Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Over-Thinking Meets Trust

Yesterday, I was practicing a scale exercise (the kind of practicing that drives the other member of my family, whose office is directly below my studio, a little mad). The point of the exercise is to train your hands to switch from one pattern to another very quickly and it's surprisingly difficult to play it well.

As I was working my brain tuned out for a moment and I noticed that as a result I was playing much more cleanly and precisely than I had been when my mind was fully engaged, thinking about what came next, anticipating the next scale pattern. I had put in enough practice time that my fingers and hands knew the exercise better than my brain. I would even go so far as to say that my over-thinking mind was getting in the way.

I had to smile to myself when I realized that because, really, what's new? 

Over-thinking is and always has been a problem for me. It was a problem in my 5th grade math class. It can affect my friendships and make me feel badly about things I should be brushing off. It can cause stress and worry. It can make me mess up my Hungarian scale exercises.

I should say that this tendency isn't all bad. I think that being an over-thinker is tied to being conscientious, introspective and thoughtful. I would rather be an over-thinker than somebody who goes through life brashly and without scrutiny or reflection.

But I think there's a happy place somewhere in the middle. When I find myself over-thinking these days I try to notice it and move on. Deep breaths and prayer are a good idea here if the thing I'm over-thinking is stressful or emotional. And choosing to trust is a good idea no matter what. Choosing to trust God, choosing to trust the math equation, choosing to trust my fingers to find the right keys. 


  1. So wise! In the deep recesses of our brains we all know things and can do things that we aren't even aware of. A little trust and calm can let these competences pop to the surface and solve our problems. Music playing is so great for showing us these kinds of truths!

  2. Glad you liked the post! Also, thanks for helping me through 5th grade math. (Not to blow your cover or anything!) Hard times. Haha.


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