The Way We Play

I once heard this story of a student auditioning at a school of music.  

He had exhaustively prepared his audition piece.  During the actual audition, though, the instructor interrupted him almost immediately and asked him to play it differently.

That’s great.  Now, play it at double speed.

Now, play it at half speed.

Now, play it like Adele sings. 

Now play it like Santana.

Now play it like Dylan.

The teacher wanted to see how well the student adapted to the challenge of changing his default mode.

In life, we typically have a default “way we play.”  Call it our personality, or our narrative, or our way of being.  It has helped us survive this long and do some things well.

Crucial to the skill of living artfully, though, is beginning to see this “way we play” as limited, learn to experiment with playing differently, and then watch new doors open wide.