The word “piano” doesn’t appear once in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Random House, 2012). Yet this engaging book by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg offers a useful perspective on how to create good habits for piano practice.
The neon sign in the dark, second-floor window at the corner of 61st and Lexington simply read “Eyebrows.” Getting my eyebrows done had never failed to lift my spirits, and on that particular rainy Tuesday evening my spirits needed lifting.
Last summer, when I clicked through photographs for my website, I noticed something amiss on the shots of my hands at the piano. The pinky of my right hand, rather than cupping over the keys, jutted straight out, flexed with an unnatural tension.
Last week at a New York Piano Society audition, I learned first hand the value of having reentry points in my classical piano music.
So instructed Chopin to one of his favorite students, Emile von Gretsch, a member of high society who also happened to be a gifted and hardworking amateur pianist.
Sometimes gripping something one wants out of life is an effective strategy. But in the case of Chopin’s C-sharp minor Nocturne, my determination resulted in a tensed hand, preventing me from playing these piano trills without sufficient fluidity or speed.
Classical piano music may be found even in Yosemite.