Commitment and motivation play key roles when it comes to learning anything new, especially as an adult; learning to play piano is no different! Whether you’re a beginner, or possibly returning to the keys, finding ways to stay motivated and engaged week after week is crucial to your success.
Before you get started, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to staying motivated. As an adult learning a new skill, you’re probably beginning with a specific goal in mind. Your goal should be both clearly defined and made known to your teacher, as it should be the cornerstone of all your lessons. If you have not done so already, take some time now to consider exactly what you’d like to achieve in the long-run with your lessons.
Now let’s explore a few tips for staying motivated:
- Don’t Practice According to Deadlines
Students taking weekly lessons tend to practice songs according to the ‘deadline’ of their next lesson. Some try to master songs in the interim by setting unrealistic practice goals–and often the failure to get through, say, a two-hour session each day can become a source of frustration. Our tip here is to stop playing to the clock! Instead, aim to practice daily for a reasonable period of time that gives you the opportunity to actually enjoy the music you’re making. Your progress will follow–even if not by your weekly ‘deadlined’ lesson–and that’s okay.
- Don’t Limit Practice to Difficult Pieces
As adults, we tend to be much harder on ourselves than we were as children. You may be tempted to focus on your weak areas at the expense of pleasure. Don’t do that! Remember that even your piano practice should be a pleasurable experience for you. Make sure your practice repertoire consists of plenty of different types of music–not just the ones you’re struggling with. A good way to start your session is by warming up with a few standard scales and arpeggios, and any other minor assignments from your piano teacher. Then play a song or two that you enjoy and are fairly comfortable with, which will help build your confidence. Finally, approach the more challenging pieces. You’ll be amazed by how much this helps your psychological preparation and motivation levels.
- Figure Out What You Love
Take some time to listen to a few of your favorite pianists and find songs that get you excited about playing! Let your teacher know what kind of music you’re interested in, so that you can work together to incorporate these types of songs into your lessons and practice sessions. Adult beginner piano lessons involve a sense of sincerity from the pianist–it’s only when you are actually connecting with and enjoying a piece that you can translate that passion to your audience.
- Expect Mistakes
Even if it’s been a month or two already and your fingers are still not quite hitting the right notes, don’t worry. You will make mistakes, and many of them! When it comes to adult beginner piano lessons, it’s vital that you understand that your body will need time to process the new movements. In time, you’ll be playing with fewer and fewer mistakes.
- Be Honest With Your Piano Teacher
Staying motivated on your journey to becoming a competent pianist will require a team effort from both you and your piano teacher. If you’re not feeling as motivated as you once were, it’s important that you discuss your challenges with your teacher as soon as possible. Consider turning one weekly lesson into a catch-up during which you revisit your initial goals and brainstorm how to make the lessons more enjoyable for you on a personal level.
Nobody really wants Beethoven to roll over, so keep going. We’re all rooting for you to succeed. Good luck!
Photo by Asher Isbrucker