Striking the Wrong Chord

October 6, 2013

During my brief stint as a piano student, I remember learning about dissonant chords. Intentionally hitting the wrong chord just didn’t sit well with me. I mean, I hit enough wrong notes by accident, why would I do it on purpose? I remember feeling uneasy during the key strike and couldn’t wait until the harmony was resolved.

Many of us can sing the lyrics to thousands of tunes, even unconsciously headbanging to the sound of Bohemian Rhapsody blaring in the car. But every once in a while, a new song messes with our senses, it perplexes us and we resist tapping our foot to its unpopular groove.

Generally speaking, we typically enjoy what is familiar to us, what is easy. I loved my last job, I felt like I hit my stride and that I was making a difference. But during that final year, things began to feel routine and a bit stale. So I started looking for an unfamiliar chord.

I love this article about why dissonant music strikes the wrong chord in the brain. The author writes, “Dissonance is merely a matter of convention, and that we can learn to love it.” This is how I look at my new gig. It’s different from anything I’ve ever done, but that doesn’t make it bad. It’s actually exciting… and a little terrifying. The good news is, that “new” usually gets better if we face it head on and let ourselves be jazzed about it.

Dissonance, when embraced, is where growth happens. It’s where we give ourselves permission to learn something new and strike just the right chord.



Lea Wasson
October 7, 2013 @ 11:51 am

My mantra lately has been “see mistakes as fascinating!” (sound familiar?) This fits perfectly. Amazing post, as always!

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