We have all experienced the feeling of wanting to give up whatever we are trying to learn. There are times when no matter how much we want to excel at playing the piano, for one reason or another, nothing ever goes our way. No matter how many hours we spend practicing, we cannot see any improvements in our skills. Eventually, the built-up frustration prompts us to give up.
There are also times when our old habits get in the way. Time supposedly spent practicing is wasted on other activities or distractions.
All of these lead to one conclusion—the loss of motivation to play and eventually giving up altogether. And it’s natural: learning to play the piano is challenging, especially if we aim to do it well.
If you have experienced this before, then this article is for you.
Firstly, the good news is that the occasional feeling of being demotivated to practice is normal, and the better news is that it can be overcome. We reached out to several people who have gone through the same experience and came up with a few tips and tricks to keep oneself motivated and always looking forward to learning.
Think About the Music that You Love and Learn It
Learning is an interesting process. Did you notice that you learn something faster when you enjoy or have fun doing it? The same goes when you’re learning to play the piano. It’s challenging to free up some of your valuable time to practice playing the piano IF you feel like you’re just being forced into it.
So, the key is to develop some love for it, or better yet, think over and over again about the reason you decided to learn the piano in the first place. Was it because of a certain piece? If Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata made you fall in love with the piano, then that might be an effective source of motivation.
Learning is hard, especially when you’re just starting. It involves a lot of sacrifices and trade-offs, BUT you will get hooked to it without even noticing.
The beauty of the piano is – it allows you to play practically anything, so you can start learning according to your preferences in any genre or style. Whether that’s Romantic-era Beethoven, movie soundtracks, or 80s ballads, if you love what you play, it never feels like a chore.
Explore Other Styles
It is a thrilling experience to be able to play the piano and master a favorite piece. Once you have gained proficiency in it, it is often tempting to keep playing it over and over again.
While we believe that it’s important to practice what you’ve learned to avoid getting rusty and to keep everything fresh in your memory, the constant repetition—playing the pieces you’ve mastered over and over might take the fun out of the equation.
Therefore, we suggest practicing the piece now and then to refresh your memory, but it’s more important to move on and try something new.
Willingness to learn new styles and techniques will keep you interested and might help “trick” your brain to be excited to learn! It’s also an effective way to expand your repertoire and make you a more well-rounded artist.
Learning something does not mean abandoning what you love. Studying a new style simply means allowing yourself to discover something new for the first time.
Why did you want to play the piano in the first place? Think about the reason why you wanted to learn. If it’s to play a certain piece after “x” amount of time, then how are you faring so far? Are you making progress?
The most competitive people will say they didn’t become a legend because of luck. They’ll tell you that the greatness you’re witnessing now is but the culmination of decades worth of practice and discipline. They’ll tell you that the prospect of being the best was enough motivation to keep improving.
There’s a trick in improving, which lies in numbers. Experts say that as long as something can be measured, it can be improved. Thus, it’s important to track your progress and set goals you couldn’t miss, to materialize the dream of playing that certain piece you love.
Say, you wanted to learn the piano in time for Christmas. To reach that goal means listing down all your favorite Christmas songs rather than learning to play them one by one.
What’s important here is that you now have a focus. It’s now easier to “motivate” yourself to practice because you know you have to play all your favorite Christmas songs later on.
Discipline Over Willpower
Willpower. What comes to mind when you think about this? For us, it’s where you draw your motivation from. It’s what you rely on to push you into action. Without willpower, nothing can ever urge us to spring to action.
Unfortunately, willpower is a very limited, often unreliable resource. It cannot be summoned every time we need to do something such as practicing the piano. Sometimes, certain conditions have to align—our mindset, our readiness to do something, energy, and excitement, before “summoning” willpower.
By the looks of it, willpower is not an effective “fuel” to keep you going. Fortunately, there’s a better alternative—discipline. Discipline is what athletes rely on to keep them going. There are times when we don’t feel like doing any practice because we lack willpower. This is where discipline proves reliable. Discipline is the invisible force that urges you to stick to a certain path no matter how hard and challenging it will be, all for a bigger purpose.
Goal setting works hand-in-hand with discipline. Once you’ve set your mind to achieve something, trust that it is helping you achieve that goal.
Some Final Words
Finding the drive to continue practicing to play the piano is sometimes challenging. If you do find yourself in this situation, we hope that the tips we shared above will come in handy to keep yourself motivated.
Aside from the ones mentioned, you can also try positively reinforcing your learning process, that is, giving yourself rewards. It could be a better piano bench to help your practice sessions be more comfortable or something else.
On a final note, don’t be too hard on yourself. While it’s important not to lose sight of your goal, it’s equally important to celebrate even small wins. That’s how you can get the stamina to keep moving forward.