Love, Learn, Live

skill's joy-layer-cake
The Love-Learn-Live scale is an overarching principle, not so much for piano or music specifically, but for “skill” in general.

It’s much like (baking) a layer-cake, where more layers represent deeper involvement.

Imagine a cake.

What do you see?

One with an abundance of lush layers, cream and generous frosting on top?

Or just the simple, no-fuss, single-layer sponge?

Perhaps you prefer the more extravagant ones only in certain flavors and styles, while your favorite cookie is just that simple piece of crumb.

Skills are like cakes.

The more layers it has, the deeper your involvement, the more significant your sense of joy derived from it.

As with single-layered cakes, for some skills, you like to keep things simple and superficial - just watching someone else perform a magic trick, while not feeling inclined to perform any magic yourself, for instance.

Other skills intrigue you enough to become more involved. You might regularly go to museums, and even try some painting yourself.

For any skill that’s sparked our interest, we sit in one of its joy-cake’s three layers.

  1. Love - the foundation (or “crumb”).
  2. Learn - the filling (or “cream”).
  3. Live - the topping (or “icing/cherry”)

Love - crumb.

The Foundational, Sponge Layer

Any skill that catches your eye starts with that moment of first contact. Often you experience someone else performing it.

IF the skill stands any chance of making its way into your life in a more significant way, there’s the spark.

Interest is aroused.

This is the first ingredient you’ll need to enter the phase of creating the cake’s foundational layer “love.”

As with love of any kind, soon enough you’ll know. Is this for real?

If so, you’ve found a new hobby - which makes for a delicious crumb.

If your main ingredient - interest - is of high enough quality, that “crumb” (your love) might turn out even better, where your hobby evolves into a passion.

But, since we’re still only in love, it’s a “passive” type of passion.

One of the spectator. The consumer.

For some skills you’re fine with just staying in love forever.

I would argue though, as I’m sure that anybody who has ever tried to learn any skill (likely all of you reading this), when “love” is strong enough, at some point it becomes hard to stay there.

You want to know more. You want to try it for yourself.

That’s when we start thinking about adding the next layer - “learn.”


Learn - filling.

The Cream of the Matter

Like adding a next layer to a cake, when the passion is strong enough for putting in the effort to do it right, the overall cake (often) improves.

It’s the same with the sense of joy you derive from a skill.

Learning something provides welcome challenges and insights that will in fact increase, improve, your level of joy.

“Learning” therefore enhances “loving.”

Not to get too philosophical here, but let that sink in for a moment and consider the fact that this is actually quite true for anything (and anyone) you love.

Learn more about it - or them - and the bond deepens.

This is not to say that the learning phase is smooth-sailing exclusively. It’s not always easy and you’ll encounter bumps, hiccups and challenges.

Some might even seem insurmountable.

But like with a cake, those difficult-to-produce middle-layers (yes - like with the middle layers in our metaphorical cake “learn” is multi-layered) often are what gives the cake it’s allure.

That’s the beauty - it is in those these layers, in the moments of challenge, where you discover whether your drive and persistence (as well as your fundament of “love”) is strong enough.

Whether it is solid enough to conquer and accept those quirks, flaws and obstacles to push through when creating all that creamy-goodness, and perhaps even start thinking about a frosty level beyond.

If not, it’s perfectly ok to let yourself strand somewhere one of “learn’s” layers and just have it helped you to increase your level of joy up to there.

A custard cake has only one, fairly simple extra layer and tastes delicious.

I’m sure many of you have pursued learning multiple different interests that were fun to try out, but not enough to get more serious with.

As mentioned, everyone has their own max level of joy for any skill (some won’t even make it to the “love” phase, obviously). And that’s fine.

Learn is a hard stage and immensely suitable to separate the relevant from the less relevant. It’s vast and deep. A lifelong-journey valley.

Lush layer upon layer of filling can be added.


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If, however, the quality of your love (base crumb) is indeed sufficiently strong to hold all those creamy layers of learning and increasing your your overall level of enjoyment enough, you’ll likely start considering a level even beyond.

A level where you’re not just welcoming those new challenges, but also desire to pass on what you’ve learned, sharing your skill with the world.

It’s where you truly integrate the skill into your life, deepening your bond even further.

That’s where we enter the layer of “live.”


Live - icing.

& Cherries on Top

You could argue that living - integrating the skill into your life in a significant way by sharing what you’ve learned - is only for a select few skills.

And I agree that it’s definitely not for all things you try.

I would, however, argue that a skill is likely much faster-suited for living than you might think.

On top of sharing - putting your work out there for others to enjoy, sparking their interest, fueling their love, but moreover teaching - being one of the best ways to learn the skill better yourself, it’s also immensely rewarding.

It’s a wonderful way to go full circle, when you are able to help others find that first ingredient for baking their crumb, then even taking them beyond to the creamy layers of learning - all the while benefiting your own proficiency with the skill you love.

As with “learning” enhancing the “loving,” so “living” also enhances your “learning” (which in turn.. you guessed it).

Therefore, if your love for a skill was strong enough to take you to the layer of learn, I can only highly recommend to try living.

Perhaps sooner than you’d thought.


How’s your cake?

& What Kind Would You Like?

Some cakes are simple, existing just out of the single layer of sponge.

Others have thick, lush layers of cream, icing and cherries on top.

The more layers, the deeper the involvement.

The same goes for the skills we encounter in our lives.

The more layers of joy we add, the deeper the sense of joy derived, the more fulfillment we’re able to retrieve from them.

Like with a layered cake, where cream is added on top of a base to enhance the overall thing, you don’t leave “love” to go to “learn.”

You add “learn” and thereby enhance your overall level of your joy - you enrich your “love.”

When done correctly - with every layer added on top of the other, the overall cake gets better and better.

Where are you on the joy-spectrum of piano and music?

Are you in “love?” Enjoying music just for the sound of it? Are you curious? Interested to find out what that magic you hear - but don’t yet fully understand - is? How it works?

Or are you already learning? Having the stuff make more and more sense. Even being able to (re)produce most of what you hear with your ears or in your mind.

Do you agree that these insights have indeed increased your level of joy?

Our goal is to take you to the next level, whatever that might be for you, and deepen the joy you derive from the thing I can with fair certainty say we all - at least - “love.”


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