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Motivation.

We all have it. We all lose it.

And when you do…

Bad things happen. Like you’ll stop practicing for a few days.

Which turn into weeks, and then months.

And before you know it, you don’t play the piano anymore.

I have some tips on how to stay motivated at the piano, to guarantee those motivational slumps won’t hit you so hard that you can’t overcome them.

And the first point is the biggest…

Tip #1 – Expect to NOT want to practice

As new piano players, we are SO excited and passionate to sit down and play at the beginning.

And you might expect to always feel this way.

Newsflash:

Practice is hard. Life is busy.

At some point, you’re going to not want to practice.

But here’s the good news. Simply knowing this fact sets you up for success, because you can have reasonable expectations about your desire to practice.

So when you don’t feel like practicing, it won’t be a surprise, and you won’t feel guilty.

That feeling simply means you need to switch to some other motivating factors.

Which brings me to my second tip:

Tip #2 – Know your WHY

Why do you want to play the piano?

Did you see someone perform? Has it always been a dream?

Knowing that WHY helps you connect the piano to your passion, and acts as an anchor that you can hold on to when trying to figure out how to stay motivated at the piano.

There are so many reasons why someone might want to play the piano.

Find yours. Write it down. Hold on to it.

Tip #3 – Check-in AFTER you practice

Trust me on this one.

Wonderful things happen to your brain when you’re playing the piano.

It’s basically magic.

Don’t believe me? Watch this TED-Ed video to learn more.

Your brain is better after playing music. And you can use that to “hack” your motivation.

Here’s how.

After each practice session, take a moment and check-in with yourself.

How are you feeling? What’s your mood?

I usually feel great after a practice session (even if the practice itself wasn’t amazing).

Connecting that positive feeling to the action of piano practice will help you stay motivated to keep coming back.

Nobody ever practices the piano and then walks away and thinks, “Oh I wish I hadn’t practiced the piano today”.

Tip #4 – Don’t neglect technique

We’re getting into some dangerous territory here.

Because let’s be honest…

Technique is NOT the reason people learn the piano. It’s not the WHY I was talking about earlier.

And while technique might not be the WHY, it is definitely the HOW.

Learning and practicing technique will make you a better piano player. You’ll play faster, smoother, with more control.

And that will make learning and playing songs so much easier.

Which will keep you motivated.

Get all your technique tips here.

Tip #5 – Set concrete goals

This ties in to your motivation and passion, but it’s more specific.

What are your goals for the piano this week?

This month?

This year?

It could be a specific song you want to learn, or to play a scale at a new tempo.

Having a wish list that you write down can help you keep inspired and act as a reminder of what you’ve committed to achieve.

Your goals also act as a plan. Because you know what you want to do, so you know what to practice.

If you know what you’re doing when you sit down at the piano, it makes it so much easier.

To help you with this, I’ve created my very own goal journal page that you can download here.

Here’s what it looks like:


How to stay motivated at the piano goal sheet

It includes prompts for all of these tips.

Download it, print out as many copies as you like.

I have one final tip:

Tip #6 – Everybody has 5 minutes

You probably think that any practice shorter than 30 or 45 minutes doesn’t count.

It’s not true.

Even 5 minutes each day WILL make a difference. And everyone has 5 minutes.

Learning the piano is like learning any other skill…

You don’t pick it up instantly. It takes time.

I find most students grossly underestimate the power of regular practice.

So next time you have 5 minutes…

…don’t open up Instagram.

…don’t check Facebook.

Ask yourself:

”Could I fit in a short practice instead?”

Summary

Motivation is not concrete.

It doesn’t last. And you WILL lose it.

When (not if) that happens, knowing how to stay motivated at the piano will make sure that you have the best chance of success.

I’ll add one final thought.

Be kind to yourself.

Losing motivation is not because of anything you’ve done. It happens to us all.

Happy practicing.


Lisa Witt

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 18 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.

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