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Apr. 30th, 2012 (UTC)

you're on fire lately, in terms of insightful posts!

I haven't played piano regularly in a long time, though I took lessons regularly for about 8 years. Never actually enjoyed it until I stopped taking lessons and joined an informal rock band. After reading this post I think part of the problem was the drills and exercises actually forcefully programmed in some buggy behavior. The last teacher I had though (a russian grad student) made an observation that really helped me: after fumbling on the left hand part on Stairway to Heaven, hitting lots of clashing notes, she said [paraphrasing] "why is this so hard for you, the chords are written right there!"
I won't say I never hit a wrong note again, but music suddenly went from a rigid process of pressing the keys when it says to on the paper to a frame of informal rules (the chord structure and rhythm) with other peices fit in (melody, harmonies, counterpoints, etc). This jived completely with my preference for the music of folk tradition and improvisation. This was really solidified when I started playing the accordion, because its a 'schizophrenic' implementation of chords & rhythm and melody/harmonies (at least the way I play!). I am eternally impressed by classically trained musicians but am finally ok that this will never be me... other skills such as playing by ear are much more useful.

One final observation: I have an electric piano at my parent's home and, after a while a few of the keys became broken, such that hitting them makes a loud, obnoxious buzzing noise. Even when playing other pianos I tend to avoid these keys (supporting your telekinetic finger model).

I think there are, in fact, stupid people (or to be politically correct - a variance in intelligence that has genetic and environmental causes) though you're right that framing it in that way is not helpful to anyone - not people making those judgments and definitely not for the people who are supposed to be learning when those judgments are being placed on them (this is well supported by the research)

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