Every successful career starts with a lofty aspiration...a dream. In pursuit of that dream, you aim to take certain actions. In your case, you enroll for a piano class. But here is the thing; even great dreams wane and, if you don’t do something about it, they become a bore...and even die.
Wherever you may find yourself and dreams at this point, the fact you are reading this means it is anything but dead. That may be little consolation if your piano practice sessions have turned into a chore that you will be glad to avoid.
Take heart! The following 6 tips should help light a fire and put back the passion into your piano practice sessions:
1. Set a Schedule
Pick a time of day you are most stimulated to practice. It will help to pick a time when you are less distracted. Practice should become a part of your daily routine. By consistently keeping to that schedule for a reasonable period of time, practice will slowly become a habit.
A great way to add interest to your practice routine is to ritualize it with another activity. You could have a rule to only practice in a particular dress, especially if you practice at home. It may sound silly, but it works!
It will also help if precede your practice sessions with something you particularly enjoy. For example, you could set your practice for immediately after your favorite TV show or podcast.
This way you will not only have a constant reminder, but you will start your session with a positive vibe.
2. Find a Practice Partner
A practice partner will push you to practice when you don’t feel like it. It could be someone from your class with whom you have a good creative rapport. But they need to be a driven person whose qualities you admire.
This person will be your accountability partner, one who will help you keep your focus trained on your goal. It will, of course, help if you play the same role for your partner.
3. Set SMART Targets
It’s is a boring truth, but setting timed and specific targets that are not only achievable but that which can be measured is a sure way to maintain your interest in something. Setting unrealistic goals that you cannot even measure will only lead to burnout.
Picture your ultimate goal and draw a plan of how you intend to get there. Break the plan into smaller chunks that you will tick off once done. Immediately move on to the next goal, until you get to your prize and see your progression. This will fuel your desire for practice as you know every session is a step towards your ultimate dream.
4. Diarize Your Practice Sessions
Keeping a diary in which you log the key points from your practice session gives you a sense of accomplishment that will heighten your anticipation for the next session. Note down every stroke, key, tune, and sequence you have nailed in that particular session.
In the same vein, make a small list of what you want to get out of your next practice session. Occasionally, pull your diary and go over your entries for the preceding week or month and take pleasure on the progress you have made.
5. Reward yourself
Setting daily and weekly targets will also allow you scope to reward yourself every time you meet that particular target. It does not have to be a big reward. A cup of coffee at the end of every practice session, or a good bottle of wine at the end of the week, will work just fine.
This may seem like bribing yourself, but it works. Assigning someone – a sibling, partner, practice partner, or parent – to monitor you and administer the reward is a great way to pump yourself practice.
6. Record Yourself
It is often said that one of the great barriers to effective communication is that we so love the sound of our own voices we can’t stop talking. And because of that, we can’t hear what the other person is saying, which is the whole point of communication. The short of it is we love the sound of our own voices or our names being said.
But seriously, recording yourself playing and take the time to actually listen to your own recording. It can do your confidence the world of good. So maybe you need to stop playing for a bit and listen to yourself, and that's absolutely fine...as long as you play more than you listen!
It is possible that your music is trying to tell you something, like where you can improve. That alone can be motivating. And besides, you may not even know how good you really are because you were too busy playing and never listened to your own music. When you start to compare your recordings it may well be the motivation you are seeking.
7. Reconnect With Your Inspiration
When all else seems to fail, retracing your way back to what piqued your interest in piano in the first place could be the best way to get some motivation.
If that something was so compelling to push you into playing piano, it certainly can get you to keep playing. It may be a movie character, a song, a concert, or place you visited?
Reconnecting with the moment that stoked your interest in piano could be just the stimuli you need. Chances are you have a hero pianist whose life story you have already been studying.
Modeling your own repertoire around someone you admire is good. But even better is tapping into their frustrations and unique challenges and trying to learn a thing or two from them.
Knowing your hero’s frustrations and how they battled and overcame them will help you overcome yours. Every time you feel you are losing interest, ask yourself what your hero would do.
If it suits you, go ahead and mimic some of their routines. Don’t be ashamed, every great performer borrowed a certain part of their act from someone.
Like any new skill, learning to play piano has its own challenges. There are so many competing chores and interests that staying motivated for practice can be your biggest challenge.
Once you start to feel bored of the practice routines, start using these tips to keep you motivated, and soon you will feel that you are making progress again, your passion will be reignited.
About the Author: Julie Adams
I am a mom, a music lover and teacher from Tampa, FL. After completing a Bachelor of Music in Performance Arts, I traveled for several years before returning home where I started offering private piano and singing lessons as extra income. I met my husband in 2009 and 2 years later moved to Dallas where we settled down and I started focusing on vocal training to aspiring singers and performance artists of all age groups. I still enjoy playing the piano very much, and in my spare time you will catch doing some horse riding, drawing, doing some light reading, or just spending quality time with my family.