What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing Piano

Lisa Witt  /  Practice  /  UPDATED Jan 16, 2023

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Have you ever found yourself really unmotivated to sit down and practice the piano?

We’ve all been there.

You know you SHOULD practice, but actually bringing yourself to sit down at the keys and follow-through becomes a real chore. I know I’ve been through periods of weeks (and even months) where I just didn’t feel like practicing.

And the longer I waited, the harder it got to start.

Motivation comes and goes

We can’t rely on motivation, because motivation fades. And willpower often only gets us so far before it eventually runs out as well.

So I have found it’s helpful to employ some “trickiness” to get me to the piano. I tell myself I’m only going to play for a few minutes, and I’m only going to play something that sounds AMAZING so I’ll feel good while I play it.

And you know what? Most of the time once I start I end up continuing into a proper practice session.

So how can you do it?

You need something beautifully simple

The chord progression you’ll use is very easy (only 4 chords) but it sounds beautiful. There’s nothing daunting about it and you’ll be creating beautiful music immediately, so you get that lovely reward.

The chords are Am – G – C – F. I’m showing this in the key of C major, so those chords represent the 6-5-1-4 progression. If you’d like to try it in a more challenging key that’s great, but this is all about motivating yourself to practice so I find keeping it easy is often better.

But this is more than just chords

Playing 4 simple chords over and over again isn’t going to inspire anyone to practice more, so we need to add a melody for the right hand.

It’s a simple melody that involves playing the 1st, 2nd and 5th notes of the chord you’re playing.

Let’s break that down.

For the Am chord, you’ll play the notes A – G – E (A is the 1st note, G is the 2nd and E is the 5th).

For the G chord, you’ll play G – A – D. 

The C chord will be C – D – G.

And for the F chord, you’ll play F – G – C.

Play around with that for a while. Already it sounds musical and lovely, and it’s so easy!

Once you can do that without looking, you can add another level.

Change the patterns

Try experimenting with different patterns in the right hand. Keep the notes the same (the 1-2-5) but play them up AND down. Try swapping the order around.

If you really want to get more complex, you can try playing broken 5ths with your left hand, and even try some arpeggios by playing the root – 5th – octave pattern.

Whatever you decide to try, the important thing is that you’re at the piano, playing.

You’re doing it! And hopefully, this simple melody and chord progression will inspire you to keep playing and keep practicing.

Have fun!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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