The finals of the 2017 Van Cliburn piano competition ended yesterday. This is considered one of the top piano competitions in the world, where competitors as young as 18 come to exhibit their skills at the piano. The brilliant playing from all of the young competitors showed years and countless hours of practicing. It obviously takes years of work and a extreme dedication to the craft to arrive at that level of playing. However, what does it take for an adult, or child, without musical experience to bring the joy of playing the piano into their lives? After all, the average person is already committed to a job, or schooling. What about them?
To establish a skill, you have to spend time doing that skill. 30 minutes a day is a wonderful way to start. Writers write, artists paint, and pianists play. In order to integrate music into your life, you have to be willing to play. But think about this – how wonderful that musicians, along with children, get to monopolize the use of the word ‘play’ to indicate that they are working!
So how do we find time for those 30 minutes? After all, we are working, and going to school, and working out, and spending time with our family and friends, and….. Thinking about adding yet another thing to your already busy day can start adding stress to a daily routine. The truth? – just find time, and start.
Many people who study habits would agree with me that the first part of your day is the most important in term of getting your goals accomplished. Your best work, your most concentrated work, comes at the time of waking, immediately after you are rested.
So set a goal with me. Let’s spend the first 30 minutes of our day on the piano. Let’s walk through some pieces together, explore some wonderful sounds at the piano together, and play. If 30 minutes sounds too daunting, then start with 10.
Sure, it’s easy to make excuses. Mornings are difficult – you are getting ready for work, or your children ready for school. Maybe you already have an extensive morning routing and can’t possibly fit anything else in. If you are trying to introduce the piano to children, you think that you can’t possibly get them to wake up any earlier than they are already waking up. But think of this – many small steps add up. If you are easing into a habit, start small. Start with 10 minutes a day and build from there. For young children learning the piano, 10 minutes a day is a wonderful start. For adults who have never played the piano before, 10 minutes a day is enough to begin to enjoy and love the instrument. Build those habits with a daily schedule, and soon your habit of integrating piano into your life every day will become a natural part of your day.
I’ll see you on the bench.