By: Konner Scott
There was a time during the midst of the COVID pandemic, not too long ago, where I spent most of my days shut up in a practice room. I was both teaching for and managing Highland Music Studio, and the remainder of my free time was spent logging the hours on piano, in an effort to develop my craft and push my playing to the next level.
That was a period of huge growth in my music. With the single-minded focus I was able to employ, my skill set rapidly grew, and I found myself able to conquer more challenging pieces with greater ease.
There was just one problem… my playing felt very stale and robotic. Despite the fact that I could employ raw skill in order to play these complex pieces, I was finding it difficult to give them life. There was just nothing inspiring about my playing, despite the positive results of endless hours of work.
Slowly, I began to give myself permission to enjoy life’s experiences a little more. I started going for runs, meeting up with friends more, and listening to music because I enjoyed it- not because I felt like I had to study it to improve my playing. I kept the gas pedal down on my work life and my practice life, but I created some space for the experiential joys that life has to offer.
Almost immediately, life came back into my playing. By allowing myself to feel, to live, and to experience, I found I could more readily access those emotions while I was playing, and it became easier to channel them into my music.
In particular, my creativity came back. While I was in my “practice hole”, I was almost solely focused on replicating the works of other musicians and composers. Once I started to step out of my shell and live in the real world, I found myself imbued with ideas and brimming with creative energy. I began to write again, and to challenge myself to play existing songs & compositions in new and innovative ways.
There’s a lot to be said for spending time in the practice room. After all, it’s the only way to truly develop your skill set. But LIVING- for the sake of living- is what gives your music life.