pressure on ourselves, then we find we lose interest and joy in something that can be so simple and fun. If it is not sounding the way that we want it to, we have to ask ourselves some simple questions: Have I really practiced this passage to my best abilities? How long have I practiced on this song that troubles me? Do I really understand the material? If I don't understand the material, did I ask someone who would know the answer, like my teacher? Am I just trying to play the music too fast? Remember those questions, have fun, remember your training, and the music will just come to you.
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