I became a better pianist during the pandemic.
Okay, maybe I'd rather have skipped the pandemic and not improved my playing, or better yet, skipped the pandemic and still improved. Yeah, that'd be best of all. But here I am. Lockdown, Chick Corea's death and some seriously quiet thoughtful times have all coincided/conspired to help me be a better me at the piano. I say "a better me" because the older I get, the less I want to be some famous pianist who either plays better than me or who has more outward success. It's not that I don't want success or higher skills, but rather that I just want to be myself, but a never-stop improving version of myself. When I play sometimes, I almost don't recognize my playing, as if it's coming from somewhere else. It's not that I can't summon up my usual stylistic mechanisms, but rather, my hands/ears/heart seem to take me somewhere else frequently. I'll often read through transcriptions- Miles, Bird, Bill Evans, Brad Meldhau, Chick, Keith Jarrett, Bud Powell, Jacob Collier etc. to stretch my ears, my reading and to bring new ideas to my hands and ears. But when I just sit down to play, I don't tend to adopt as much from others consciously as you'd think. Or if I do, I'm not usually aware of it. My hands just.......go somewhere, and then I hear it and go "Oh, that's interesting." My touch has changed. Gotten softer. My time is getting better - less rushing the beat. My accuracy has improved. My chord voicings have changed without my really thinking about it. Sometimes when I hear myself recorded, it's the same old same old, but more often lately, it's someone else, and yet, it's me. I'm enjoying this process, and I'm thankful for it. But yeah, woulda been nice without the pandemic.