October 26, 2022

About the Author: Andy Barge

Andy Barge is a student of S & C Music Center in Dubai and has been playing the piano for 18 months. Hailing from the UK, he currently lives in Oman and works as a Wellness Director for a hotel resort.

I have been playing the Piano with S & C Music Center in Dubai since June 2019 and have been very consistent and, other than holidays, have not taken any significant breaks. Even when I broke my finger on my left hand, Stefan made me practice using only my other ” you can get even better on the right hand”, always the positive thinker! However, due to work commitments earlier this year, I had a hiatus from playing the piano for almost four months as I had to leave my piano back in the UK and couldn’t play until I got my new beauty!

Lo and behold, when I got my hands on my new piece, horror of horrors, I had forgotten how to play! I started playing, and my memory had gone, and my feeling was that I had lost everything, the songs I knew well by memory had faded, and it felt like I was a beginner again. I would guess that I was perhaps 70% less than my previous capacity. however, as Stefan said, “Don’t worry, it will soon come back very quickly” (more positivity, you see). He was correct, and when I returned to my music reading and level 5 piece playing, my decline was not so alarming (maybe 10% less)- it turned out the fundamentals saved me.

Another hobby of mine is swimming. I used to be an excellent swimmer “back in the day” and got back into it at the same time I returned to the piano. Perhaps something about being in your early 40s makes you return to your former glories. Anyway, I digress. With swimming, the key to a smooth, quality swim is the fundamentals. Things like becoming fluid in the water, so you have minimal resistance, the placement of arms, the position of the body in the water and so on. The consistent practice drills you do alongside various swimming techniques aid your overall swimming form and improve this thoroughly. The routines are the thing that builds skills, so even when my fitness had declined significantly, I could still swim very well. Making my fitness up was just a case of rehearsing my drills and then practicing being smooth in the water. The fundamentals I learned in swimming are the things that keep me afloat (pun intended), yet my physical fitness and sharpness of my strokes had declined, but I soon picked them back up.

I feel that being successful at piano and swimming share similar requirements. Although my memory of songs had gone (my fitness), the skills I had learned with Stefan were still there (my technique). My fluidity of playing was a little rusty, but with a touch of practice, my fitness quickly returned. I am grateful I have learnt these things and spent the time learning scales and sight reading, as this helped me get back to speed much faster and helps me believe I am a solid player.

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