I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING WRONG!
“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!”. It was funny the first couple times, but now it must have been the seventh lift. My arms were getting tired and sore! My friend was also no longer laughing and I could see her questioning my once
xperienced knowledge of “canoe-ship” behind her eyes.
We were attempting to put my very heavy canoe (approximately 80 pounds) on top of her black SUV. We had done this so easily just the summer before, so I wasn’t sure why it was such a struggle this time.
My idea (to make it easier) was to lift the canoe onto our shoulder and then over our heads onto the SUV.
What I didn’t realize were my efforts were actually making the task much more challenging than necessary! I literally forgot how to lift a canoe.
Have you ever felt like this? Something that you know and have done thousands of times and suddenly, after some time has gone by, you go to attempt it again and realize you’ve completely forgotten how!? This can be both frustrating and self-deprecating.
I know, as musicians and parents, we see this all the time. That piece I once played for my exam on the piano? Gone. Just like that. Where did it go? It took a hike, said “See ya never!” and walked out of my brain.
Okay, maybe not…but that’s definitely how it felt! I know it once existed there but it felt like my brain developed a hole and lost some vital information that I once treasured…and I wanted it back!
I am telling you this story because I know you have all been there at least once. And I want to tell you that there is hope. That voice in your head saying, “It’s gone!”? That’s a lie. Or that voice that tells you “You can’t do it.” is also a lie! Don’t listen! Take a breath. And trust that it’s still inside you. Take time with that piece (play it hands separate first if on the keys or try warming up your voice more or play it slower than you once could). You’ve got this. It will come back and a lot more quickly than if you had never played it before.
I looked at my friend and said “You know, maybe I’m remembering this wrong. I think I’m panicking because I’m worried the canoe is too heavy but I don’t remember it being this difficult last summer. Let’s try lifting directly over our heads in one smooth motion.”
We got it that time! In one smooth motion we lifted the heavy canoe from the ground up and over our heads. We laughed a little and easily place the canoe on top of her SUV. Even though we had tired ourselves out by attempting to lift it incorrectly ten times prior this time was filled with ease. It just took time for me to remember how.
So before you give up on that beautiful piece you could once play, know that it’s still there. It may take a little time and patience to remember it, but you will never really forget it. Just be patient with yourself!