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January 29, 2011

How my piano lessons changed my life

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 10:10 am

As a child, I studied regular things in school, as well as piano, and cello. Looking back, I got a better education in High School than in college simply because I was with good teachers all day long. At college, I had teachers that didn’t really teach much. They lectured, but did not make sure we understood what was being taught. Looking back on High School, I benefited from Debate Class, AP Biology, Typing and Sex Ed. I actually learned a lot in those classes and used the learning in real life while I never used Physics, advanced math or history though.

My parents were serious musicians. My mother was a concert pianist and my father was an accomplished amateur cellist. There was music in the house my entire childhood, and I probably remember a lot of it from when I was a fetus. I played in five orchestras during High School, and did a lot of music with cello playing. But, the one educational endeavor that seemed to have changed my life was my piano lessons and not the other classes. I think I should let my piano teacher know.

My piano lessons were taken from age eight to sixteen. I quit then because I had too much going on in my life and couldn’t take it any more. My piano teacher was strict and mean. There were no ends to her demands and she was never happy. She nitpicked everything I did — to death. It was very painful because nothing I did was ever right. The demeaning aspect of the lessons was very bad for my self image. However, I learned something very critical which helped me immensely for the rest of my life in all of my serious endeavors.

My piano teacher taught me the art of grueling practicing difficult passages over and over and over with meticulous care. I am a sloppy person, or at least was. I am still sloppy, but a lot less sloppy as a result of that teacher who was the pickiest I have ever had. Can you imagine practicing a passage one thousand times every day paying attention to every subtle detail? The musical aspect was nice, but did not help me. It was the discipline to put up with grueling and repetitive work. So, how did this discipline help specifically during the rest of my life?

During college I studied Chinese. It had been my life ambition to speak different languages. I studied French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and Chinese. But, Chinese was my true love. The problem is that it is hard as hell, and I studied hard for years. I am still only at the 50% level in Chinese. But, this grueling discipline of practicing passages over and over were how I learned to become fluent in this exotic language and how I learned to write. Without piano lessons I would never have had the discipline to do this.

After college I could not get a good job so I had to be a courier. Once again, fourteen hour days of grueling work. I finally couldn’t take it anymore. Then, I became a teacher. I had to teach others and go through grueling pronunciation lessons teaching Chinese people the art of pronouncing English in a way that Americans could understand. I handled the disciplinary aspects of the work, but my students did not want to be understood — they wanted to speak however they wanted to with complete disregard for correctness. They remind me of Notaries who fail my test who want to do notary work however, and whenever without regard for the correct application of rules and safety precautions!

Finally, I became a Notary and created 123notary originally to market myself. Running 123notary requires tremendous discipline. Each year I put on thousands of free listings and call them to make sure they are still notaries. This takes an extreme amount of endurance doing the data entry day in and day out and tolerating endless phone calls.

Basically in short, without my piano lessons, I do not think I would be able to handle the workload of 123notary.

My only regret is as follows. As an adult, I have learned that Jean Philippe Rameau wrote much better harpsichord music than my hero J.S. Bach, and I regret not having been introduced to Rameau as a child. So, I listen to him on youtube.com.

If you want your children to have a good chance at success, musical education with quality teachers is as important or more important than academics. Please remember that piece of advice forever!


1 Comment »

  1. That is a very interesting story Jeremy! Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Jude Gumbrecht — January 8, 2019 @ 10:30 pm

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