Motivation for Effective Piano Practice

Ask the Piano Teacher: Piano Practice Motivation

Question:

I'm an adult beginner with a busy life. I work full time, and find it hard at the end of a tiring workday to find the motivation to do my piano practice. I end up putting it off until the weekend, but can't seem to accomplish much even if I spend a good chunk of time at the piano. What can I do?

Answer:

All of us adults struggle with fitting practice time into our busy lives. Especially when we work full-time.

Do you live in a place where you can practice in the early morning (or perhaps you're using a digital piano or keyboard that lets you control the volume)? My energy is often much better in the morning; it's easier to go to bed 30 minutes earlier and get up to practice with good energy before going to work than to have energy and focus after work.

If that's not possible, then you'll have to find ways to motivate and give yourself energy after work. Keep in mind that 10-15 minutes of practice is better than none, don't put pressure on yourself for a one-hour practice session every night or you simply won't do it.

Usually I find my energy better after eating dinner, and it helps to have a walk or do some stretching (some physical activity) too. I also find it helps me to mentally make an appointment with myself. Instead of thinking "I need to practice tonight when I get home," I actually write in my calendar "Practice at 7:00pm for 15 minutes." That makes it more achievable even if I don't feel like I have much energy. Often, I'll stay at the piano longer than I planned. It's just a matter of getting started!

I also find it helps to make practicing really enjoyable. Make sure the area around your piano is clean and welcoming. Make a cup of coffee or tea to have on a table next to you. Choose your favorite music to play first.

You really will make much better progress when you practice just a bit each day rather than longer sessions on the weekends. 15 minutes daily will have you learning faster than 2 hours on Saturday, because our brains learn by consistent repetition over time.

Here are some more articles I've written about practicing:

Practice Slowly Why practicing slowly is so important and what it will do for your piano playing.

Great Piano Practice Tips for really effective piano practice.

Piano Practice Room Ideas to make your practice space inspiring!

I hope this is helpful. Sometimes it's just a matter of building a new habit (practicing instead of sitting down to the internet or TV).

I wish you every success in learning to play piano!

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