After much deliberation I finally decided to re-design my website. I am hoping this site will be a little more dynamic and useful than it was previously and one thing I plan to do (no guarantees) is make regular updates to the blog. Articles in the blog will include thoughts on playing and learning piano, music theory tips and tricks, common problems experienced by students, and issues I face as a teacher.
To start with I would like to talk about the most important aspect of learning any musical instrument – leaning anything, in fact – and that is practice. The great pianist Louis Kentner once said “There are two kinds of pianist; those who practice a lot and admit it, and those who practice a lot and don’t admit it. Those who don’t practice are no pianists.” I get many people contacting me about piano lessons and it is usually with great enthusiasm that they do so. Often they will come in for an introductory lesson, some of them continue lessons, and a few end up doing rather well. Without exception, the ones who do well are the one who practice regularly.
What I see too much of, however, is new students starting lessons full of enthusiasm and determination, only to realise that learning a musical instrument is extremely difficult and takes a lot of patience, a lot of time, and a lot of practice. Nobody can do your practice for you and the unfortunate truth is that without regular and persistent practice, you are throwing your money away on music lessons. It doesn’t matter how good the teacher is, if you aren’t regular with your practice you will never get anywhere.
Though it might sound like it, I don’t say these things to frighten you, but rather to encourage you and prepare you properly for what lies ahead. If you go into your lessons thinking that your teacher will simply tell you which notes to play and, just like that, you will be able to play them, you will be in for a serious disappointment. Properly prepared for the challenges that lie ahead however, you may find that you will be surprised at what you can accomplish in a relatively short period of time.
I can’t stress enough, however, the importance of regular, persistent practice. Practice is essential for progress, and progress really is a large determining factor in your ability to enjoy your playing. You needn’t spend eight hours a day at the piano but making sure you do even a little practice each day will go a long way to ensuring your musical life is enjoyable and fruitful.