what the piano has taught me about acting

I fell in love with the piano from the first lesson I ever took at seven years old. My mom told me I loved it so much that I would come home and immediately learn to play every single song my teacher had given me to practice throughout the week.Who needed six more days when I had today? I couldn’t wait. I was hooked.

How great to embrace everything in my life like that. Why wait for tomorrow when you have today? I love this quote by Jerry Rice:

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” 

As an actor in this intensely competitive entertainment industry, I have to have this mentality. I have to be proactive instead of sitting around waiting for my agents or manager to call… which got me thinking about all the unexpected similarities between playing the piano and acting.

When you’re reading music, you have to look at one note or chord at a time. If you jump ahead, you’ll miss the notes right in front of you. The same goes for being in a scene. You can’t be thinking about your line ten lines from now or how the scene ends or you’ll miss out on being real and authentic in the present moment.Just as each individual note and chord make up a beautiful piece of music, each individual moment makes up a beautiful, authentic scene.

I have also found that the more I focus on not messing up, in both the piano and acting, the more I mess up. The more I worry about playing wrong notes, the more wrong notes I play. And the more I worry about people’s opinions of my acting, the more pulled out of the scene I get.

It doesn’t matter who is listening to me play the piano. It doesn’t matter who is watching me act. That doesn’t affect me. If a casting director is eating a sandwich during my audition, not even looking at me, that has no effect on my job of “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances” as Meisner puts it.

I was lucky enough to be able to combine my love for the piano with my love for acting in a short film, Harper Abbott.

So whether you are playing the piano, acting in a scene, or just living your life day to day, if you can surrender to each moment and not worry about external circumstances, everything you do will be so much more authentic, heartfelt, and beautiful.

Now if it only weren’t easier said than done… !

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1 Response

  1. Liz says:

    I hated piano. ���� Love that picture at the bottom!

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