Posted By Tina Dubin, Ph.D. on August 22, 2013 at 10:46am | General, Tina's Musings

These are my thoughts and reactions as I play the piano.  I think you can recognize in them the self-talk and self-reflection we all experience as we perform and put ourselves out in the world each day.

Playing the piano can become a time of fantasy and drama for me – as I imagine who is listening and what they are thinking.  It’s easy to get carried away.  Indeed, sometimes I have to remind myself to “just play the piece, Tina.”  It doesn’t have to be all about your performance – it can also just be about the music.



Actually, you don’t even get to fantasize or dramatize unless you play the notes right.  Focusing our attention on getting the notes right is a good way to get out of our heads. For those of us who may spend too much time there.  It’s important to get involved in “doing” – not just feeling and thinking.  Remember you only get to create a fun fantasy if you get the notes right.



Playing well (or building,  dancing or painting well) is a gift to oneself.



When I sit down at the piano I find myself searching for particular pieces or styles of music.  When I eventually stop and look at what I’ve chosen to play, it helps me to understand what I’m needing at the time and thus what I’m feeling.  [read  Looking At Ourselves and Our Feelings]

Stop and look at times to see what you find yourself yearning for or drawn to – the bed, the popcorn, the wine, certain books or movies or people?  What does it say about what you’re needing and feeling?

When my world is chaotic, I tend to go for classical pieces.  They’re so beautiful, orderly and timeless that I feel reassured of good and order in the universe.

Lately, I’m into Latin jazz.  It’s majestic, moving, poignant and fun.  It works great when you’re Freaked Out About Aging .



It’s nice, kind of reassuring, that there is one right note.  It means I can figure it out.  Even nicer, that  there are other options that work.  Music, like life, allows for more than one good possibility.


There are times when I make mistakes as I play and get into blaming myself.  “I’m careless; I’m lazy.”  (Hello Survival Child).  Then I realize that this part of the piece is really difficult.



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Posted by Tina Dubin, Ph.D.

I received my doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1977. I completed my post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling Center. Since then, I have been a research associate at the Institute of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Texas, a founding associate of Family Eldercare, and have been in private practice with my husband, Dr. William Dubin, at Psychological ARTS since 1980.

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