John Man, pianist and philosopher, has reportedly been struggling to learn a difficult section of a Chopin Waltz over the past few months. Even though he has listened to “the recording” many times, somehow he never seems to be able to play the whole thing through.
“This has really been troubling me for a while now,” he said. “Whenever I try to play it, I get to this one very difficult part and my performance comes crumbling down. I actually have to stop playing every time.”
Man’s friends were very familiar with this struggle. “It’s not that he is struggling to get it right,” said one, “it’s that he is successfully getting it wrong. Every time.”
Recently, Man tried something a little bit different just to spice things up. “Normally I work myself up into a passionate frenzy and play through the whole thing at full speed regardless of which notes I hit,” he said. “This time I thought that maybe I should practise it instead.”
Many were shocked to hear of his unusual plan, but Man did not let this dissuade him. The results, he says, were astonishing. “It got much easier to play it after I practised it. I’m not sure what sort of magic must have been working on me but it really did the trick.”
Man is very pleased to have discovered this bold new approach and says he looks forward to doing it once or twice more to some other pieces, possibly. “I wouldn’t want to push my luck,” he said. “I doubt this would work every time.”