Understanding what labels are helps in their removal from the conscious mind. What may seem difficult at this stage, no matter any experience gained, must be considered doable at its core because, eventually, it will become easy. This change of label should be key in understanding why labels are of no use and actually do not have any value in personal progress; what is perceived difficult now will become easy yet still be considered difficult to another.
Both individuals would do well to remove the label and simply spend time on making natural progress, with every musical moment considered indescribable.
Because labels come from the ego’s need to be in control at all times, conscious thought must be involved. It is a conscious decision to say to oneself, “This is really difficult” or “I enjoy this because it’s very easy to play”. Further, this usually results in avoidance of the perceived difficulties and repetition of the easier components since it satisfies the ego to act as such.
What results is staleness in playing because the easy parts are repeated and the difficult parts are never worked on. This is not progress. Thus, labels have a detrimental effect on the pianist.
Conscious thought, in any artistic discipline, ruins natural artistic results. Much in the same way as one rides a bike without conscious awareness of balance yet never falls off, the Water Pianist has achieved a sense of ‘playing without playing’, as if observing the hands as a spectator without any conscious involvement in the performance.
Whether performing concert repertoire, improvising or playing privately for personal enjoy, one is strongly advised to spend equal time on that which is currently considered easy and that which is currently considered difficult.
The Water Pianist actively strives to follow the middle way, to avoid excessively ego-satisfying time with easy content and excessively over-stressful time with currently difficult content.
From the very early stages of traditional pianism, it is expected by the student of a teacher that a course be set out which adheres to the ‘needs’ of the student. Both teacher and student then begin on the established path with the student trusting the teacher’s guidance and the teacher judging the progress of the student based on pre-established expectations and past experiences at what is an ‘acceptable’ pace of progress.
The ego of the student is constantly fed with words of encouragement by the teacher in the form of comparisons with the ‘norm’, that something is being done ‘correctly’ and that, before long, they will have ‘achieved’ their ambitions.
The Water Pianist is vehemently against such traditional approaches. Instead of hoping for ego-nourishment in its many harmful forms, the Water Pianist does not conform to a curriculum, is not conscious of any norms, understands that pianism does not have a correct way and that, since ambitions do not exist, the verb ‘achieve’ is completely redundant.