My Grandparents had a piano in the room that nobody ever went in. Not one of my family members knew how to play it, well if they did know, they never showed off their talent, not even at Christmas! As a young child I would spend hours sat at that piano trying to work out the music sheets and play something. I never had lessons and never learnt how to play the piano or how to read music. At primary school I made a friend, Jessica, who was able to play the piano and the violin and she practiced everyday after school, her parents also played. I would watch her with envy but I had already told myself by this point that I was not and would never be a musician; I was not good at music.
Music lessons in comprehensive school became a time when I would mess around and not listen because well, why would I listen? I was no good at music. Jessica was the musician and if I tried she as well as the rest of the class would see that I was no good at it so I just didn’t try!
Fast forward quite a lot of years and I have my first child, I seriously could not wait for the day she would be old enough to start piano lessons. That day came when Rayne was 6 and still in school and had a full on fixed mindset! She excitedly skipped into her lesson and walked out half an hour later not so excited!! Rayne was disappointed that she had only learnt how to play ‘middle C’ with her right hand and was frustrated that she was not fluent at playing the piano!
It was around this time that I joined Explorium(an online membership group designed to help parents recognise their child’s passion for learning) and quickly realised that I too had a fixed mindset and a fear of failure. A few months into my membership I could identify my contribution to Rayne’s fear of failure and made an internal promise that I would no longer tell myself I was no good at something or that it was too late to learn. That is why, when Rayne decided she no longer wanted to learn the piano (which was actually my dream, not hers), I decided to take over her lessons. I am now over a month into my lessons and have started playing with 2 hands (Rayne was very impressed!)My aim is to learn how to play “Jingle Bells” by Christmas!
I try and practice daily and Rayne watches from a distance, she can see how my practicing in between lessons is helping me to get better and she can hear me make lots of mistakes which is OK and part of learning. This has been far more valuable than making her take lessons that I wanted her to take, not her.
Have you overcome a fixed mindset and are learning something new? I would love to hear from you…