My friend Frank told me: “All piano pieces are a thing unto themselves. Nothing can prepare you for a piece. You should just jump in and start learning.”
I thought about the wide applicability of this statement, not just to piano pieces, but relationships, jobs, trips to new places, learning to converse in a foreign language – each is a thing unto itself. Nothing can really prepare you for it. You just have to jump in and start learning.
Often, though, we put of jumping in and try to learn by proxy, but reading books on dating will not prepare you for the exhilarations and disappointments of a relationship, a college education will not prepare you for looking for a job and marketing your abilities, travel guides will not tell you where the secret quite spots are, and memorizing lots of grammar will not enable you to converse in a foreign language.
Theory and practice operate in two different realms. Music theory is not the same as playing the piano.
Knowledge and instinct operate in two different realms. Knowledge of ten dance steps doesn’t enable you to dance.
And how you learn a difficult section, Frank explained, “Start with the last note of a section, then play the note before it, then play the note before it, and just keep adding notes.”
Just do it.