One word answer:
Are you surprised?
Many of us these days just want the “magic pill” to teach us how to play an instrument overnight. Unfortunately that’s just not how sustainable life changes are made. You can certainly begin overnight and even see results within minutes of a first lesson, but to be able to really play, you need to dedicate yourself to the instrument.
Along with teaching how to play the piano, a good teacher also teaches you sustainable practice habits. After a lesson, you’re left to your own devices to… well, practice. Zooming in on and optimizing what you’re doing (or not doing) when you’re on your own can really be the difference between staying the course and quitting.
The reality is that any type of actual life improvement, whether it’s playing the piano or bettering your health, requires consistency—making it a daily practice. You’ve got to be motivated, create a practical daily habit of practice, and have the proper guidance of a good teacher or coach.
The idea is to form a regular habit with a crystal clear goal in sight. Creating good habits is not only key to musical success, but in a healthy life. Ever heard the saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything?” Well, the way you pursue your goal of playing piano may very well be how you’re getting on with other goals you have. By developing a good daily habit of practicing, you then will have the experience and tools to be able to add a new daily habit that can improve your life in some other way. Realize how incredible it is to use the framework of piano practice to make gradual life improvements!
Let’s get into action. If you’re serious enough about your goal, you’ve got to attack it from all angles.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the goal?
(A specific song/piece or ability level like sight-reading level 5 music, etc.)
- Why do I want to accomplish this goal?
(It’s fun, I want to impress friends, for my spouse, etc.)
- What’s standing in my way?
(I don’t have money for lessons, don’t have time for practice, etc.)
- What specifically is required of me to reach this goal?
(Specific dollar amounts, [$240] per month, how much time [4 hours a week], resources/materials like a piano [$1500] and sheet music [$30 per month], etc.)
- What can I do to jump over the obstacle?
(Get another job, budget and monitor my time, borrow a keyboard from a friend, etc.)
- What or whose help do I need?
(A mentor, teacher, experienced musician friend, etc.)
- What can I do today and plan for the rest of the week to begin this journey to success?
(Book 5 minutes of practice time a day with my free sheet music (Print it HERE), call an admired musician friend to direct me to some good books, book a free Skype session with me to help get me going (Schedule HERE), email me for an extra boost (HERE), etc.)
I’d like to point out that I am not only a piano teacher, but also a success coach. My passion is music and helping people reach their dreams (music related or not). I really want to know where you stand with your dreams and whether they’re related to music or not, write back and tell me what this article has done for you and any ideas you have for a specific goal and how you’re going to reach it. I am here to help and it brings me great joy to talk to you all and share my resources with you.
Hope to hear from you, piano people!