November 11, 2012 at 1:33 AMHow often do you think you play one way but actually play another. This question was posed by Charles Noble recently in his blog On Excellence.
In his post, he and another lamented on their student's inability to properly execute a dynamic range enough to even notice, eluding to the notion that what is in one's mind doesn't necessarily translate to actual results.
I responded as one of those guilty students. In my mind I sound a certain way, but once it is pointed out to me how I actually sound, I'm mortified. It's astounding how one's mind can play tricks on you, making you think you play better (or worse) than you really do.
My last lesson was a case in point, when my teacher flat out asked me if I remembered anything she told me. The answer was yes, and I even take copious notes and post them in my rehearsal space.
Alas, even with all this effort, my body fails me in its execution at times. Notes come out flat, shifts are sloppy, and dynamics are for the birds. However, in my mind's ear, it is beautiful music. Why do I have this self-deception? It may be my own way of convincing myself to not give up; to continue to strive for an excellence I may never achieve, but pursue regardless of my ability.
The point is to continuously strive to be better than you are today. Some day I may surprise myself.
(The mirror can introduce all sorts of self-deception into one's world, as well. It can be shocking.)
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