Last night I had a dream. I was playing the piano and realized that one song that I'd loved forever and played for a long time I was playing incorrectly. In one of the phrases I was playing a note, one that, ironically, took the arpeggio "down" instead of "up" like it was supposed to be.
Upon realizing that I was looking at the music and seeing for the first time that I was playing it wrong, I thought long and hard about that. The way I'd played it for years sounded ok. Good in fact. It felt natural and I played it through a few times to make sure that I was hearing what I was seeing--and in fact I knew I wasn't. I thought about whether it was worth the effort to learn to do it correctly. Play it the way the composer intended. And I knew that I needed to play it the way it was supposed to be...the song just wasn't right in the other way any more and I would know that I was selling out.
So, I determined that I was going to learn to play the phrase correctly. Doing so would take effort, practice and determination. If you've ever played the piano, you know about muscle memory and how your hands will at some point just take over and do what they're supposed to do. This frees you up to express and provide other components to the music that aren't strictly technical.
When I started on retraining myself it was difficult. I knew that if I wasn't diligent that my hands would go back to doing things they way they wanted to and I would have to slow down, pay attention and work on making the transition from the incorrectly learned phrase to the next one...after all the muscle memory is in the transition too.
So, I slowed down, played the phrase over and over again until it felt better, then I added my left hand into the phrase to play its part and kept going slow until they wanted to work together well and then I started speeding up to the correct speed. After I got that down, I moved to the next phrase to see that my hands could go there and they did.
I woke up before I played the whole song, but wow...dreams can bring us powerful messages if we're willing to listen.