“Has so much potential”.

“Has so much potential”.

I heard that a lot as a kid.
“Has so much potential”.

At first, I read it as a complement.

But it wasn’t long before I saw it had a sinister meaning buried within. Shame, guilt, “if only”….

They say I was tapping Christmas carols on my highchair at 1.5 yrs old.

I was noodling on piano at 4 yrs old (“Get him off, he’s gonna break it!”) and it sounded like jingle bells, probably because it was.

Piano lessons not long after. Almost did Julliard at 10/11 yrs old ’til I could see the disaster looming before me and said, “Do I have to go to Julliard?” when almost everything was setup for me to go.

Thankfully, my mother was more relieved than disappointed, which shocked me.

In the middle, school band with one teacher insisting I play EVERY instrument in band (at least for a few weeks) and I did, lugging home Tuba and Trombone, Clarinet and god knows what else.

Bit of piano improvisational lessons and then no more of that stuff.

Every single play I wanted to get on stage. “Oh we need YOU at the piano”.


It WAS easy.

And that was the problem. I didn’t want a challenge in musical perfection but neither did I want to be a workhorse, “Piano Man” of every occasion, slave to the keyboard.

I enjoy composing on the fly. Noodling around. Give me a styrofoam cup and I’ll make a song.

So, is it talent? Yeah.

Born? Maybe deprivation of oxygen during birth or excess oxygen in an incubator. I lean towards that over genetics.

But it only gives me pleasure when I create. Music itself is the thing. Applause drains it. Criticism drains it. It is what it is and is good in that it’s good.


Oh I loved the challenges. Music is within every physical object and figuring out how to convince physics to get it out just right is unspeakable joy.


What I didn’t like is when I was USED. Don’t use me. I don’t want to be somebody’s project.


The “perfect practice” thing is true though, not just for music but for all things.

At the MOMENT of error: STOP.
Don’t learn the mistake.
Go back and do it again, as slow as you need.

That doesn’t speak to talent / lack of talent but it speaks to effective learning technique and applies to any learning.



August 19, 2014 ·I wrote about perfect practice. I’m trying to find the study that confirmed it for me at the time.

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