"I couldn't practice this week because..."
"I didn't have time for the piano this week since... "
"There was so much going on at school/work/ home that I couldn't get to the piano..."
I have heard variations of these sentences from almost every piano student of mine at least once over the years.
Playing the piano is an ongoing process. If you want to learn the instrument it has to be integrated into your daily routine. There are no shortcuts here. In this post
you can read about why regular practice is so important and here you can read about what happens when we practice.
It's all about time management
When younger students tell me they had no time because they were busy doing homework, I ask them if they had time to lie down on the couch and do nothing, or watch TV, or play a digital game of some sort. Of course they had the time for that, so the discussion then is how to organize their free time to get the piano practice done. Depending on the age of the students, this is where the parents can help, so the kids are supported in their free time management.
As the students grow older, although they have more homework and often also more hobbies, they seem to organize themselves more efficiently and are better at getting the piano practice done.
Practice is work, Playing is a stress relief
There are times and situations in life where you have an objective lack of time. These periods leave you absolutely no breathing space, where you are operating on a crazily tight schedule with absolutely no free time. This is when piano playing just can't happen.
How often is this the case though? From what I see, people don't get to the piano mainly due to stress from the inside, they are trapped in a subjective breathlessness rather than experiencing a shortage of hours in the day.
Piano practice and piano playing are not the same. When we practice we are stretching ourselves, acquiring new skills, learning new material, moving forward.
Playing is, well, more playful. Enjoyable. Relaxing. Playing for fun could mean going over older pieces, or improvising, or sight reading something easy (or hard) or playing a tune by ear. Actually, when you play the piano in a playful way you are expanding much more than you may think, you are deepening your foundations and broadening your musical imagination.
Piano time can enhance concentration
I have heard over and over again from older school kids that they like to counterbalance their academic work with piano playing. They tell me that taking a break from studying and playing the piano is like a brain massage: that after a session of piano playing they can concentrate better and that their next study session is more productive.
So in the periods when you literally don't have time to practice there is nothing much to do about it. But when you (or your kid) aren't finding the inner space for practicing, you can do some piano playing so you find your way back to music and to you inner self.
Pianoways on Facebook
- How Much Practice Should a Piano Student be Doing?
- What happens when we practice?
- The Secret of slow Practice- Piano
- Piano- Parents Dilemma: The Stick or the Carrot?