Recap of Piano Challenge

NKC#3: PiaNO or PiaYES?

Posted by Nicholas Hugh Sam | 02 April 2018 | Read Time: 7 min

PiaYES !!!!! I’m glad to announce that after all my FML moments, I was able to succesfully complete my piano challenge !

My whole piano performance can be found below.


My Challenges

This month was THE worst so far. To put you in context, I had a month to complete the challenge, chose my song 15 days into the challenge, learnt the first 3 seconds of it, had a NANI?! moment, never practiced the song again, had a mental hughsambros breakdown, changed my song on March 29th and failed a bunch of times during my “live performance”.

So, let me break that down for you guys !

Chose my song 15 days later:

Okay so, what I learned from last challenge was that I had to practice more and go about it the right way. Consequently, I told myself that I’ll learn about piano theory at first (yeah nick, because 2 weeks of piano theory is totally going to help you with this challenge…). At first it was going pretty well, I was following this YouTube tutorial and getting familiar with the keyboard (but hey, at least I know my Do Re Mi Fa So La Si Do or C D E F G A B C). I did that for about the whole first week and the week after that was a bit of a blur and I’m pretty sure I didn’t do much.

At this point, 2 weeks later, I was like, okay nick, time to choose your song and start practicing because if not you’ll 100% fail this challenge. And since I was in a litty state, I wanted to play God’s Plan by Drake. I had this whole PLAN in my head of like starting the song with half the time left and then still nailing it so you know, it would be “god’s plan” that I completed this challenge NA MEANN haha…. Yeah, my master plan didn’t work out.

Learnt the first 3 seconds of it:

I was on YouTube right, typing “God’s Plan Piano Tutorial” and I stumbled upon two promising tutorials. The first one was the “EASY” version and the other one was like the normal version. So me being overconfident, I was like “pfftttt, 15 days, screw the easy version, I GOTSS this”. > SPOILER: I definitely didn’t GOTSS this, it GOTSS me

I then started watching the tutorial and realized that the left side was really easy to play because it was basically 4 chords repeating all the time. I viewed the left hand about 4 times and I was like “okay got this”. I then moved to the right hand, which was the more complicated hand. I learned the mini-intro (the part being like DUN DUN DUN DUN) with my right hand fairly easily, so I was like “cool, I’ll be able to finish this in 15 days EASY”

Had a NANI?! moment:

For those who don’t know what NANI?! is, here’s a short clip for y’all:


This upcoming part, was the ÉLÉMENT DÉCLENCHEUR (shoutout to my high school french teachers) of my story. After learning the right hand and the left hand, it was now time to COMBINE them. ANNDD…. I REALLY couldn’t do it… Like at all. I would start with my left hand and then as soon as my right hand would start, I would lose all the pace with my left hand. And that’s when I was like NANI?! I have to use two sides of my brain for this shizzz or what.

Never practiced the song again:

Later that day and for the next 6 days, I got depressed about my nani moment and barely practiced. I attempted to play it again for like 4 chords, but every time I would fail. Clearly, I was deeply failing this challenge.

Had a mental hughsambros breakdown:

After my nani moment, I was really like re-thinking this whole hughsambros thing because at that point, I failed my 0 and 1st challenges, neutral 2nd challenge and I was about to fail this 3rd one. And I hated the fact that I wasn’t doing challenges that had a good evaluation function. Like, doing 100 push ups is easy to evaluate, I either do 100 or I don’t as simple as that. But with the cooking, rap and piano challenges like… It was very convoluted. So I was thinking of changing ALL my challenges and put nothing “artistic” that were based on preferences and subjective views. However, after talking to Alex, I remembered why I even started these challenges and that reason is to try out things that I like. With that in mind, I was able to continue pushing.

Changed my song on March 29th:

So, fast forward a few days, after an AWESOME Toronto trip with the Totem Fam, we were doing this Totem Round Table and we were all presenting our projects. So I went up and talked about how screwed I was for my challenge. 3 days left and still no results. But then, a little light called Mich aka Oh Mic!, after telling me how fucking crazy it was to try to do a medley of 3 songs in a month(my OG OG goal), was like “you know, it doesnt matter whether you fail or succeed in your challenges, I don’t know why you’re putting so much pressure on yourself to actually accomplish them because at times, you often learn more from your failures than your successes. Just freaking take a easy song, learn it and you’ll be good.” Or something along those words. And I was like mindblown by what he said because it was true. I set out this challenges to mostly learn about myself and not actually beat these challenges.

I then came back home, and was starting to search the EASIEST songs such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, etc. But being, the competitive fellow I am, I wasn’t going to settle on playing a 30 seconds song just for the sake of it. So after a few YouTube clicks. I landed on my current song. Young, dumb and broke !

Failed during my “live performance”:

My live performance consisted of 2 people and a bunch of YouTube viewers since I posted it ! But for this part, you’ll just have to watch the bloopers ;).

What I would do differently

Honestly, after all the challenges that I faced, I wouldn’t do anything differently about this challenge. I learned a bunch of stuff about myself during this challenge and learned how challenging piano was and if that isn’t what the Kaizen Challenge is all about, then I truly am Young Dumb and Broke (I didnt know what to say to finish it off nicely…)

But honestly though, if I had more time, I would learn God’s plan because that song is littttttt.

What I did well

Well well, even though this challenge was a disaster, I still did a few good things. Most notably:

Having a supportive Entourage:

Yupp, it’s true. I could’ve had a bunch of douchey friends who were like “yoooo, screw this challenge, you’re gonna fail it anyway, just move on to the next one”, but instead, pretty much everyone encouraged me and gave me wise advice that helped me continue and utlimately, pass my challenge.

Being smart about my last song choice:

I mean, forreal, I was really good at choosing a song that I was able to learn in 3 days that wasn’t super hard, but was still challenging enough for me to continue pushing until the end of the challenge.

What I learned

Piano is hard:

Why no shizzle nich. Of course it’s hard, but let’s not forget that I chose piano because I thought it would be easier than guitar and violin. But yeah, I never thought about the 2 sides of the brain thing and I only learnt it thanks to this challenge. So if you want your kids to be good multitaskers, make them learn the piano !!

Remember your purpose:

I talked about it in my challenges, but I’ll say it again. REMEMBER YOUR WHY. I was so consumed in passing my challenges, that I forgot to have fun and forgot that the journey is more important than the destination !

Obviously, I learned to play a song:

Yay !

Most importantly, and sounds cheesy af, but I learned not to give up:

And this isn’t the, NO MATTER WHAT, JUST CONTINUE DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND YOU’LL GET IT. It’s more of the THERE ARE INFINITE PATHS TO THE SAME GOAL. Be creative, find loopholes, think outside the box. If you think that the direction that you’re currently taking isn’t bringing you anywhere, then just find another way to get to where you want to be. In my head, I thought that completing my challenge was equal to learn God’s Plan ( I swear, I never thought of switching songs to an easier one until that Round Table lol), but actually, I could’ve learned Happy Birthday and I would have still passed my challenge. Because at the end of the day, you’re the one who knows whether you’re satisfied with your destination or not.

THAT’S IT FOR ME. LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT CHALLENGE. PEACEEEE.

- Nich.

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