Long hours of work require pushing through the boredom, and the boring aspects of achieving my goals have been a big problem. Not only do these tasks I have to do everyday fatigue me, but until recently, I didn’t see any value in them either. I always used to think of myself as an extraordinary kid. But I see now that I am nothing more than extra ordinary, maybe even just an ordinary extra in this world.
I have been playing the piano for 8 years now, and I am no concert pianist (yet), but I can safely say that I have moved far past playing Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star. For about 6 of those years, I never thought of piano as anything but a task. Another mundane task that my mother added to my busy week. From Monday to Friday, once I was back from school, I always had an activity to go to. Whether it be piano, badminton, swimming, tutoring, my mother somehow found a way to sneak me into all these beginner classes. And of course, who was 5-year old Adi to refuse the glaring eyes and daunting, wagging index finger of a mother.
Every Thursday, from 2011 to 2015, I attended piano classes from 7-8 pm. Meanwhile, my parents would go out for coffee and snacks with my little brother (until he was inevitably thrust into piano as well the moment he crossed to 5). I never thought anything of the class, it was a do-and-done situation for me. Blindly listen to the same young, lame teacher trying to collect volunteering hours for high-school and do the bare minimum of work.
Between class days, I would practice 30-40 minutes a day until the next Thursday rolled around. This cycle repeated for a longer time than I could fathom, and I never saw the value in continuous practice until much later into my playing.
Technical piano work is something I dreaded until just a few months ago. As many of my teachers have told me, the technical work is just as important as the practical side of piano. Scales, arpeggios, chords, all these little things count greatly towards progress in piano. But for me, it was hard to even the bare the sight of a technical book. For some odd reason, I resented playing those stupid progressions of notes. Just those 10 minutes that I was told to practice seemed like hours when I sat down on my crooked wooden bench.
Not only did I find it boring, I saw no result of improvement in my playing. I continuously had the same problems with finger coordination, tempo and a plethora of mistakes. Looking back, if I had just enjoyed those ten minutes and I actually put in the effort, I would be a far better player today.
In the past year or so, I have started to not only enjoy classical piano, but look forward to my practice sessions daily. Technical work is not a boring task anymore because I forced myself to enjoy it and do it daily. And now, I can’t go a day without it. Now that I am tackling pieces I only dreamt I would be able to play, I see the value in the repetitive scales and such I worked at for years. My fingers feel lighter, my arms are free of tension, and I finally see the value. I guess sometimes, the boring things are what matter after all.
No matter how much I attempted to avoid these tasks, they found their way into my day and have followed me since. Ultimately though, it was the the only way I found to escape that frightening gaze of my mother, berating me to do my scales. And it is now that I realize that it has already opened up to so much more in piano.