My Un-Zen Approach to Piano Lessons
My struggle with internalizing the white keys reminds me of a story. A Zen Buddhist monk was being interviewed for advancement in the Sangha (community). He had spent many years meditating, studying the commentaries and had graduated the koans. At the entrance of the zendo he took off his shoes and put down his umbrella. The Roshi appeared, smiling modestly, and immediately asked the monk this simple question: what shoe did you take off first, the left or the right? The monk was momentarily stunned. He couldn't remember. He hadn't paid attention. The monk politely bowed, put his shoes back on, picked up his umbrella and left. He practiced for another 10 years before reapplying for the position. I feel a bit like the monk right now. I can't even do the most basic thing in piano: instinctively and instantly play the right note on command. I have memorized the white and black keys, but not internalized them. There is often a half-second or so delay before I remember what note a particular key is. However, unlike the monk, I'm unwilling to practice another 10 years before I get such a simple thing right. I'm moving on to the next stage. And regarding yesterday's 7 minute white key drill: it's way too fast. I can't keep up with it. Not even close. Maybe I'll re-record it when I have some time.