Best Practice for Challenging Passages

Our current “sheltering at home” evokes the image of Odysseus at sea, battening down the hatches and waiting out the storm.  Homer’s Odysseus faced his fear. As an adventurer, he chose to confront the unknown. He was prepared to face novel challenge, take the scars, and gain strength from learnings. This is the arc of adventure.

For us, the unknown came uninvited. At first unprepared strategically and psychologically, we now are mustering strength, reserves and finding best practice. Can we face the novel challenge, take the scars, and gain strength from learnings? Might the phases of pandemic be accompanied by an arc of societal growth?  

Recall your first piano recital performance. Unexpected fear? Legs shaking? What were the aftermath emotions? I recall a mental scramble for excuses; then psychological diffusion morphed to reflection, learning, and an intense motivation to “nail it” next time. Challenge, scars, and learnings—the arc of personal growth.

For mythical Odysseus of ancient Greece, for times of social crisis, and for performance preparation, challenging passages are overcome by best practice.

So maybe, just maybe, the extra time of “sheltering at home” offers a silver lining. What to do with that time?  We can practice. And perhaps that’s our best practice. This is an opportune time for students to surge ahead with practice hours. Also, for we teachers to enjoy, appreciate and practice our own pianism. This can be a unique time for professional growth and, more importantly, for emotional solace.

Shall we begin a project together?  I’ll share performance and musings as together we learn a piece by Beethoven. Are you up for the challenge? The learnings? Please watch for our next blog post to embark on a community adventure!


Randall Faber
April 7, 2020

2 replies on “Best Practice for Challenging Passages”

  • Thank you for the encouragement! I have been teaching for many years but now with the pandemic going on and “staying in place”, I have just now stumbled upon your website. Your books are my favorite series and I have been switching many students over to them. I am enjoying the wealth of information and encouragement here. Looking forward to more webinars, videos, and posts!

  • Hi Randy
    I studied with you 30 years ago in Ann Arbor. I have been out of the teaching loop since I moved to Florida 3 years ago. This series has been so great for me. It’s great to see you again

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