Mistakes Don’t Hurt Your Ears

March 5, 2020

If wrong notes hurt your ears, good.

A student of mine was whining about that once. He was 11 years old, and he had pretty good ears. I was pushing him a little bit out of his comfort zone, and he started complaining that his ears were hurting when he played wrong notes.

I didn’t want to back down, because I could see that we were on the verge of a breakthrough, and I was eager to press forward. But, then he began screaming.

“I can’t stand it!”, he cried, covering his ears.

I was reluctant to take a stand, with him getting so agitated, but somehow I forced myself to do it.

“Put your hands down and listen to the sound coming out of the piano, and tell me that it really hurts you.”

He did as I said.

“No, it doesn’t really hurt…“

So yeah, there may be pain. But it’s not from your ears. When you learn to love those wrong sounds, your ears will feel much better.

About the author

Michael Korman has played the piano in opera productions and recitals, as well as directing music at a church and coaching classical singers. He draws upon his experiences with meditation and mindfulness to inform his views on music. In addition to music, Michael also holds degrees in computer science. When he's not playing the piano or meditating, he might be practicing drawing or calligraphy.

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