It’s no secret that being a responsible adult is hard work. A typical day for me—and I’m willing to assume I’m not alone—consists of a whirlwind of obligations, whether it’s work, family, errands, or all the above. While it’s all too easy to get lost in your to-do list, it is incredibly important to make time for your hobbies and activities you find enjoyable. Practicing the piano, for instance, can easily be marked as a low priority for many adults. However, as with many instruments, practicing regularly is the only way to improve your skills. There’s no shortcut to success in piano! Here’s just a few ways you can carve out time from your busy agenda to practice the piano and make it a regular, and pleasurable, part of your routine.
Set Your Goal…
The first step to making piano practice a regular habit is to set a goal. Make a list of all your responsibilities and plans for the upcoming week and how much time those activities will take. See if you can find thirty minutes, or even just fifteen, at consistent times throughout the week you can set aside for piano. Maybe it’s every day, every other, or just a couple of times a week. The key is to make it consistent and to not think of it as optional. Pretend it’s getting lunch with your grandmother or picking your kids up from school. You wouldn’t exempt yourself from those plans and neither should you with your practicing time.
…And Make It Realistic
When setting your goal, it’s okay to start out with small weekly goals to begin with. You can then work your way to practicing more over time. It’s essential to be realistic about your goals and to stick with them. If you are too ambitious and set an impossibly high goal, it can be discouraging when you don’t meet it and may even make you less likely to practice at all. Be honest with yourself about your time constraints. When you create your goal each week, be sure to meet it consistently. Uphold this promise you’re making to yourself just like you would with anyone else. You’re just as important!
Think Big Picture
It’s all too easy to be consumed by the nitty-gritty details of your day and to feel overwhelmed when thinking about everything you need to accomplish. It may help to take a step back and think more holistically. Try remembering why you wanted to learn how to play the piano in the first place. When you’re stressed about practice, think back on that reason and help it motivate and focus you. And most of all, don’t forget that the piano is supposed to be fun! Practicing doesn’t have to be another chore. Think of it as an activity to relieve stress after a busy day or a way to flex your creativity by using a different part of your brain that you may not get to use any other time.
When you do meet your goals, pat yourself on the back! Or better yet, eat some cake. Rewarding yourself for a job well done and being grateful toward yourself is extremely important and has positive repercussions on your wellbeing extending far beyond the piano. We all need downtime, so make sure in between practice sessions to take some time to unwind. It will decrease your risk of burnout and leave you more inspired to get back to the keyboard to meet your next goal!