Learning to play the piano is a lot like kickboxing. They don’t seem like they would have anything in common. Kickboxing is a whole body, cardio workout. And, playing the piano is a quiet, refined activity . . . unless, you’re playing Eye of the Tiger. I’m not that good.
I started kickboxing fitness classes the week that I took my youngest child to college. I work out for fitness. Don’t know what I would do if someone punched back. Yikes. But, I won’t deny daydreaming that the bag is an attacker who I take by surprise.
A couple of months ago I started piano lessons. My daughter is teaching me over Skype. An interesting experience for sure.
So many things to keep track of. Sit up straight. Round my fingers. Play the right note. Keep time. Hit some notes harder and others softer. Slur some notes together. Overwhelming.
I feel like I’m playing well and then I have my lesson. My daughter gives corrections and pointers. Apparently, I often let a couple of beats go by between measures because I am not prepared for the next measure. I don’t even hear those extra beats, probably because I am trying to remember what to do. She says to look ahead and anticipate the next measure. I’m working on it.
Then I go to the kickboxing gym. First, I jab (the punch with my left hand). Extend the arm all the way, but not quite. Punch with the fist (palm side down) at face level. Keep the other hand at my face for protection. Pull back quickly.
Then I cross. This is the power punch with my right hand. Extend the arm, face level. But, now I bend my knee and twist my body for the power. Raise my foot to stand on the toe and twist like I am squishing a bug. That’s how the instructors explain it.
Kicks have even more things to keep track of. Foot placement and hand movement all at the same time. And don’t fall over.
For each three-minute round, the instructor gives a series of moves. I try to remember all the things. I feel pretty good until the instructor checks my progress. I’m like a kid in school again. But, I’ve got the moves down. Until the instructor says, “A little higher. You don’t want to punch their neck.”
In learning piano and kickboxing, I have to concentrate to remember all of the nuances of the art. Sometimes I focus on one aspect at the expense of the others, in hopes that after some practice, it will come naturally and I won’t have to think about it. Then I focus on another. In kickboxing, I try to anticipate the next move. Don’t want to let too many beats go by between measures.
As I kick the bag and try to remember everything, I think, “This is just like the piano.” Then I start to count beats with the punches and kicks.
The two activities are exactly the same . . . except for the whole boxing thing.