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Why Everyone Hates To Practice

As I'm writing this blog, I'm chuckling to myself. I'm currently using this blog post as an excuse not to practice. And, so it goes...

Thanks to Providence above, we've been able to coordinate, plan, and schedule the performance of The Aeneid Series next weekend. While I am so grateful that this is happening, the logistics were put together only a short 10 days ago, so practice time is crucial.

I believe Leonard Bernstein said it best, "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." That is is the precise situation I am experiencing at this very moment. So I've been working to squeeze in enough practice time in between my teaching schedule, church schedule, and life schedule to be fully prepared for the fun event.

However, when I find the time to sit at the piano all to myself, I lose the motivation to jump in and play. There are so many things running through my mind, it made me realize that perhaps this is the exact paralysis my students feel at times when coming to the piano to practice.

So I thought I would take a moment and list some helpful tips to stay motivated in getting to the piano and staying at the piano longer than 5 minutes:

1. It's all a mind game. Don't let your mind stop your hands.

It's overwhelming to sit at the piano with a new piece. With almost all my students being perfectionists, there is fear in starting new music. What if I play a wrong note? What if forget this weird rhythm? All these things are running through the mind, and so you tell yourself that it's better to procrastinate and ignore it than actually accept the fact that a mistake will be made.

So I encourage my students (and myself) to dive in on the difficult sections first, embrace being imperfect, and from there, the motivation will come to practice more to correct things.

2. Start with a warm-up.

To get your hands comfortable and ready to practice, I recommend either starting with simple scale, technique, or even an easy song that you've played millions of times. Having a simple warm-up routine will not only get your hands ready for your lesson plan, but it will also provide some much needed confidence that you can play pieces well. Again, it's all about setting up your brain and mind for success.

3. Play in front of a family member

When you finally feel comfortable with a piece, be sure to ask a family member to sit down and listen to you perform it. Schedule a time when the house is quiet and you have a family member's undivided attention. By scheduling a time, you are giving yourself a deadline to ensure that every note is prepared for performance, and that extra accountability will help you gain further confidence before you walk into your next lesson.

I hope that this has been helpful and encouraging to all.

Now, back to practicing!

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